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7 Timeless Pieces of Advice for Small Business Owners

March 28th, 2013 ::

7 pieces of advice that lead to successI have been reading a lot about what makes a businessperson successful lately, and the following pieces of advice really struck a chord with me. Of course, many different factors contribute to success, some of which you can control, and some of which you can’t.

One thing you can control is your attitude, and I think attitude plays a big role in success. Here are 7 timeless pieces of advice I always try to follow:

1 – Have a great product first

Before you have a company, you have to have a great product or service that people want. Doing market research is great, but what’s better is getting out there and talking to people. Run your idea by people you trust, potential customers, mentors, and people in the industry. Stay open to their suggestions, and make changes that will improve your product.

2 – Don’t have a back-up plan

I recently read this, though I can’t remember where, but it stuck with me. The premise is that if you have a back-up plan, you won’t go all out to achieve your goal. You’ll start making excuses for why Plan A isn’t working, and then it’s a downward spiral from there. Have one plan, and go for it.

3 – Never judge a book by its cover

CEOs, company founders, venture capitalists, millionaires, royalty, United States Senators – they look like you and I. Just because you don’t recognize the person sitting next to you doesn’t mean they’re not worth knowing. I talk to everyone, and I have met some really cool people simply by reserving judgment.

4 – Be resourceful

Learn to solve problems quickly so you can take advantage of any opportunity when it arises. I have taken on clients even though my roster was full; I simply pulled in contractors to help out.

5 – Be passionate

If you are enthusiastic and passionate about your product or company and project confidence, people will respond. I know a lot of startup founders who are bootstrapping it and making huge sacrifices to launch their company. You know what keeps them motivated? A strong belief in what they are doing.

6 – Focus on what you’re good at

There are two big mistakes any business owner can make: 1) – trying to do everything, even the things you are not good at (I have been guilty of this, which is why I now have a CPA), and 2 – deviating from your core competency rather than being really good at that one thing.

7 – Be honest when you mess up

We all make mistakes; sometimes they’re huge. When the founder of Zipcar realized her pricing was way too low just as they were about to launch, she emailed her customers and told them she had to raise rental fees by 25% or the company wouldn’t survive. She didn’t lose one customer – they all loved the concept and appreciated her honesty.

What other pieces of advice have served you well?

Image courtesy of binauralbrains.com

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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Posted in Entrepreneurship, Small Business | 3 Comments »

  • http://www.cmhproperties.com Charles Mackenzie-Hill

    A very nice article and some very valid points.

    I do have a theory about, (not having a backup plan)

    Although I am not from a military background myself, have read on numerous occasions that
    back up plans are essential. That’s coming from some of best forces in the world. Assume
    nothing as the unexpected in an environment you can’t control can all go very wrong
    very quickly.

    Back up plans surely must be essential, as then one has at least explored the possibility
    of what if- and preempt a solution

  • http://www.cmhproperties.com Charles Mackenzie-Hill

    A very nice article and some very valid points.

    I do have a theory about, (not having a backup plan)

    Although I am not from a military background myself, have read on numerous occasions that
    back up plans are essential. That’s coming from some of best forces in the world. Assume
    nothing as the unexpected in an environment you can’t control can all go very wrong
    very quickly.

    Back up plans surely must be essential, as then one has at least explored the possibility
    of what if- and preempt a solution

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Charles! You make an excellent point. A lot of tech startup founders I talk to say their backup plan – returning to the corporate world – is not an option, which provides them with the motivation to keep going no matter how tough their day might be. No matter what, you have to be flexible and adaptable as an entrepreneur, and I think that’s key to succeeding, whether or not you have a backup plan.