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15 Entrepreneurs Give Advice on How to Run a Successful Business

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Having and running a successful business is the goal of entrepreneurs and business owners. While success is often a relative term, we know that entrepreneurs start their business with a specific goal and a vision and it is when they reach that goal that they are “successful”. It could be $1M in gross revenue or donating to charity but each business owner has their own metrics and definition of success and we wanted some tips on how to become successful. We asked some entrepreneurs and business owners what their advice was on running a successful business.

#1 – Crowd Wisdom

Photo Credit: David Mercer

Photo Credit: David Mercer

Benefit from the wisdom of the crowd. It’s important to keep your head up and engage with as many different people as you can. Bouncing ideas and possibilities around with other industry players, peers, entrepreneurs, advisors, friends and family. I managed to turn around a failed startup by spending a lot of time exploring the business idea better. Often, like me, entrepreneurs have an idea that they pursue into the startup phase without first looking at all the possible angles. In many cases an idea that seems promising on the surface has much better, less visible potential, if only you take the time to learn more from people in the industry. Different people have different connections and information. This means they can generate new possibilities and promising pivots for your business that you might otherwise miss.

Thanks to David Mercer, SME Pals

#2 – Shiny Object Syndrome

Photo Credit: Lucy Thornton

Photo Credit: Lucy Thornton

When you run your own business it’s easy to get distracted – there’s always some new social network, or online tool that’s going to revolutionise your sales funnel. The epidemic of SOS (Shiny Object Syndrome) is spreading throughout the world of business with little sign of stopping – have you used Busker lately? Or Anchor? What about Twitter cards? But entrepreneurs can fight back to reduce the impact of SOS on their business. When you read about the latest breakthrough tools, tech or social networks, ask yourself three questions: will this help me achieve my core goal more quickly? Will this add more in value than it takes away in time and money? Do I have the time and money to invest in learning something new now? If the answer is no to any of these questions, walk away. Be strong. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it to keep moving the needle towards achieving your dreams.

Thanks to Lucy Thornton, Perfect Balance Marketing

#3 – Know Your Numbers

Photo Credit: Ruth King

Photo Credit: Ruth King

Know your numbers! Most business owners never start their businesses to do the financial side of their business. They want to provide a product or service that fulfills a need or desire in the marketplace. However, not knowing the numbers can put a business owner out of business. Financial statements tell you of impending problems and the direction of sales, profits, cash flow, debt, collections, inventory and more. It takes less than 30 minutes a month to analyze financial statements and take action based on what they are telling you.

Thanks to Ruth King, Profitability Master

#4 – Go the Extra Mile

Photo Credit: Inma Goodhew

Photo Credit: Inma Goodhew

These are the main points I recommend to entrepreneurs and business owners to be successful: Know your customers’ needs and challenges by asking them the right questions, test the market before you embark on a new initiative, if what you hear is not what you expected you may need to change your offering. Create an excellent product or service, go the extra mile and do not set for average. Make your products and services remarkable. Know your WHY. Have a good mentor and surround yourself with the people you want to learn from, you don’t know everything about business and even if you think you do you need someone to give you a different perspective. Understand your finances, check your numbers every day. You need to know how much you are making, how much you are spending and control your cashflow. Review your business every 6 months, if something is not working, change it.

Thanks to Inma Goodhew, The Old School Club

#5 – A.B.C

Photo Credit: Chike Uzoka

Photo Credit: Chike Uzoka

The number one way we’ve been able to grow our business is A.B.C. – Always Be Closing. What that means is always discussing our business to whoever we are speaking with, wherever we are. Success for us has come from always working on strategic partnerships, always speaking about what our company needs are, and always seeking ways to involve others in our business vision. This has led to forming amazing partnerships and having great people work with us to achieve our goals.

Thanks to Chike Uzoka, Valentine Global, LLC

#6 – ROI as Money

Photo Credit: Mohan Prabakaran

Photo Credit: Mohan Prabakaran

A lot of small entrepreneurs are making a big mistake by expecting ROI as sales are money at the initial stage. Don’t make that mistake. It will make you end up in frustration also makes you think like business is not going well. Instead of that I recommend the following to measure the ROI. 1. Brand Exposure: If you are successfully selling to 100 people, you must have reached at least 10000 people. At least 1000 of them will remind you. It is an awareness, and you are probably going to get them in your third or fourth attempt in reaching them. 2. You current customer and their lifetime value: Well, you have few customers. Once you acquired them and made them stay with you for your excellent service then calculate the lifetime value of them. 3. The company current market value: If you have better brand exposure for your business, its value will be higher than you think. Especially if you are an e-commerce owner, your domain value and brand value be much more than you spent.

Thanks to Mohan Prabakaran, Purebus

#7 – Brand Yourself

Photo Credit: Nehemiah Douglass

Photo Credit: Nehemiah Douglass

One thing is for sure, your customers and prospects will never get over a friendly face they can trust. The saying, People buy people is 100% correct. Along with branding your company’s products, services, and values, try establishing a name for yourself to have a step up against the competition. With the help of social media nearly anyone can become a thought leader in their space. When you feel like going the extra mile, try creating valuable content based on other industries and ideas to drive a more diverse audience.

Thanks to Nehemiah Douglass, Vision Trading Network, LLC

#8 – Laser Focused

Photo Credit: Jess Chua

Photo Credit: Jess Chua

Tip #1: Be laser focused. You need to have a very clear idea of who your target audience is and what their problems are, because fancy branding and marketing is not going to work if your service or product is not speaking to your ideal customer. Staying focused will help you manage your time and resources effectively. Tip #2: Don’t be afraid of making some mistakes along the way, as it’s through mistakes that you grow, learn, and make improvements. Tip #3: Be willing to invest in yourself and your business when you’re ready, in terms of delegating to experts the areas that are out of your expertise. This will save you a lot of time and stress from trying to figure out and manage everything on your own.

Thanks to Jess Chua, Inner Life Goals

#9 – Pick and Choose

Photo Credit: Erica McCurdy

Photo Credit: Erica McCurdy

Pick and choose what pre-packaged solutions you want to use for your business, but be self-assured enough to know when a solution is not right for you. Sometimes what ‘everyone else does’ simply may not fit the vibe of your company, and that is perfectly fine. Part of what makes you want to create your own destiny is also what will push you to find solutions that perhaps nobody in the market has yet. Perhaps those solutions will be your second company or motivation to invest in getting someone else to start a company to serve your need. Every time I have listened to what I believed I needed to do in spite of what the rest of my industry believed was the ‘gold standard’ I have been rewarded, I have been less stressed, my reputation among my staff and my peers has increased, and my brand has been strengthened.

Thanks to Erica McCurdy, McCurdy Life Coach

#10 – Work Like a Team

Photo Credit: Enrico Palmerino

Photo Credit: Enrico Palmerino

An important tip for finding success is to work like a collaborative team rather than a boss with employees. It’s about closely coordinating different members from different departments so they feel like one. Having constant efficient communication is key. We have 1.5-hour weekly management calls, 15-minute daily check-ins, and weekly 1-hour one-on-ones. Next, it’s all about completing tasks – the task list is the greatest asset for every business. In our weekly management calls, we determine the tasks that are most crucial to moving the company forward. We then assign off those tasks to the individuals that are capable of completing them before the end of the week. This means your business is improving every week and your team is collaborating on high-level items while individually completing smaller tasks. Nothing drives a business forward like accomplishing tasks.

Thanks to Enrico Palmerino, botkeeper

#11 – Start Internally

Photo Credit: Barry Richter

Photo Credit: Barry Richter

Start internally. Create a team of people who genuinely care about the level of service they provide clients and customers. We’re able to do this by providing a culture of collaboration. Everyone is encouraged to share their expertise to help solve problems. And, we have fun. As the President, I know that in order for our business to be successful, I need every one of our employees. One isn’t more important than the other. We understand that when our employees feel valued, so do our clients.

Thanks to Barry Richter, Hausmann-Johnson Insurance

#12 – Don’t Hire Family

Photo Credit: Bret Bonnet

Photo Credit: Bret Bonnet

Don’t listen to the naysayers: There will be plenty of people who tell you that your idea will not be profitable or lucrative. Feel confident in your plan and work toward realizing your goal, regardless of criticism. Start young: Find ways to explore your passion at an early age. It is important to develop your ideas and network with people who share common interests. Fake it until you make it: The impressions you make are important. Even if you are unsure about the process of starting and maintaining a business, projecting confidence is key to your success. Use money from elsewhere: If you have the means to avoid using your own money then utilize funds that come from outside sources. Hire professional for taxes: The process of filing taxes for your business is immensely frustrating. It’s best to hire a professional to help with the process. Make sure your idea coincides with your personality: Know your personality, sensibilities, and interests. Your business should reflect your ideals and the kind of person that you are. Don’t hire family: Navigating the waters between a personal and business relationship with a family member is next to impossible. If you love your family, then keep them separate from your business endeavors. Strong partnership: If you are working with another person, make sure that they are someone that you wouldn’t mind being stranded with on an island. Maintain a 50/50 split and strong communication with your business partner. Know the legal expectations for your business: Do the research, ask questions, and make sure that you know the legal expectations for your business. Don’t waste money on frivolity: If it’s not essential to your customers, and they won’t be able to see it, then it’s not worth your money. You can use scratched up desks and chairs without your company’s logo inscribed into them and still be able to operate your business.

Thanks to Bret Bonnet, Quality Logo Products

#13 – Problem Solving

Photo Credit: Steve Benson

Photo Credit: Steve Benson

The major players in tech today do so many things at once and solve so many problems at the same time – as a startup, you win by having a laser focus on solving one problem that people will pay you to solve. You win big if you solve a problem that leads to you solving a series of bigger problems that you couldn’t have solved without having solved the first. Because then, no one else can catch you since they needed to solve the first problem before they can move onto the bigger problems.

Thanks to Steve Benson, Badger Maps

#14 – Build Your Team

Photo Credit: Joshua Wilson

Photo Credit: Joshua Wilson

Early on, entrepreneurs find themselves having to be the jack of all trades and bootstrap in a lot of areas. As the business grows, it’s important to slowly put this behind you and get back to specializing. No matter who you are, there is someone better than you at something. If that something is a critical skill, it needs to be outsourced to someone who hasn’t reluctantly reached 80% proficiency through necessity like you have. It needs to be done by someone who enjoys the task and who is at their best when completing it. There are a lot of things I am capable of doing, but it’s in the best interest of my firm if I am at my highest and best use at all times. Find the things that differentiate you the most, and try to figure out ways to spend more times doing those things.

Thanks to Joshua Wilson, WorthPointe Wealth Management

 #15 – Meditation

Photo Credit: Karan Chaudhry

Photo Credit: Karan Chaudhry

As we all know, its a long and challenging journey. Even when our companies are growing there are fires to fight on a regular basis. The thing which helped me the most was actually meditation. I picked it up on a friends recommendation and it was a game changer. The highs and lows became more normalized and the mind chatter reduced considerably. Its almost as-if your world view evolves. As a result I was much more calm, relaxed, focused, productive – basically all the good stuff we entrepreneurs always wish for. Not to mention my sleep quality improved tremendously. Given I was the CEO and Cofounder, it had a visible impact on the overall organization. Nothing outside changed but we dealt with stuff much better and in a more positive way. I strongly recommend meditation for entrepreneurs. I practice TM but feel free to pick up whatever works for you.

Thanks to Karan Chaudhry, Comnplus

About CEO Blog Nation

This is a post from a CEO Blog Nation writer. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.
  • Deborah Starling

    Such a fantastic article. It’s great to read success stories and advice from CEO’s and entrepreneurs who are out there making it happen! This really reminded me of a fantastic business book I just read called, “Rhythm: How to Achieve Breakthrough Execution and Accelerate Growth” by CEO and author Patrick Thean (http://www.patrickthean.com/). My favorite thing about it is that it’s an act of “paying it forward”, from someone that is already a proven success to people that are on their way up. Not only does he share his strategies that have worked but he also shares insights from hundreds of growth company clients worldwide. The book isn’t overwhelming and I found that it provides simple methods and tools to really help you plan better for your business and your employees. I can’t recommend it enough. New and seasoned business professionals alike can benefit from this book.

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