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Advice And Words Of Wisdom From Successful Entrepreneurs

Knowledge is power, and what better place to get knowledge from than those who have been successful in their ventures?

#1 Invest in people who work for you

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If you do, your organization will grow exponentially faster and your costs will be much lower. Our teams love working for our company and because of that, they provide an outstanding experience for our clients, which in turn, results in higher sales and profit margin.

Contributors: Elena Ledoux from Superb Maids

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#2 Ask your customers what they think

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It’s amazing to me how many people start a business or continue to operate a business without seeking feedback from their customers and potential customers. For us, Facebook has been a great platform to ask questions and get real-time responses. And our fans love it. If I post a photo of one of our ZZZ Bears with a child, I’ll get 50 likes with a couple of comments and shares. If I post a question asking if they’d prefer the bear come with a pillowcase or a drawstring bag, I’ll get literally hundreds of comments.

And the best part is, this kind of interaction builds a connection between our customers and our company. Customers feel invested in our success because they’re contributing to it. This type of research used to cost thousands. Now it’s practically free.

Contributors: Justin Baum from ZZZ Bears

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#3 Do. Then observe patterns

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If you're a budding or hopeful entrepreneur, you just have to start doing. I've watched so many great ideas stay as just that, ideas. You don't know how to approach a particular client. Do it anyways. Scared that you'll mess something up if you make a sale before you're registered for sales tax? Make the sale anyways. You're going to mess up to some degree but you miss 100% of the shots you don't take.

Once you've actually done something enough, then you need to reflect and look at the patterns that you saw. At that point, you finally have enough real information to make decisions. I had never been in sales in my life when I started doing calls for new inquiries. But the patterns showed I was having higher conversion rates. So I kept doing it and then started observing more subtle patterns to make my sales process better. Now we have four people on our sales team and I'm sitting in a hotel room writing this while preparing a pitch for a six-figure deal a year and a half after my first sales call. Because I did. Then we built based on those patterns.

Contributors: Ryan O'Neil from Curate

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#4 Talk to Everyone and Anyone

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You have to make yourself a part of the larger community you're selling to. Tell your story and remember everyone's back-story! Get on social media, talk to fans, talk to competitors, talk to ANYBODY to get noticed. In doing this, we discovered that Perfect Balance World has Uber-Fans who have their own PBW stories! Give people something exciting to buy in to.

Contributors: Carla Berkowitz from Perfect Balance World

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#5 Patience, Perseverance and Persistence

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You need patience as your baby will take time to grow. You cannot produce a baby in a week. You will need to persevere as you are the one driving it and without your moving it, nothing will budge even an inch. You need to stick it out. You need to be persistence as you will face many an obstacle which you would need to overcome and you will need to chip away every day. It is amazing how many successful entrepreneurs have stuck to the task and how many failed entrepreneurs had given up NOT knowing they were only inches from the line that separates success and failure. So keep the 3 Ps in mind.

Contributors: A.Venkatasubramanian from Origin1299 Innovations 

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#6 Don’t quit your day job

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While it's tough in the beginning to balance both jobs, keeping that steady income to re-invest back into your business is extremely helpful. Do it for as long as you can make it work!

Contributors: Brittany Finkle from Happily Ever Borrowed

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#7 Bootstrap is an Option

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You don’t need to raise big investment or seed funding to make your concept happen, Powster is completely bootstrapped and has never taken investment. If your concepts are viable you should be able to generate a profit out the gate. You can take the risk of failure on yourself and it may even motivate you further. The best thing is, that if it does become successful you will own 100% of it. Don’t get caught up in the VC game, just focus on what you need to do to make your concept happen, it doesn’t always have to go through funding. If you get a good enough prototype and prove your concept is profitable then it could be easier to get an investment if it’s required.

Be open and learn from everyone. The moment you think you know it all you’ve stopped learning, and learning is how you progress and keep up with the changing world around you. Everyone you meet has an opportunity to teach you something and help you become better at what you do or be a better person in general, even if it’s teaching you how not to act. It’s never too late to start following the right blogs, and subscribing to the right newsletters and reading the right books. It all adds up and big ideas can come from the smallest places.

Contributors: Ste Thompson from Powster

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#8 Delegate

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I wish I'd known sooner that I could, and SHOULD, delegate the things I wasn't good at and that it would actually save me money in the long run! In fact, it normally ends up making me money. Here are the top 5 things I see that most frequently get in an entrepreneur's way:

  • Working in the business instead of on the business
  • Not blocking out time for critical projects and instead, responding to whatever comes up next
  • Delegation - not delegating enough or delegating without any follow-up or accountability
  • Not having a clear answer to why you?. What makes you different from a competitor?
  • Not being clear on what pain you solve for a prospective client

Contributors: Elene Cafasso from Enerpace, Inc. Executive Coaching 

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#9 Start then adapt

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The best piece of advice I can give is to start before you are ready and then adapt. I've watched too many individuals fail and good ideas stall because someone was striving for perfection before even starting. The only way to get going and perfect your product/service is to start before you're ready and learn along the way. Otherwise, you will become paralyzed, stall, and eventually give up on your good idea. It's impossible to get all of the answers before you start because you won't even know the questions until you uncover them through experience.

Contributors: Kyle Brost from Spark Policy Institute

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#10 Focus on one thing

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If you're going to put time, energy, and resources into a business make sure you are laser-focused on a specific goal and the specific tasks you can do to reach that goal. So many people try to be the jack of all trades and those are businesses that either fail or don't peak because they are all over the place with what they serve or do. Pick an audience, pick a niche and stick with it. And in terms of daily activities, everything you're doing should line up with that one end-goal you have in mind. If not, then leveraging resources to help you focus on what will generate revenue for your business is key.

Contributors: Kim Howard from Howard Homes Chicago 

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#11 Create a Workplace Filled with Intrapreneurs

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We love the aspect of creating intrapreneurs who take a personal interest in their own work. Then they love what they do and their performance and loyalty are even greater for the company. It’s important to create that environment by implementing a strong culture that enforces this. Some ideas are to place employees in a custom job description that uses their gifts and talents, creating a pay-based system that rewards them for the time they put in as well as their performance and giving them recognition for developing innovative ideas or processes.

Contributors: Nikki Carlson from ChicExecs

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#12 Build the Ultimate Community

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You are a constant walking billboard for your business. Be friendly and interested in others, and they will want to know more about you. Support local, and they will want to support you. Build relationships. Be a connector. Promote other people and they will be more apt to spread good things about you. Get out in your community and be impactful.

Contributors: Julie Weldon from O.M.E. Gear

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#13 Take Risks In Order to Grow

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I’ve learned that taking some risks are not just ok, they’re necessary! You can try a strategy and invest in something as a way to grow your business and if it doesn’t work? You can stop! I have really learned that even following steps that ‘experts’ tell you to follow, won’t always work for you so it’s ok to take a risk and consider it learning if it doesn’t work, not a failure.

Contributors: Meredith Miller from Celiac Cutie

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#14 Follow Your Dreams

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Always follow your dreams and don’t say I can’t. Because you can and you will. It might sound cliche but I think most of the time people who believe in following their dreams succeed.

Contributors: Micky Sivapruksa from Flexi Lexi 

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#15 Make sure you have processes and procedures in place

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This is very important for entrepreneurs who want to increase productivity. I also believe in the importance of having a “Do Not Do” list. Make sure your ideas align with your mission statement, and if they don’t, move on. In the beginning, I was the guy that tried to do everything on his own. As I’ve grown, I’ve definitely learned there’s a lot of value in networking and building relationships. The relationships that I’ve formed are what’s opening doors for the future.

Contributors: Darren Schreher from INTO THE AM

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#16 Don’t let criticism & negativity of others affect your dreams

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Starting a business as an entrepreneur is a risky venture. A great amount of time, money, and energy must be invested in your business, and there is the risk that this effort will not lead to success. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone, but for those who have the entrepreneurial spirit are inspired to break out of the mold of the 9-5 and do something that they love. If you feel the call to follow your passion and build a life of your own choosing, you must not get bogged down by the insecurities of others. Believe in yourself, trust in the entrepreneurial process, and don’t let anyone kill your ambition to follow your own path.

Contributors: Erin Paruszewski from Alkalign Studios

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#17 Be prepared for the journey

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Eight years into the entrepreneurial hustle, I’ve learned that entrepreneurship is being on a mission where nothing can stop you. It will take twice as long as you'd hoped, cost exceedingly more than you'd ever budgeted and will be more challenging than anything you'll ever try but if you give it your all and refuse to give up, you can trust it will be the ride of a lifetime. I could be the poster child for the saying, “what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.” No matter what… this has been the most rewarding journey of my life and in the end, I'm going to have a magical story to tell. My advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs is to be brave and follow your instincts. You can't cheat the grind, but if you give it your all, you can trust that the payoff will be worth it.

Contributors: Lori Cheek from Cheekd

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#18 Validate your business model

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Find leaders that have insight into your industry and talk to 100 people that could be your potential target market. Is it a want, a need or a must? Validate your product before you jump into entrepreneurship. 

Contributors: Jamie Blades from Homicity

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#19 Play to your strengths

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Pick a few things you enjoy doing and do them really well. You cannot be everywhere all the time so choose high impact activities that work for you and play to your strengths.

For example, Thought Leadership is a great way to build your brand, increase your visibility more broadly, raise your profile and attract more clients/customers. Activities like speaking at a conference, writing articles, building your following on social media all contribute to increasing your awareness of potential customers and building your credibility with a larger community.

Instead of trying to start your own blog or newsletter, try contributing regularly to existing well-trafficked blogs in your industry or newsletters of like-minded organizations reaching the same target audience as you. Make sure you put your URL or contact info on it so they can find you and follow up. When your articles or talks become available online, make sure to send them out via social media to all your friends, followers and contacts.

Contributors: Paige Arnof-Fenn from Mavens & Moguls

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#20 Biggest Money Mistake To Avoid

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One of the biggest money mistakes to avoid is not spending time pinpointing your target market before getting your business up and running. The toughest business lesson I learned was: don't spend years developing a product that doesn't have a distinct customer base. I wish someone had given us that advice earlier, but maybe it's one of those things you have to learn yourself. You have to feel the pain before you appreciate it. It was difficult to pinpoint our market, as we knew we would never make money off the job seeker. Instead, we went after the broader consumer market. 

Another tough lesson I learned was: don’t depend on anyone else to make your business a success.

Contributors: Ross Cohen from BeenVerified

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Written by Zak Parker

Article Writer, Pianist, Internet Marketing Enthusiast; I delve into a variety of creative mediums and take advantage of what they have to offer. With experience in SEO, Dropshipping, Affiliate Marketing and Advertising, I'm a plethora of general marketing knowledge and enjoy helping those new to the game get their foot through the door. I'm always excited to hear of the latest method, or if the chance presents itself, create my own.

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