People often ask me what’s the hardest part about running a business to which I say, that’s a loaded question. Joking. I would say being aware enough to learn from my mistakes. It sounds simple and so obvious, but I have learned to never make the mistake twice.
Here is an example, I signed my first commercial lease when I was 29. Bill Stroud, the owner of the property walked me through the process and was so nice. I reworked my lease numerous times as MyBike grew into new vacant spaces within his building. Then MyBike moved to a huge commercial spot that had a proper commercial lease. Thinking that the property owner was like Bill I agreed to the terms but only made it for 2 years without any options for an extension. Two years came and the property owner basically kicked me out for no reason whatsoever. Without getting into it, I made 3 crucial mistakes
- I signed short lease just in case I failed in the new spot
- I did not have an option for a lease extension just in case things went well
- I assumed the property owner was a nice guy who wanted me to succeed
When Zach and I went to buildout the Viking Activity Center, literally as the bike shop debacle was going on, I was all the wiser for both of us. Thank goodness. It was helpful that Zach saw my MyBike lease mistakes first hand because our Viking agreement was the deal MyBike should have negotiated.
- We signed a long term lease with provisions to back out in case things went terrible
- We had an extension just in case things went well and to insulate us from market price rent increases
- I assumed the property owner was nice but approached every conversation with the mindset that he wanted what was best for him which meant we would approach everything from the point of view selfishly for what was best for us
The result of this valuable learned approach set up Viking for a longterm home base of operations, that would be immune from significant rent hikes as the real estate values appreciated.
Mistakes are the best tools to learn from. So make them once and learn from them forever.