No matter how you look at it, starting a business is hard. One of the hardest things you may ever have to do. There’s the business plan to think over, a name, government policies to consider, how it will affect your family, finances and the list rolls on from there. Some hardened entrepreneurs suggest spending a long time thinking about if that’s really the path you want to take. If so, there is plenty of advice floating around to help you with the grueling journey. Entrepreneurs are always willing to lend their words to the younger generation of business seekers and give them assistance when the time comes. Below we have asked entrepreneurs for their best business advice.
#1- Automate sales process
We're a very young startup, so we're still figuring a lot of things out. However, the best thing we have done to grow is sales automation. We use Hubspot's CRM to automate emails, and their sequence tool is so helpful and saves so much of the time we used to spend on follow-ups with clients. It does cost us a monthly fee, but the value we receive in return is worth every penny and more.
Thanks to Kaity O'Keefe, Ferla Bikes!
#2- Provide value and the rest follows
Focus on creating value for the customer and not on building your net worth. During the dot com bust, I went from being a millionaire to not knowing how I was going to pay my bills. I experienced a decent amount of success before then, but once my focus became centered around wealth creation, everything suddenly collapsed. I abandoned my focus on net worth, and all of this brought me back to my original philosophy. The success of a business lies on the value it provides, and my mission is to leave a lasting impact, create great products, and build amazing companies. The rest is secondary.
Thanks to Tomas Gorny, Nextiva!
#3- Take risks
My favorite life lesson quote is: “Take risks and don’t fear failure, as failure is just a learning lesson.”In regard to that, I’m always taking risks in the business to advance our company. Not all risks have been successful but I’ve learned from them, especially what to do and not do in the future. This has helped me go further than my competitors, most of them play the safe route, which is not necessarily a bad route, it’s just simply a slower route. I’m always on the creative edge of experimenting with new things, testing different products. Again, it hasn’t always been successful, but the few items that have been successful have truly paid off and helped set us apart from other companies.
Thanks to Justin Comparetto, Just Ryt Foods!
#4- Excellent performance is key
In my experience, there is never a shortage of ideas. Having a good vision is necessary, but outstanding execution is what determines success. A brilliant strategy or a great new product can get you started. The most successful companies have leaders and a team that can perform at the highest levels day after day.
Thanks to Jim Fritz, Kennedy Blue and Wedding Shoppe!
#5- Practice consistency
Consistency is key when it comes to cultivating and growing a business especially in the world we live in now since everything is revolved around technology and social media platforms are mega drivers in customer A & R. Consistency should be practiced across the board– brand colors, message and identity should always align and remain coherent. Consistency builds customer loyalty and trust, while fostering a stronger brand, which in turn will amplify growth.
Thanks to Ericka N. Perry, The Stork Bag®!
#6-Know anything and everything about the market
You might have sufficient financial and other useful resources, but without having proper knowledge of your market you can never run your entrepreneurship, let alone succeed. Today you hold the key to power if you have information that others don’t. Therefore, use all your human and non-human ears, eyes or any other input system to gather any market information as much as possible everyday. Analyse all the market information with human intelligence and modern softwares to find the current trend and assess the future trends. Only after getting various analytical reports, you can set the exact plans of action for your different business processes which will produce maximum chances to reach your specific business goals. Hence, knowing anything and everything about the market is the best business tip to succeed in your business.
Thanks to Andrei Vasilescu, DontPayFull!
#7- Gather as much information
Being successful in business is all about learning from everyone on your team and basically everyone you interact with. As a CEO you are like a giant sponge. You're just taking it all in and running the information through your inner programming and weighing it against the things you've already learned during your professional career. The perspective you bring from all your past endeavors is invaluable, but it means nothing if you're not willing to keep pushing. You have to live in the present and think outside the box while trying to predict the future. Information gathering, Resilience and creativity are key in order to achieve success in today's fast-moving environment.
Thanks to Danny Keith, Cannabis Club TV!
#8- Have strong partners
Build businesses with partners who are strong in the areas where you are weak. I tend to be an idea person who likes to think big and can connect with people quickly. My natural role has always tended to be business development but my weakness, however, is planning, organizing, and finance. As I have grown my company from just being me to just under 30 people it has involved a lot of synergies of strengths and weaknesses. My wife is my business partner and she is an incredible planner and organizer. We have hired and contracted to others that fit within our strengths and weaknesses and this has been instrumental in our growth.
Thanks to William Schroeder, Just Mind!
#9- Show appreciation
Oftentimes, as an attorney, I will be in court interacting with a District Attorney and they will do me a favor or dismiss a case that I was handling. This all occurs in a quick moment and most attorneys I know would just leave, see the other lawyer months later, and the favor would be totally forgotten. I on the other hand, on many occasions, will simply send an email at the end of the day – it takes mere minutes. Nothing crazy, just saying Thank you and that I genuinely appreciated everything that they did for me that day. This helps create a personal relationship and they often remember me in the future. I've put this to the test and if I have needed something from them, I've asked, and it's been much more welcomed than my peers.
Thanks to Alex Ozols, Personal Injury Lawyers San Diego!
#10- Your ranking matters
For the first twenty years my business success was due to great word of mouth referrals that came from our culture of treating customers and employees as friends and family. But in the mid-2000s our sales started slipping and I wasn’t sure why. We were one of the largest advertisers in Boulder. We had the entire back covers of both Dex and Yellow Book phone books. One evening after I helped my 85-year-old mom move into her new apartment she offered to take me out to dinner. I suggested we look for a restaurant in the yellow pages. She said, “Why, just Google it!” Boy was I behind the times. Immediately I started shifting my resources to the internet. Within nine months the phone was ringing off the hook again. In the fall of 2013 Google made a huge algorithm change and our internet search presence went from the top 3 places to page 10, and our sales mirrored that. After three years of searching for the right SEO people we are now back on top. A great customer-focused culture is vital for retaining customers, but getting then in the door is all about Google.
Thanks to Bill Bender, Independent Motors!
#11- Invest in good marketing and good people
I cannot tell you enough how investing in those 2 things has helped me grow in business and in life. Being able to control your customer flow and generate your own demand is key to long term survival. The days of depending on foot traffic are long gone. While some people still think that way it’s only scalable so far, and will only generate finite revenue. Investment into good people is also key. How can you build a long-lasting business without a great team? By enabling my team to make a good living in a healthy atmosphere, it has allowed my business to get the very best representation and front-facing people. As we invest in generating our own business we also invest in the people who cultivate that business into revenues.
Thanks to Jared Weitz, United Capital Source inc.!
#12- Process, process, process!
Creating and following a set process for projects or tasks means that every member of your team knows what they should be doing at every point in a project, making you and your team much more productive and efficient. It also means that mistakes can be easily accounted for – if there’s an unforeseen problem, then you can simply add a step to the process to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Following a set process means that Strafe Creative can work quicker and smarter; as a result a process is something that I strongly recommend all businesses implement, in order to increase productivity across all areas.
Thanks to Ross Davies, Strafe Creative!
#13- Work in an environment you like
Choose a market like you choose a neighborhood to live in. Serve a group of customers you actually like. You will be in business a long time and if you can't stand who you are selling to, it will eventually eat your soul and crumble your company through resentment. This happens far too much.
Thanks to Mitch Miller, Opposed Media!
#14- Two tips
The number one way in which we have grown our business from 1 client to 34 clients in 2 years is by hiring our team based on the individuals expertise rather than a need for a specific position. This has helped us excel in all areas of the marketing and public relations world. Too many times companies hire based on need for a position and find someone they like but are not the proper individual for that role. My business partner and I have assembled our agency with like-minded individuals who have a growth mindset. In addition to hiring the right team members, it is equally important to find the clients that fit your agency makeup. In my world, the individuals we bring on as a client have to trust us to be the experts in our field. If the client thinks they know everything in the marketing and public relations world, you will be caught running in quicksand and not be able to accomplish your objectives. Both the client and the agency has to be on the same page for everyone to succeed.
Thanks to Aaron Zack, Revolving Mind Media!
#15- Focus on accountability
As a company of seven, accountability is absolutely key in the business – and it’s one of the most important things that drive us forward as a company. As a team, we have a Monday meeting in which each person presents their work from the past week, which then becomes an honest, open forum for discussion and feedback. It’s a good way to ensure that everyone is aware of what’s being worked on outside their personal sphere, and a nice space for each individual to receive feedback in on their goals. Encouraging honest feedback and accountability between all members of the team foster a strong work ethic, and a healthy relationship outside of the workplace – both of which are vital as an SME. If you have employees who are afraid to front up, or admit mistakes, then it’s going to seriously limit your growth as a company.
Thanks to Lana Elie, Floom!
#16- Focus is on the customer
Here's something too many agencies forget: the customer is king – and without them you have no business. Every single day you need to make sure that you're giving your customers the best possible service you can. You should provide them with regular updates and expert advice about the market, listen and adapt to their needs, and most importantly, don't give them any reason to use one of your competitors. If you want to grow your agency you need to keep the customers you have and build on that foundation.
Thanks to James Lloyd-Townshend, Frank Recruitment!
#17- Be careful with your hiring
When I think of tips that helped me grow my business, I go back to the beginning of my journey. Hiring the first ten employees was incredibly easy for me. I had a wide portfolio of hard-working friends from engineering school and previous places I worked that I picked from. We also happened to all be relatively young, early in our careers, and able to jump at risky opportunities. However, when that available talent pool was exhausted, I didn’t have the structure or the culture in place to ensure the next wave of talent was as good. So be careful with your hiring, take a lot more time, look at a lot more candidates, check a lot more references and don’t just make a hire out of desperation. A bad hire is more painful than no hire. A mediocre hire can be the worst because someone just doing the minimum and taking up space on the org chart and payroll is preventing a good hire from being there for years.
Thanks to Brian Gill, Gillware Data Recovery!
#18- Get everyone on your team motivated
Ultimately, a business is comprised of people. You can have the best product or idea in the market but if the people who work with you are not top tier, you will ultimately fail. If those people don't have a passion for what you are building then that will show to your customers and clients. This not only means that you should only hire the best, it also means that you need to take care of your employees as well. If you can get everyone on the same page and motivated to execute at peak performance, then you can even turn a mediocre product into a fantastic one. People are the ultimate asset to any business that wants to succeed.
Thanks to Nicholas Christensen, Lottery Critic!
#19- Be you
The faster you can rid yourself of caring what others think about you and step into the power of being ‘authentically you,' the faster success will come. Don’t try to please everyone and be all things to all people. This is not the goal. The magic of success is to attract the people that relate to you, like you, and want to do business with you, and to repeal those that are not a good fit. The secret in how to do this is to simply be YOU! It will be way easier and a lot more fun along the way too!
Thanks to Julia Carlson, Financial Freedom Wealth Management!
#20- Get comfortable with the uncomfortable
Building a business is new, scary and uncomfortable. To make progress, you absolutely need to step outside your comfort zone. Start a task that is overwhelming and complicated, and don’t procrastinate because you’re in unfamiliar territory. Remind yourself that the first step is always the most uncomfortable. You’ll reach a goal, look back, and realize the unknown wasn’t so bad at all.
Thanks to Stephanie Wiggins, DJANGO!
#21- Do What You Know
Most entrepreneurs think that in order to make their mark that they have to dive into uncharted waters and start businesses that they have no innate expertise or deep interest in. Why? Because they see some perceived untapped market opportunity or are trying to hitch themselves onto a trend that's already proven itself profitable in the moment. But that thinking often sets you up for failure because you're going in without any competitive advantage. Instead, think long and hard about what you already know and look deeper to see if there are business opportunities within that area that you believe are both viable and fit you. It's not a guarantee for success but your odds will undoubtedly increase as a result.
Thanks to Shaan Patel, Prep Expert!
#22- Pay attention to legal matters documents
As a new business owner, I failed to have the proper documents in place. As a result of my failure to implement and execute a partnership agreement, I was the partner responsible for the financial shortfall. As I began to rebound, I learned to carefully discuss and document all legal matters. Once all parties have agreed to the document then have it reviewed by an attorney to ensure all aspects of the agreement have been documented and recorded correctly. Failure to inspect what I expect cost me unnecessary business expenses. As leaders, we must lead by example and that requires us to read.
Thanks to Dr. Cozette M. White
#23- Focus on becoming niche Go an inch-wide and a mile deep
The more niche you become the better chance you can become a market leader and step on the throats of all your competitors. Niche will get you rich. Stop trying to be everything to everyone. You need to become specific and you will be able to move faster, hire experts and deliver a better product or service. Do not be a general exterminator, be the company they call to remove snakes. There is enough market share in any niche to dominate. This is why brain surgeons are in higher demand and make more money than a general practitioner.
Thanks to Judge Graham, Judge Graham International, LLC!
#24-Hire a Virtual Assistant
A “game changing” business tip for business owners of any level is hiring virtual assistants. When running a company with growth in mind, there isn’t enough time to manage the workload on your own. Staffing full-time employees can be cost prohibitive and several full-time staff can still be insufficient. There are talented virtual assistants across the United States (and internationally) you can hire for telephone services, client management, data analysis, calendaring, and web search at affordable rates compared to the traditional hiring process. During crunch times, you can supervise short-term virtual teams to get through temporary periods of heightened work. Hiring a virtual assistant is also simple. There are several websites that connect you directly with virtual assistants and make the process a breeze by handling payment, dispute resolution and providing live computer monitoring to supervise the team.
Thanks to Earl White, House Heroes LLC!