All business owners know that running a successful company does not come without its fair share of struggles, frustrations, and failures. But learning from those seemingly negative or difficult experiences can actually help us to grow and succeed in ways we never thought possible, and in ways we never would have seen had we not fallen flat on our face. We asked successful business owners from across the country and beyond to share their insight regarding their growing pains and overcome challenges.

“We learned the lesson to be flexible when a major setback occurs and to look for the opportunity in the adversity. Another practice that has helped us succeed is to partner and partner early. Working with others brings in resources and skills to reach a much bigger market with a stronger message, and improves the quality of your products and materials.”
-Carl Mazzanti, CEO, eMazzanti Technologies, eMazzanti.net

DELEGATE. There’s absolutely NO WAY that I can do everything that needs to be done within the span of a day. Therefore, I have learned that some activities can be delegated or automated. It’s where the ‘work smarter, not harder’ mentality comes in. ‘Perfection is the enemy of Good,’ and in your attempts to be perfect, you will burn yourself out and fail. You have to focus on constantly improving, GO FOR IT, and fix your wings as you fall.”
-Thomas Brierton, Bryer Leather, BryerLeather.com

 “Having data would have been convenient, but the challenge with data is not just how to interpret it, but how to gather extremely specific data such as this. Many times, there are no road signs pointing you in the right direction. The more specialized the industry, the less cut and dry the data collection and interpretation will be. The information [our employees] collect can come in any form and from any sources.”
-Ryan Hulland, President and Director of Business Development, Netfloor USA, NetFloorUSA.com 

The biggest growing pains we’ve experienced over the years are consistency of clients and how to deal with the feast and famine. It seems when it rains, it pours, and when it’s slow, it’s very slow. To combat this, we’ve built a consistent team of professionals who we can call on for any given project. This allows us to be more flexible, reduce overhead, and build customized teams for each project we take on.”
-Tim Ryan, Founder & Director, TAR Productions, TarProductions.com

Competing with large franchise stores is a difficult task, but focusing on a niche really helps us stand out. We know we are small, so we dream big, but we keep our goals and plans realistic. We focus on our niche and we take pride that being a small business can offer a more personal experience than some larger companies could ever dream of.”
-Alexandra Yanciw, Owner/Designer, Ziemi Jewellery, Ziemi.ca

“We look back on those [first] days fondly and remember that if you are willing to do the work, you will get through the difficult times during the start-up period.”
-Wayne Gathright, President, Tenant File Property Management Software, TenantFile.com

“My top three pieces of advice are (1) Have a specific goal, (2) Find a qualified mentor, (3) work smarter not harder, qualify all opportunities, and follow your business plan, (4) Pursue greatness and don’t quit when it gets hard, and (5) View everything as an opportunity and learn to network to create success.”
-Gemma Touchstone, Founder, Party Style and the Blogger Academy, GemmasPartyStyle.com 

“I would say the hardest thing is to keep the internal communication open, clear, and flowing. With an international organization there are time differences and travel costs. It’s really easy for people to feel disconnected. Small businesses need to create a community to survive, and in order to do that, you need to know the person on the other side of the monitor.”
-Herman Heller, CEO, Runbook, RunBook.com

“Even though my business just turned 10, there are still growing pains. It’s a never ending struggle. So the answer to how I made it work is that I keep at it every single day. There are no magic formulas, you just have to press forward.”
-Steve Silberberg, Founder & Owner, Fitpacking, FitPacking.com

“The toughest part of growing was mentally committing all the large, initial outlays with no guarantee clients would come with you–much less listen to what you are having to say. You likely won’t be mentally prepared to risk your financial future every day so it is important to have a written plan and understanding of where your money is going and why.”
-Stephen Vogel, CFA, Corvus Capital Management, Corvuscm.com

“I started my business in 2004. The early years were tough, getting the word out to potential guests was challenging. I believe my business is successful because I chose a niche target market as opposed to trying to be all things to all people. I believe that superior customer service and marketing has been the key to my business’ success.”
-Theresa Polley, Founder, Retreat in the Pines, RetreatInThePines.com

“When we started our business in 1989, we were very careful with our expenses. Remember, this was pre-email so a lot of business was done via fax. We didn’t want to pay for a fax machine or the phone line required for it. We found one [business] where you could receive faxes for free, and we found one where you could send faxes for free. So, we received from one service and sent from the other one! FREE!”
-Bob Bentz, Founder, Advanced Telecom Services, AdvancedTele.com

“When we started the business, we had to be very motivated and focus on our goals. We had to create a company from zero with a very limited budget. What helped us is that we divided the tasks into four areas, depending on our expertise. We each also had to learn new things in order to keep everything in-house and to reduce expenses.”
-Raminta Lilaite, Partner and Director of Marketing and Communications, Riviera Maya Property Consultants, rivieramayapropertyconsultants.com

We’ve found that (1) having a relentless focus on customer needs and service, (2) being willing to experiment (and pull the plug when an idea wasn’t working) and (3) honest communication between our founders were critical to our success so far.”
-Lauren Raouf, Co-founder, My Best Friend’s Weekend, MyBestFriendsWeekend.com

“One of the most valuable lessons that I would pass along is that it is ok to trust, but verify….it can be done with a simple phrase if you don’t want to offend… ‘I’m sure it’s fine, I just have to have the attorney review it.’ As a women in business, I find that personally, I was always afraid to offend. It’s not offensive to have a 2nd set of eyes review something.”
-Jen Moorehead, Founder/CEO, Science Explorers, Inc., ScienceExplorers.com

The common trends from these business owners include overcoming challenges, getting a good team around you, and being diligent in everything you do. No one said running a business was easy, but with hard work, dedication, and great resources like Smart Business Funding in your corner, your business can grow, succeed, and thrive.