Call/Text (414)640.7445

2011 Business Lessons Learned – What did YOU learn?

This has been an amazing and insightful year for me. It’s my first full year out of corporate America, and I have had one heckuva ride! Many awesome clients, a few not-so-awesome clients, and LOTS of lessons learned!

My biggest business lesson learned in 2011: Profit and loss are great but cash flow is KING!

Cash flow is king - just like the Burger King kingI had a relatively profitable year. Most months were in the black with enough to pay the bills and enjoy a nice meal or two with my wife. But though I was billing hours, I had a few months of near zero revenue collected. That means NO money in bank account, which meant no bills paid.


But I learned that lesson and now, by asking for half down for any projects and billing retainers a month ahead instead of a month behind, I’m living much more comfortably. Same profit and loss, but much better cash flow.

What about YOU?

What was your best business lesson in 2011?

Looking for some inspiration? Check out the 11 business lessons learned at Business on Main.

YOUR TURN: Leave a comment with the best business lesson YOU learned in 2011. I’ll be selecting 2 at random to deliver a $50 Amazon gift card to. You have until December 24th, 2011 at 5 PM central time. Good luck, and let me know your 1 best business lesson learned in 2011 in the space below.

Disclaimer: My blog is a part of an online influencer network for Business on Main. I receive incentives to share my views on a monthly basis.

7 Responses to 2011 Business Lessons Learned – What did YOU learn?

  • Funny. I was just writing the same type of blog post last night. My lesson learnt is: listen to your gut, not the people around. Too many times I had a chance to act on my own feeling/my inner voice, but due to lack of confidence (or experience), I chose the world around to drive my decisions. Wrong! Next year, I am making a point to listen to my gut and not concern myself with what people say. It’s not the popular ideas that become great, but those that don’t get all the support at the start.

  • I will tell you what I learned: That I am willing to go hungry rather than keep busting my hump to make money for somebody else.

    I learned that I have a ton of help to give to others.

    I learned that I can write 2,500 words a day. For days at a stretch.

    I learned how to make a very professional-sounding podcast.

    But the best Business Lesson is this: You have to get up and show up every day and provide some value to the people that are watching. Phoning it in won’t cut it. RT’s don’t cut it. Grab your audience by the hand and show them how it’s done.

  • For all of us in the service-provision business, managing cash flow is absolutely critical to sustaining and building the business. A simple change like asking for half up front is so dead simple that it’s easy to overlook.

    My big lesson for 2011: establish success criteria for your clients up front – in writing and have both parties sign off on them. This does three things:

    1. It sharpens the focus on delivering specific results.
    2. It allows for course corrections if things are veering off the plan.
    3. It provides context to review performance and validate client satisfaction. (Which is good for long-term cash-flow planning!)

  • Great post, Phil.

    The greatest business lesson I learned this year was that I was leaving a lot of money on the table.

    Like you, I had transitioned out of Corporate America and had to build my individual brand over the years. So, for years I had been diligently working on gaining more experience and credibility not only in this new line of work, but within the community I served.

    This past year my lesson was to stop trying to prove that I was credible, and to start asking for what I was worth. I am thankful I have mentors and a strong support system that, all year long, reminded me of how capable and good I was at what I do.

    It may seem common sensical, but sometimes we are our own barriers to success. Once I realized where I needed to improve, I simply started asking for what I was worth and ended up generating more money with those wins. My close rate has been nearly impeccable.

  • I learned we need each other and the communities we serve now more than ever. Being selfish and self centered will not get us past the recession. Helping one another and finding ways to better our lives is going to keep everyone’s spirit’s alive.

    Stephen’s right, we all have a lot to share with others. Get off the couch in 2012 and give of your time, talents and treasure to others!

  • I sat in a room of pharmaceutical sales managers as they summed up two days of meetings on how they can make a difference to their sales reps, to their customers and to cancer patients.

    It boiled down to three words: trust, authenticity and love.

    I tried to imagine my grandfather, who ran a big part of the Forest Service, saying that in a meeting. Or my father, when he ran an aluminum company.

    Those three words are the key to business success from here on out. Trust them. Be authentic. And serve your team out of love.

  • I learned that what actually happens may be wilder than your wildest dreams. In my wildest dreams I never imagined that I would be working one-on-one with people like Carol Roth and Michael Port only 18 months in my business. It has been a really wild ride but I know that next year is going to be absolutely amazing. My advice: Dream bigger.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Becoming A Networking Super Hero

Get Connected!

Free LinkedIn tips guide

What others say about Phil

Rich Hand

“Phil is a great choice if you are looking for a speaker to add value for you and your employees! He will energize you , and will customize his presentation to Make It Great! I have used him at HDI and he is a valuable contributor to our community. He can do the same for you. High energy! High Impact! Highly recommended!”

Rich Hand

tammy lenski

Dr. Tammy Lenski

“When someone first mentioned Phil to me 3 years ago, she described him this way: “He’s the real deal.” Every time I’ve spoken with or seen Phil interviewing or doing a public speaking gig since, that has proven true. Then, when I felt it was time for me to do some re-branding after over 10 successful years in business, I knew I wanted the benefit of a creative, energetic and smart soul to bounce ideas off of. I knew I wanted someone who grasps branding but works in realms not just narrowly focused on branding alone. Phil came immediately to mind. The results with Phil were exceptional. He pressed my thinking where I’d asked him to (and a few well-selected place I hadn’t!), proved a superb brainstorming and idea-generating partner, and invited me to deepen my thinking about some of the brand ideas I was considering. And he did it all with high energy, a sunny demeanor, and reliable timeliness. Phil Gerbyshak is the real deal indeed.”

Dr. Tammy Lenski

lisa gates

Lisa Gates

“Phil Gerbyshak is an inspired master speaker who can light a dark corner in any room on fire with his absolute love of humanity, and a deep wisdom about team building, leadership and communication. His style is witty and improvisational, and grounded by a tireless, authentic generosity.”

Lisa Gates

brad shorr

Brad Shorr

“Phil understands social media as well as or better than anyone you will find – anywhere. Besides having a full understanding of the technical and strategic aspects of using Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, etc., in your business, Phil brings high energy and enthusiasm to every project and speaking engagement. In short, Phil can help you figure out what to do, and get you fired up about doing it!”

Brad Shorr


Chris Brogan

"Phil has boundless energy and optimism, channeled into the noble goal of making good connections with interesting people. He is truly tireless in his pursuit of finding great ways to share knowledge, build community, and channel relationships into action. I’d recommend Phil highly in these aspects for your future endeavors."

Chris Brogan, NY Times best-selling author and social media superstar


Sophie Klossner

“If you are looking for a speaker who brings energy, enthusiasm and direction to your group, look no further than Phil Gerbyshak. Phil will get your group on its feet with energy and looking forward to making it a great day!”

Sophie Klossner