You might remember from earlier this year that Designsensory is celebrating 15 years! We’ve got some exciting announcements to come but, in the meantime, here are 15 business lessons we’ve learned in our 15 years.

1. Communication is key

It doesn’t matter how big or small the issue is, strong communication is key to success. It’s important not to let issues simmer for months and months, because you don’t want them to turn into crises. Raise a flag and communicate your concerns with someone as soon as you see a potential issue.

2. What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger

We all go through ups and downs in our careers, and how we come out of those down times is when our true colors are revealed to the world. It doesn’t matter how tough times get, if you keep pushing forward you’ll come out stronger and better on the other side.

3. Coffee is No. 1

What’s the to key running a business? Coffee.

4. Doughnuts are a close second

Because you can’t have coffee without doughnuts.

5. Teamwork makes the dreamwork

One of us isn’t as strong as all of us. We all bring different skillsets to the team, and the sum of all our skills allow us to create better results.

6. We’ve got the best clients

Seriously. We wouldn’t be where we are without our clients! Hats off to them! We can’t thank them enough for trusting us with their brands and working with us to create incredible results—and providing us with valuable feedback that’s made us better.

7. You live and die based on your team

You’re only as strong as your weakest link. You might love an employee as a person but, if they’re holding your business back, you’ve got to cut them loose for the greater good of the company.

8. Hard work always wins out over natural talent

Character counts when you’re hiring new employees. An honest employee with a strong work ethic will always beat out an employee with natural talent but no work ethic.

9. Respect

If you want to be treated with respect, you have to treat others with respect. You never know if the person you’re talking to will be your next client, employee or boss, so make sure to always treat others with respect and don’t burn any bridges.

10. Mistakes happen—learn from them

Donna Fenn, Inc. editor and author of “Upstarts” wrote in a blog post that focus on the process of attaining your business goals—not obsession with the goals themselves—is what ultimately leads to success. In other words, we all mess up sometimes, and the key is to learn from your mistakes to improve your business processes in the future.

11. Work-life balance is important

We would be remiss if we didn’t note that sometimes to be successful, work-life balance has to take a (temporary) backseat. At the end of the day, you’ve got to do what it takes to get the job done, but you can’t forget your support system at home. Sometimes stepping away from the office to hug your spouse or play with your kids is just the break you need to gain some fresh perspective.

12. Culture matters

Your workplace culture is what makes the (occasional) overtime hours worth it. It gives employees something to rally around and motivates them to come to work every day. The hardships and pitfalls of the workplace are all worth it when you’ve got a strong bond between team members built on out-of-the-office fraternization.

13. Trust is essential

You can’t run a business by yourself, so you’ve got to delegate and trust your team to get it done. Of course, trust is earned and not given away, but even during those all-important trust-building times, it’s important not to micromanage. Empower your employees to be responsible by letting them call the shots—and trusting them to get it right.

14. Success takes time

Successful people didn’t become successful overnight. Take J.K. Rowling for example: “Harry Potter” was rejected dozens of times before becoming a cultural sensation. Moral of Rowling’s story? Never give up.

15. Taking chances pays off

Starting a business means you are taking a calculated risk, both with your time and money. There’s no guarantee of success, but if you’re smart about the chances you take and you work hard, you’ll eventually find success.