WHEN I made the decision to set up shop, I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy. I knew that there would be lessons to learn along the way, but it’s difficult to fathom the extent to which those lessons have been learnt.
With a colourful economic backdrop, it’s more important than ever to reconsider the reasons you do what you do and how you can become better at it.
One of the biggest challenges anyone faces when they are invested in their business is life balance. Your business doesn’t sleep, your customers expect responsiveness (the same way you do) and your business is an extension of yourself. When you add the amount of time you spend thinking about long-term strategies in your downtime, it’s not hard to see how people can burn themselves out.
The tech industry doesn’t stop for breath, so you need to keep up.
It is important to align yourself with people who share the same core values as yourself, especially if you’re a small business or in start-up mode.
In a recent interview with a developer, the response to one question made my decision: “If you came into the office and for five days I gave you free reign to explore anything you wanted, what would it be?” Then came a minute or so of nothingness.
I don’t do my job because someone tells me what to do – I do it because I love the challenges it brings, the potential to push the scene forward and to continually raise my own bar. I make an effort to learn a new language every year. Having people around you who aren’t interested in raising their own bars is destructive. Surrounding yourself by people who push themselves is inspirational and it seeps through every conversation and makes people excited to be here, and customers happy to be part of a passionate team.
When customers see your investment in their projects, they will come back. Be good, great, amazing at what you do and you’ll soon be on the right road. Nothing makes me happier than the fact that we have no marketing budget – we win work on reputation, quality and referrals. Make some brave decisions, don’t worry about competition and don’t set out with the intention of making piles of money.
As Steve Jobs said in 1993: “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful – that's what matters.”
Love what you do and make sure it’s for the right reasons – then surround yourself with people who feel the same.
:: Andrew Waters is director and lead developer at Newcastle web and mobile application company band-x Media