Chris goes solo today to share three entrepreneurship bits of advice that he has picked up throughout the highs and lows of his journey in the business. Entrepreneurship is like a rollercoaster. While you have to learn to enjoy the highs, you must also learn how to navigate the lows. Listen in to hear how to navigate potentially business-ending dilemmas, how to future-proof contracts, and how putting working relationships first can save your business. Throw your hands up, embark on the journey, and enjoy the ride.
Connect with Chris Howard on LinkedIn.
Check out Softeq on the Softeq website.
[01:50] Approaching business dilemmas
[03:15] Chris’s Softeq story
[04:10] Finding opportunity in crisis
[05:30] Future proofing contracts
[06:45] Negotiating contracts
[09:55] Focusing on the relationship
[12:35] Summary of three lessons
How can we see the positives throughout the journey?
While one door closes, another one opens. Just like a rollercoaster, entrepreneurship has its highs and its lows. While it may be easy to retreat and curl up when things get tough, Chris says to put your hands up and enjoy the ride. He learned this through years of experience and tells the story of when his biggest Softeq customer at the time decided to wind down their team. Instead of shutting the business down, Chris tells the story of how he turned this dilemma into an opportunity. Chris’s story illustrates how, where a window might close, a door can open.
“What I always tell my team, whether you're on the way up or you're on the way down, you really need to have an attitude where you're putting your arms up and enjoying the ride.”
Building risk into a contract
Company-killing events can happen. This is why Chris emphasizes building risks such as Softeq’s dilemma into a contract. This way, you can future-proof your way through business opportunities by negotiating the contract early on. Once a client reaches in the drawer for the contract, it’s already too far gone, Chris says. By negotiating the terms of the contract early on, you can save some grief for the future and move on with the next step in building the business.
“You build things into your contract, understanding that there's a risk there. What if this client did end their contract? Does the contract say they can tell me on a one-week notice? And a 30-day notice? How much time do I have? How much time can I give myself? And you negotiate that into the contract.”
Maintaining long-term working relationships
Although the road gets bumpy in business, Chris says that, whatever you do, avoid burning any bridges. When there are arguments and differences in opinion, look at it from a relationship standpoint, Chris says. The long-term relationship with your client lasts longer and goes further than what’s on paper. The legal documents are impersonal—the real work is in building lasting working relationships.
“Focus on the relationship. We're all people. That's something that every one of us can leverage. The journey is long and the relationships also should be long. This is what's going to help you succeed.”