There’s nothing wrong with asking for advice. It doesn’t matter if you’re a veteran business owner or just getting your feet wet in the deep end of the entrepreneurial lake. Advice can be delivered in many forms. You might get a wake-up call from a peer or mentor on your performance. It might be a huge motivational speech from someone you hadn’t considered to be in the ‘business’ field. The point of advice is to help. We rounded up a list of advice from entrepreneurs and business owners. Maybe you’ll find someone you need on the list.
1) You've Got to Have a Profession
The best business advice I ever got came from my father. It took me a while to absorb it. But, eventually, while standing in a pool of sewage, holding a sewer rooter with a badly frayed chord, I realized the value of my father's advice that “You've got to have a profession, one where you can make a comfortable living comfortably.” And I understood just exactly why he'd worked so hard to put me and my brothers and sisters through college.
Thanks to Barry Maher!
2) Having Courage
Entrepreneurship is about courage. It is about having enough hutzpah to lose sight of the shoreline. Creating technology is about empowerment. It’s not about gender; it’s certainly not about those who want you to fail or even about the naysayer’s fear of having their world changed. It is simply about moving and acting with the gifts and vision given and attempting to be great. The gift of courage is a great thing that no one can take from you. Have gratitude for all those believed in you, to those that invested and to those women who from centuries ago to today have sacrificed greatly and showed the courage to create.
3) A Good Attitude
We are small business that was boot strapped from the beginning. We work hard to make exceptionally crafted handmade jewelry and have leveraged online technologies to create an amazing shopping experience. Outside of all the great ideas we had for our business or experience we brought to the table, bar none, the most important asset was our positive outlook. When I look back at all the challenges we faced with starting our business, there is no doubt that our “youthful optimism” was a major factor to overcoming every obstacle we faced. So the best advice we could give anyone journeying down the path of entrepreneurship is to start off with a strong “can do” attitude!
Thanks to Andreas Argentinis, Metal Pressions!
4) Love What You Do
My best business advice would be to “Have fun doing what you love”. Inbusiness, ups and downs are to be expected but it's the journey to success that builds character and grows your business. I tell my clients all the time that your brand begins with you. Keep a smile on your face, learn from every lesson, and most importantly have fun. People tend to be more attracted to happiness than sadness. Try highlighting images/videos of fun activities with your staff on your social media outlets. This can increase awareness of your brand and ultimately increase revenue. Now there's something to smile about!
Thanks to Rachel Green, A Brand Called U Public Relations!
5) Take the High Road
The best business advice that I can give in a short paragraph can be summed up with 3 simple things. One is always take the high road and do what is right. Where ever people go you find people doing things the wrong way, being dishonest, and caring much more about themselves than their customers. By doing what is right you can always look in the mirror and feel good about yourself. We all know what is right and what is wrong. The second is to give your best efforts in whatever you do. If you don't give something your best efforts it is better not to do it at all lest you earn a reputation for doing things poorly. Finally, treating others the way you wish to be treated. While all of these things are very simple and should be universal, sadly we all know they are not. Especially in South Florida! So just by doing these 3 simple things you can become successful in whatever business you are in and will also earn respect from your peers and others in community.
Thanks to Orin Rosenfeld, Rosenfeld Realty Advisors!
6) Grow Slow and Within Your Means
When a lot of entrepreneurs start out they have no funding, and this poses a huge mental and financial roadblock to actualize their ideas and make a go of their business. If you don't have funding, loans or investors it may be discouraging and many end their entrepreneurial career before they even get started. But if you really have a goal, you can reach it, even with no money and a tight budget. Sure, it may take longer and be less profitable at the onset but I can assure you that growing slow and within your own means is the key to success. This philosophy doesn't just apply to business either; any long term goal in life is usually more successful if you don't rush through but grow according to your own means and reap the rewards along the way.
Thanks to Nima Noori, TorontoVaporizer!
7) Believe in Your
The best business advice in the word is believe in who you are, and what you are selling. Nobody wants to buy from a limp handshake. Have enough integrity to look someone in the eye and say “You can trust me.” You then have to have the talent to do it or figure it. My mantra has always been to say yes! I know I'm smart enough to figure it out.
Thanks to James N. Kinney!
8) Getting Your Team Aligned
The single most effective thing I've found in leading technology companies has been the value of getting everyone on the team aligned on priorities and objectives. The way I typically work to do this is to first gain agreement across the executive team on what the company's top two or three priorities are. We then develop that into a set of company objectives and key metrics. Once this is agreed, we take it to the whole company, and then ask everyone on both a team and individual basis what they believe their objectives should be to support the company goals. We do this as a bottom-up exercise, rather than trying to force objectives onto people from the top down, which usually fails. What always pleasantly surprises me is how positively team members respond – people appreciate being able to set their own goals, based on their shared understanding of what the company is working toward. What is also remarkable is the degree to which everyone's objectives align, both with other team members and the overall goals. I've been using some variant of this approach for about 15 years, but was pleasantly surprised to recently learn from the book “How Google Works” that Google's success is based on a very similar system of goal-setting.
Thanks to Phillip Merrick, Message Systems!
9) Productivity is a Must
Make Over Your Morning: Get up early and meditate. Insight comes early; if you sit quietly in the morning and meditate and then listen within, you will discover brilliant ideas are ready to burst out of you. Hone new habits for productivity: Take 20 minutes to think and plan. Start using a kitchen timer to get more done in less time. The ticking clock will remind you to work expeditiously and stay focused. Write in your journal daily to record your thoughts, ideas and plans. All of these success habits will help you perform better throughout your day. Master your momentum: Progress happens little by little. Don't be overwhelmed by tackling a big project all at once. Break it down into steps and start with number one and work your way down the list. The key to avoiding procrastination is saying no to the urge to be distracted.
Thanks to Stacia Pierce, Ultimate Lifestyle Enterprises!
10) Start in Black
Design a business that you can run in the black from day one. High tech start ups and high-overhead businesses with inventory and staff take years to be revenue-earning, much less profitable. Instead, craft your company to run with low overhead and to deliver more customized, high value services–and don't open your doors until you have signed your first big client.
Thanks to Elizabeth Potts Weinstein, EPW Small Business Law PC!
11) Clearly Defined Processes
After spending the last decade launching and growing several businesses in both bullish and slow downward trending economies, watching many rise and fall, the most common defining factor is whether the business has clearly defined processes or not. Process in this context refers to having established workflows, methodologies, structured tasks and a culture of working in unison which empowers staff and the business to almost run on autopilot. As businesses begin to grow and need to scale, a vast majority of entrepreneurs are stuck trying to micromanage all aspects of their business. Because of emotional attachment, they hold on to control of every nut and turning gear within the organization only to their detriment. Imagine trying to hire and manage 100 employees on your own; it just doesn't work. It's impossible to personally manage every minor detail and learning to trust your team and focus on developing a game plan that empowers each member while making them accountable is powerful. This frees more time and mental space for the visionary entrepreneur to focus on business development and growth rather than remaining stagnant in maintenance mode.
Thanks to Deven Patel, Cyfe!
12) Hire Well
The first way that small business owners can save time is to delegate. Every time an owner micromanages a project or process, there are costs involved – their own hourly rate but the lost opportunity costs. I watch over and over as an entrepreneur delegates a task and then spends hours working on what they had delegated. Not only is the cost of the duplicated efforts a waste, there are costs associated with employee frustration minimizing productivity.Business owners want to save money by hiring the least expensive person for the job, but they rarely calculate what the hidden costs are. By hiring a less experience receptionist at $12 per hour, entrepreneurs miss out on all of the efforts that a $15 per hour receptionist would have been able to manage. And then of course, they waste more time micro-managing the less productive staff member. My best business advice: Hire well so that you can delegate well.
Thanks to Julia Angelen Joy, Z Group PR, Inc.!
13) Find People You Trust
Find a group of people you trust*, that won’t mind telling you when you are wrong or being stupid. As our ideas and companies grow, so do the number of people around us. It is natural that those people think like we do, are passionate about the product or service, and may really want to help us. Nearly every day there are critical decisions to make and major forks in the road, and our teams can help. But every once in a while a huge issue, opportunity, or dilemma will arise. If you turn to your team they might not know how to help, or are not willing to tell you the things you really need to hear. In 2009 I joined a CEO organization with some of the top leaders in Southern California called ABL. It has been huge for my company. These men and women are thoughtful, articulate, and most importantly, not afraid to tell me what I need to hear. They have helped me see new revenue, how to save money and avoid risk, but most importantly…helped me sleep at night. Find a group, and join them now!
Thanks to Chris Dyer, PeopleG2!
14) Act More, Think Less
The best business tip I can give any business owner is: “Act more. Think less.” I believe that many entrepreneurs can suffer from “analysis paralysis” and overthink themselves to inaction, letting valuable opportunities slip through their fingers. I encourage my employees to be proactive in their roles and learn from their experiences – good and bad. Failure isn't a negative, as long as you learn from what you did! I started running my first tech company at age 12 and made a ton of mistakes, but I noted each one and made sure not to repeat it. I was able to grow, pivot, and ultimately sell that company by the time I was 18. Lessons from those experiences still influence many of the decisions I make running my current Inc. 5000 company. You have to focus on production over perfection, vowing not to let the tiny details stand in the way of progress!
Thanks to Rob Bellenfant, TechnologyAdvice!
Hire a ridiculously good and detailed book keeper. Unless your business is book keeping, most business owners have little desire to spend the time entering revenues and expenses. Your business's financials, however, are the most important metric you need to track. Owning detailed financials not only gives you an accurate picture of your business's health, it can help you: find new opportunities to grow your business, easily find wasteful spending, quickly identify trends in your business, obtain new financing, lure investors, and eventually have your business acquired!
Thanks to Mark Daoust, Quiet Light Brokerage!