10 Things Learned in 10 Years as a Business Owner

Nichole Loati Selfie

This isn't one of our usual blog posts, as you may have guessed. This blog is an extra special one, as the owner of Great Big Graphics, Nichole Loati, has just hit a big milestone. Drumroll please... Nichole is celebrating ten years as the owner of Great Big Graphics! And it's safe to say, we wouldn't be where we are today without her as our commander in chief. That's why we've decided to theme this blog around Nichole's time at GBG, and get personal with her about some of her biggest lessons learned as a business owner in such an incredible field of work.

A decade ago, she walked in the door of Great Big Graphics and began her journey that would have a lasting impact on all of her clients. Today, she sits down with us to discuss some of the main takeaways she's come to learn in her 10 years as a business owner. Let's get into it.

Here are the top ten things Nichole Loati has learned in her ten years as a business owner.

1. Set limits on the length of your workday

...and stick to them

For me, this is one of the most important things I've learned. As business owners, we are our own bosses, which means that there are no limitations to how long we can work in a day. After ten years of running a business, I have found that it's never worth sacrificing personal time- moments you can't get back- for something business-related that can realistically wait. Setting those limits with your time will better your business in the long run, and honestly help the way yourself and others respect you.

2. Take good care of your employees

As a business owner, you have the tremendous responsibility of looking after your employees. Not only is job-hopping so common in the job market today, but taking care of your employees is simply put, just the right thing to do. We're all humans trying to do our best, and as a business owner you truly have the power to make an impact on your employees' lives. Make sure it's a good one. If they’re happy, they’ll stay put and take good care of your company.

Godzilla chicken

3. Don't take yourself too seriously

You’re not God. Stop taking yourself so seriously! It's so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind of business that we sometimes forget to take a step back and reflect on what really matters. Happiness is an important part of life, and if your employees aren't happy at work (and you're not either), it may be time to reevaluate some things. That brings us to my next point.

Funny Toilet Sticker

4. Keep work fun

A happy worker is a productive worker. It's not always easy to make work fun, but you can sure as hell try. At Great Big Graphics, having fun is a part of our daily routine. Whether it’s singing along to the Beach Boys at the top of our lungs, hosting a random pizza party for the staff, or wrapping and graphicking random objects in the office, we at Great Big Graphics have found some fun ways to break up the workday. Staying positive through all of our business' ups and downs is what keeps our staff going, and the company successful. Always try and brighten someone's day and have a laugh, it's so worth it.

5. Give yourself breaks

Easier said than done, you've gotta take a breather every now and then. As a business owner, you do what you love. And when you love your business, it's sometimes hard to separate work from personal life. It's important to remind yourself that you deserve to take breaks, and that you will actually be better off for it in the long run. Treat yo self!

Treat yo self

6. Take care of your customers, even after they've walked out the door

Regardless of what industry you’re in, word-of-mouth advertising is both more effective and less expensive than any other form of advertising. A positive consumer review starts with a positive consumer experience, so don’t skimp on the service!

I believe in the Golden Rule: Treat people how you would like to be treated- and enjoy the benefits that come with it!

7. Develop positive relationships with your competitors

Having a good relationship with your competitors creates a better business environment, and can help you all succeed. Your company may have the latest technology while a competing company may have more years of experience. Trade use of your equipment for advice on how to improve your process and everyone wins! Good relationships with your competitors breeds innovation & creativity- which is how new ideas are born! Plus, it doesn't hurt to give and receive extra referrals from each other!

8. You have to spend money to make money

Whether it’s smoothly running machines, current technology, skillful employees or effective advertising, running a successful business doesn’t come cheap. Your business is worth it. It's worth the investment, and you know it too. When you are passionate about what you do, your investment and hard work will pay off over time. You truly get out what you put in, and sometimes that requires spending a little extra!

9. Don't be afraid to try new things

Making mistakes and experiencing little failures here and there will make you stronger in the end. Trying something new is always worth it. Best case, it works for your business and you grow as a company. Worst case, you know it doesn't work for your business and you can rule it out and move forward. Either way, you've learned something you never would have known unless you tried. And in my opinion, trying is never the wrong move.

10. Only work with customers who are respectful of you and your employee's time

Last, but certainly not least- life’s too short to be putting up with disrespectful people. This rule applies to us, the business owners, but even more so it applies to our staff. Empower your staff to stand up for themselves and make sure they feel supported if they don’t think they can meet a customer’s expectations. If we’re straight with our consumers about what we can and can not do for them, and they aren’t respectful and understanding of those boundaries, it’ll be better off for everyone involved if you cut them loose and they find their product or service somewhere else.

Great Big Graphics logo

Thank you

Needless to say, it's been an incredible ten years here at Great Big Graphics. Throughout all of our accomplishments over the past decade as a crew, we wouldn't be where we are today without you. Thank you for reading, supporting, and trusting Great Big Graphics. And thank you for making my business ten times better than I'd ever imagined it would be. The best is yet to come!