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-Be passionate about what you do
Be Passionate! You don't have to love whatever your business is about, but you do have to be passionate about it. You're going to devote a lot of time and energy to this dream of yours…so it's really important that you truly enjoy what you do.
Thanks to Zondra Wilson, Blu Skin Care, LLC!
Every day I focus on what is truly important for the day and set my intentions. I organize my to-do list for the day into two groups — A for high-priority items and B for lower-priority items. I number each item on each list in according to importance. This way, I can start my day by checking off the easiest item in the A list and check off the rest of the list according to priority number. By checking off the easiest item in the A list, it allows you to start your day off productive. That productivity will carry you forward throughout the rest of your day while tackling what really matters.
Thanks to LaVon Koerner, Revenue Storm®!
#3-Listen to business books on your drive
In the mornings, I usually have about a 40-minute commute to the office. Rather than complain about it, I make the most of the time by listening to business books on my drive. Prior to this habit, I seldom made the time to read business books since I prefer to spend my free time with family or in the outdoors. This way, I get a good dose of advice as I prepare for my day. It puts me in the right frame of mind and I often incorporate what I’ve heard into my work that day. Some of the books that I’ve enjoyed include Good Strategy/Bad Strategy, Traction, and Scaling Up. This has turned what could be a frustrating waste of time into an opportunity to keep learning.
Thanks to Dorota Shortell, Simplexity Product Development!
#4- Know and understand your customer
The most important thing to know in business is your customer. You need to know what problem you solve for them, why it is important to them and you need to understand the emotional reasons they have for buying. Knowing your customer means understanding the subsections of customers within your market and knowing who among them, you can serve best – and it's not all of them. When you understand this, you can build a very unique business that those people just won't be able to say no too. And then you can charge accordingly.
Thanks to Jamie Cunningham, SalesUp!
#5-Dedicate particular days to certain areas of business
Entrepreneurs and business owners often have to jump between different roles in order to keep their business afloat – from accounts manager to marketing expert, to customer service. This can lead to busy days spent jumping between tasks and mindsets, causing a massive haemorrhage in terms of productivity, as well as being incredibly stressful. One of my most productive habits is the dedication of particular days to certain areas of business – my Mondays are dedicated to finance and business planning; Tuesdays and Thursdays are for project work; and Wednesdays and Fridays are dedicated to sales. By structuring my time this way – and ensuring that my team follows the same structure when filling my diary! – I can devote entire days to particular “types” of tasks – no more swapping between business hats! This allows me to focus better and utilize my time more efficiently.
Thanks to Ross Davies, Strafe Creative!
#6- Absorb as much information during the commute
One of the most important things I do every morning during my commute into work is trying to absorb as much information as I can about what is going on in current events. I will look at everything in my Google news feed, CNN, FOX and social media feeds, because you need to be informed when you interact with your patients or clients. I want to be well versed and informed whenever a patient or client asks me to discuss a certain topic and I want to be able to discuss it with the most accurate and relevant information. I will look at countering viewpoints of the same story from different sources to try and understand why one patient will think one way, but another will think differently. To think that you only need to know about your particular field, or only one point of view is foolish. As they say, information is key.
Thanks to Dr. Edward A. Alvarez
#7- Planning three things
Each night I plan the three things that I wish to accomplish the following day. This allows me to start my day with a clear purpose. It eliminates needless decision-making tasks from my morning schedule so I can focus on accomplishing my days goals. My energy and mind are thus free to work at an optimum level and achieve my desired outcome that much quicker.
Thanks to Alistair Dodds, Smoking Chili Media!
#8- Don’t Just Do What You Love
The old ‘Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’ line is really is the worst business advice I’ve ever heard. I know that it might sound a bit strange because so many business ‘gurus’ spout it like a universal truth — but it is bad advice. Just doing what you love isn’t enough to create a successful business. There must be a commercial argument behind it and you must be good at what you do. Pick a niche with no customers and a service or product that you cannot deliver well and you shouldn’t be surprised when your business falls flat. Instead, pick a healthy niche and provide a service or product that you’re good at. If you actually enjoy what you do, that’s a huge plus too!
Thanks to Will Craig, LeaseFetcher!
#9- Start with the big ideas
First do Your Soul Gaining Work Parkinson’s Law states, “All work expands to fill all the available time.” As an entrepreneur, I always have more tasks and projects to do than I do the time or energy to work on them. But of all my tasks and projects, there are always one to three that are the big ideas, the big contributors to leapfrogging the business growth, advancing my thought leadership, improving the planet, and/or increasing profits. For me this big matter often involves authoring a book to help business leaders be on-purpose. Stories rich in lessons aren’t written in a day. When I’m in “book writing mode,” I start my day working on the manuscript in order to powerfully capture and use that fresh, early morning energy and creativity. By working as long and as intently as I can until either my brain is fried or a client/business matters demands my attention, I know in my knower that I’ve moved the book forward a sentence, paragraph, or a chapter ahead. Failure to dedicate this early morning time means my day will be consumed by lower priority tasks and projects. Writing is my soul gaining work that affords me a measure of personal satisfaction and fulfillment. This work carries me through the rest of my day confident that I made progress on what's meaningful today as opposed to having just been busy.
Thanks to Kevin W. McCarthy, On-Purpose Partners!
#10-Do then say!
Take action now, especially when you're fresh in someone's mind after a conference or a big editorial piece that was published. Leverage your contacts to make sure that you stay relevant in their mind, and then after getting a successful yes, talk about it. Make sure your social media networks know, because if you don't put it out there it never happened.
Thanks to Dr. Jacqueline Darna, NoMo Nausea!
#11- Monitor the yields of every effort made
Marketing is a necessary and crucial expense, whether you hire a PR or marketing pro or depend entirely on social media. When done effectively it can make your profits soar. With this in mind, it is ever important to monitor the yield of each attempt you make, embodying your existing customer base and leveraging them as much as possible is critical. Putting systems in place to ensure that you measure what is working will allow you to invest your time and money, in the activities that get you a genuine return and profitability.
Thanks to Tara Langdale-Schmidt, VuVatech!
#12- Diversify your customers' base
Fast growth is normally a very good thing, but you need to recognize when it’s not. One of the biggest warnings signs for growing too fast is having one customer represent a disproportionate amount of the total sales. As a rule of thumb, one customer should usually never exceed 20% of a company’s sales because it presents a significant risk for the company. Customer diversification is the solution. To combat this potential issue, leadership teams should take active measures to both diversify the customer base as well as build operations that might be tailored towards more than one customer in high-growth situations.
Thanks to Carlos Castelán, The Navio Group!
#13-Analyse your competition
There's no point doing something if it's already been done. However, most business models have already been thought of, so whichever industry you enter, it's likely you're treading water with a lot of competitors. You need to have a helicopter view of what your competitors are doing to make sure you don't just replicate their business model. Doing an in-depth analysis of your competitors also allows you to identify gaps in their business models, helping you to carve out your own niche in the industry and offer something that nobody else is, already.
Thanks to Chris Wain, Africa Travel!
#14- Kick through the list of tasks that were added the day before
As business owners, we spend all day racking up items on our to-do lists. Most of them are small tasks like responding to quick email questions, reviewing files, touching base with a contact, and providing feedback on projects, When these tasks aren't pressing, it's easy to push them to the side to take care of later. But, after a long day, the mundane tasks can seem more difficult than they really are. So, I allow myself to shut down for the day,and start my next day by attacking that list first.. Before checking for new messages, opening up a project, or going into meetings – I kick through the list of tasks that were added to my list the day before. Not only does this keep me on top of everything, but it opens up the mindshare I'd otherwise use to worry about getting to those tasks and all the new tasks that would be added throughout the new day.
Thanks to Rachel Honoway, Rust Built Ventures!
#15-Get Up- Get Moving
Creating the habit of morning workouts not only give you a boost of energy, they pump you up, ensuring your senses are up and running. You’ll immediately feel a sense of accomplishment and ready to tackle the day. Studies have shown that people are less likely to come up with excuses early in the morning. Early mornings have fewer interruptions. You have no excuse not to set your alarm 20-30 minutes early and sneak in a quick jog or a 5 minute workout. Exercise will not just make you think clearer, be healthier and scientifically happier, it allows you to combat stress as well. Making exercise a regular part of your a.m. routine is a great way to get energized, improve blood circulation and burn fat. It boosts your metabolism and improves your cognitive skills. There are many apps that make doing so easy and enjoyable. Start by finding one that features easy and effective full body workouts and go from there. Once you develop that habit and feel that achievement, it’s easy to maintain. You’re now actually excited to get up & get moving!
Thanks to MJ Abraham, Abraham | Law!
#16- Take a walk outside
To keep myself grounded and focused, I take my dog and husband out for a walk. This allows us (my husband and I, not the dog) to talk about what our days look like, connect, prioritize and express our emotions. Taking the time to understand not only what you have on your plate, but how you feel about the day(overwhelmed, excited, energized or frustrated) provides more clarity and focus. Sharing those feelings with a trusted partner ensures that they don't cloud my day and get in the way of the work and my efficiency skyrockets! Plus the dog loves it and I get a bit of exercise.
Thanks to Megan Robinson, @revenue!
#17- Work hard
I’m someone that never went to college, nor have I ever considered myself the smartest person in the room. To anyone with the same background, know that you can succeed and thrive by working as hard as you possibly can. Some people are handed things in life, and yes, that might give them a step up over you, but know that you can climb just as fast and far if you are diligent, patient and bold.
Thanks to Marshall Chesrown, RumbleOn!
#18-Trust beats everything
When it comes to managing a business the most important thing you can do is exhibit confidence in your employee's abilities. Every time you micromanage or show them the better way of doing things, you're undermining their ability to operate independently. When you leave your employees wondering if they are doing the right thing the way you want them to, you end up log-jamming workflow. It’s better to let your employees do things they’re way and let them run with their ideas instead of making them question their every move, work is allowed to flow smoother.
Thanks to Nate Masterson, Maple Holistics!
#19- Start with a workout
I always start my day with a workout. I wake at 5:30 and go straight to my basement gym. Workouts range from free weights to 3 mile runs to cross fit.. Variety keeps the workouts interesting and effective. I love the workouts because they get my body and mind jump started and I feel the positive effects throughout the day. As my family will attest, I am a very different person when I don't workout. Much like the before in a Snickers commercial.
Thanks to Dave Monahan, Kleer!
#20-Dream Big, Then Focus on the Little Things
As an entrepreneur, it's a long, hard burn for most of us to get where we intend to go with our companies. The best days I have are those that start with reminding myself WHY it's so important for me to reach the pinnacle. I imagine what the company will look like in its highest form, doing its best work: who we will serve, the results we will achieve, and the opportunities we will make. And then, I get down to every little step of my day that furthers those big goals. That means being intentional about every conversation, every email, and every bit of work to be done. If you can connect every move you make in your business to those big goals, you are bound to be successful.
Thanks to Trisha Daho, Empowered!
Every morning I take one big problem that I am facing: personally, professionally, or otherwise, and write it down in the simplest, most objective term. I then look at what I have written down and pretend that a stranger had come to me with this problem, and think about the advice I would give them. It is impossible to deal with an issue from within – you need to be able to view it from above (as if you were in a helicopter). When I do this I often find that the solution is very obvious. Solving a problem every morning in this way gives me the energy and confidence to go forth and have a productive day!
Thanks to Joyeeta Das, Gyana!
#22-Master Your To-Do List, Master Your Life
It cannot be understated, but organization is the key to success and sanity in an entrepreneur's life. One key habit every entrepreneur should implement is becoming the master of their to-do list. Start each week with a weekly to-do list reflecting all tasks to accomplish in the week. Then, start and end each day with a daily t-do list pulled from your weekly goals and organized by order of priority. This way you can stay on track to accomplish you weekly goals day by day. Also, by organizing your daily to-do list by priority, you know exactly the next tasks to take on in your day and ensure the most important and most revenue generating tasks are accomplished in your day. This will ensure that you stay on track and work efficiently throughout your day.
Thanks to Ashleigh Stone, Stone Law & Consulting!
#23- Incorporate or form an LLC
It can never be said enough: the best thing you can do for your business is to incorporate or form an LLC. Your legal structure allows you to keep your personal and professional assets separate and protected. It helps you to establish credibility with consumers and to save money on taxes, too.
Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation!
#24- Build relationships
One of the best tips I have ever received as well as given is built relationships. There is a profound impact created by a long-term relationship with peers and other professionals. Those relationships that evolve in mutual respect and recognition tend to impact how your business grows. As the saying goes Your network is your net worth.
Thanks to Kamyar Shah