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Most Valued Lessons

by Cynthia Fazekas

Lessons from the past.

Recently, the founder of a newly formed tea start-up asked what I wished that I knew when starting in the tea world nearly sixteen years ago. What advice would I give myself if I could go back and do so? The first thoughts that came to mind were funny personal things everyone wishes they could change in the past, such as reactions to certain situations, a hair style or two or "gosh, I wish I didn’t lock myself out of the office without my car keys on such and such a day."

But digging deeper and seeking to help the inquirer, some lessons became clear, as did the feeling to share them here. After working with a couple of tea companies and their inspired, driven entrepreneurs, I’m happy to share the following advice thus spun from the woolen fuzz of experience:

1. Striving for perfection wastes time and causes unneeded stress. Launch something when it's good enough and learn from it. Perfection comes in time like a slow evolution. (Let your customers tell you how to make it better.)

2. Don't fear failure; fear not trying.

3. Honest criticism is your friend. Embrace it – even if it stings.

It would be easy to go on and add more notions but these are the primary things I’ve learned here in the tea business. Even if one never goes on to have their own business, these lessons serve an individual just as well.