Starting a business was always a dream of mine. It is likely because I grew up with two parents that were entrepreneurs themselves. One was a farmer who believed in hard work and not living large. The other was a hairdresser who knew life wasn’t always perfect but it could still be utterly beautiful. They worked hard together to provide for our family. They put in long days, having fun when the opportunity presented itself and finding “good hearts” to help when times were tough.

My upbringing planted that entrepreneurial seed in me. My childhood also taught me no matter what is thrown at you, handle it like a champ. Take a lesson from it to help you in the future. Thank goodness I was able to witness this as a child as it helped me through these first four years of Tag. I’ve learned so many lessons and they not only help me, they end up helping my clients as well. Here are my top five lessons I’ve learned that I wanted to share with you in honour of Small Business Week.

  1. You won’t be everyone’s favourite.

     This was a tough pill to swallow as an only child who likes to be a people pleaser. But it didn’t take long for me to realize that I wasn’t going to make everyone happy. I know it’s okay because there is someone else out there that can help that person in the manner they require, it’s just not me. We use the term, Know your Doris (ask us who Doris is next time we’re together).

  2. Sometimes your team will need a new roster.

    I lost a great teammate early on in Tag, and it hurt a lot. I felt like I failed him. I figured if I was only better at what I did he would have stayed. But I’ve learned sometimes a new roster is necessary and different players bring different experiences and skills. In the end, you can always create a winning team with the right coaches and attitudes.

  3. You need to date your partners before you marry them.

    Tag started as a partnership, but the partnership didn’t pan out the way we had hoped. It was a difficult time, and it hurt a lot. It was a tough and costly lesson to go through at such an early stage of the company. But the lesson learned is that, just as you would with marriage, you should always date your partners before you marry them. By spending that time “dating”  you ensure your value systems are genuinely compatible in business before you take the leap.

  4. Know your value system and stand behind it.

    One of the best things I went through in the past four years was working with a coach that made me understand my value system. My values are now my guiding light. When I need to make any decision for my business or family, I go back to the things I value most to ensure I’m taking us in the right direction. Knowing your value system is like having a compass in your hand that guides you to where you need to go.

  5. Know when it is time to make a tough decision and do it.

    As a small business owner, there are times you have to make a tough decision that you wish you didn’t have to make. When you are faced with these decisions put the right thought into it, but then move forward and don’t delay. The delay could impact more in your life/business than you may have anticipated. Rip the band-aid off and let the wound heal.

To all fellow business owners, I respect your courage and tenacity. I admire your risk-taking nature. I applaud your passion for your industry and the love you have for what you do. I celebrate you and your business every day!

To my team at Tag Concepts, thank you for being a part of my lessons over the past five years and for being my treasured teammates. I am so thankful to have you.


This post was written by Deanna Haysom, Owner and Creative Director of Tag Concepts.