My 11 Years and 11 Lessons of Business Life

It’s been 11 years since I removed myself from a bad partnership and opened Exceedia.

11 a powerful number for some and certainly for me as I was born on the 11th of the 11th…

What better time than now to reflect on the top 11 lessons that I’ve learned in that time in the hope that they might help you to improve your financial outcomes.

So here they are, in no particular order

1 Choose Fit Over Financials

If you are going to have a partner in business, choose wisely. Ensure that you choose “fit” over “financials”. Ensure the prospective partner brings something to the table that you cannot outsource freely.

2 Get Your Structure Right

Get your structure and documentation in order upfront. I know you’re super excited to just get started and it takes time and effort to get this right. I also understand that it can be costly, especially when starting out but trust me, the costs and hassle of changing this down the track are exponentially higher and you will wish you had done it properly in the first place.

3 Communication is Key

Communication with partners, stakeholders, employees, clients or customers, suppliers, the Tax Office, family. Open lines of communication and documentation of that communication will pay dividends over and over.


4 Plan Your Business

Most small businesses are either failing or succeeding by accident. Being really good at your chosen line of work is a given. It is not the key to success. There is no “school of running a business” and so, without the resources to throw at CEO’s, CFO’s, Operations Managers and Marketing Managers, etc, most small businesses never take the time to really plan how they want their business to be and proactively drive their business towards that vision. They end up with what they get, not what they want. It doesn’t have to be that way. With the right guidance, you can build your business exactly how you have always seen it.

5 Focus

Success isn’t about working hard. The world is full of unsuccessful hard workers. Success is about focusing on the key drivers of your business and the actions necessary to improve those key drivers. When you do this, you can achieve significantly more with your available time and resources because you are focused.



6 Know Your Numbers

Unless you’re a sole trader with no employees, you simply can’t properly manage a business by bank account and gut feel. Something outside of your limited vision will always come up. Whether it be a tax liability, an employee leaving with significant unpaid leave, or a sudden need for new equipment, unless you’ve thought about and planned for these issues, you will always find yourself short of cash. This then leads you down the dark path of debt.


7 Act Quickly

I’ve seen countless small business owners leave it way too late to act. Whether it be implementing a new service, increasing prices, getting rid of a bad partner or employee, or seeking professional help if the business isn’t going well, you are almost always better off acting sooner rather than later.


8 Live Within Your Means

Without a doubt, the number one key to financial freedom is to live within your means. This sounds so simple and yet is a constant struggle for many people, especially small business owners whose income can fluctuate over time. Implement planning and reporting software to help you to ensure that you are always putting money away for a rainy day and investment.

9 What Covid Taught Me

Put money away for a rainy day. If Covid taught me one thing, it’s how close to the edge the majority of businesses are. One glitch or upheaval and, without funds backing the business, it disappears and with it, your personal wealth as well.

10 Invest

Many small business owners have little superannuation, with their retirement hopes hanging on the eventual sale of the business. Even those with highly profitable businesses generally have expensive lifestyles to go with it which means that they are tied to their business and generally find that the sale of their business won’t be enough to retire on. Always put money aside for investment and live on what’s left.

11 Structured Insurance

Get professional guidance to ensure you have adequate insurance which is structured properly.  I have learned that life has a way of throwing unexpected curve balls at you which can dramatically affect your ability to work to your full capacity.  Without adequate insurance, the loss of your business can have a catastrophic affect on your family and lifestyle. 



So, there you have them.

Possibly some of these lessons have resonated with you. If implemented, I’m confident that they will help you to grow a better business and significantly improve your financial outcomes.

Cheers Craig Budgen Founder and Business Specialist