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As the year ends, learn from it, move on

December 19, 2012

As another year comes to an end, take a moment to look back on all that you’ve accomplished. Its not easy being a small business owner, but the pride of accomplishing what others only dream of makes it worth it. Even when things don’t work out perfectly, you have still learned….

SAN ANGELO, Texas — The end of the year is the perfect opportunity to look back and recap the things that happened in your business during 2012, or maybe take on that idea of starting your business and make it happen.

Many times as business entrepreneurs, the dreams we have for our business are limitless. We set the bar and we work hard to accomplish our goals but, unfortunately, many times these dreams don’t get accomplished, and a sense of disappointment or failure invades our minds. We need to stay away from these thoughts: Instead of a setback at this stage of our business, we need to find ways to change and continue looking forward.

Different factors can be affecting your business at the moment. Those you have control over, don’t hesitate and take control as soon as possible. It is never too late, and in business, the sooner the better. Below is an important way to make a positive change in your business.

Invest in human capital — more than 50 years ago, the famed management guru Peter Drucker was the first to assert that workers should be treated as assets, not as liabilities to be minimized or eliminated. Therefore, getting the right people should be the most important step when you are hiring employees. You might invest time and money by doing so, but it is almost certain that it will be an “investment” and not a “cost.”

Investment in people will pay off like investments in other assets. It’s a long-term strategy. The last thing a company should do for short-term gain is asset-dumping. Everyone knows that without good people, good products cannot be developed, good services cannot be delivered and good customer relationships cannot be maintained.

On the other hand, if you are the only employee, you need to take a step back and reassess the way you conduct business. You might be surprised on how many “little things” can help you improve your outcomes. Self-assessment tests might help you point out your weak points and address them in a more efficient way.

It is important to remember that human capital should be nurtured and maintained differently than mechanical equipment is maintained. Business experts recommend not cutting the training budget or withholding merit increases when there is a profit shortfall.

You need to remember that the asset that thrives is the one that is fed. Therefore, successful organizations recognize that human capital and knowledge management are the core ingredients of success. Good businesses know that while most other assets are replaceable or become obsolete, developing and nurturing people to enjoy the benefits of their knowledge and experience is paramount.

But, at the end, the truth is that there is no magic recipe for success. Colin Powell famously said, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” Consequently, let’s start moving forward and learn from our mistakes and continue with the success of 2012 into 2013!

“Business Tips” was written by Adriana Balcorta Havins, business development specialist of Angelo State University’s Small Business Development Center. For more information on the topic of this article or the services of the ASU SBDC, contact her at

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