Ask anyone who knows me, and they’ll tell you I’m full of inspirational advice for entrepreneurs. Now and then, I like to share what I’ve learned here to our blog readers. Hope you find them useful!
The early years are the critical ones. Here’s my advice for surviving those early growing pains.
- Don’t Let Your Emotions Cloud Your Judgment – You will have strong opinions on things that relate to your business, and that’s fine. Just don’t let a bad attitude or anger temper a business decision. You will likely come to regret it.
- Stand Up and Ask for What You Want – Running a business is not for the meek. If you want something — a sale, your employee to step it up, whatever — you won’t get it unless you ask for it. The worst that can happen is you get a “no,” but just think of the possibilities if you get a “yes!”
- Take Your Trials as Blessings Undisguised – My thinking on making mistakes (which you will) is: you can either wallow in them or use them as lessons to move forward. The latter has changed how I do business, and has helped me recover faster when I do make errors in running my business.
- Don’t Be Shy About Asking for Help – You’ve heard the saying “it takes a village…” and that applies to running a business. You can’t do it all on your own, so don’t even try. Help might come in the form of hiring an employee or even asking your kids to file folders. You’re not Superwoman, so build a team that can help you succeed.
- Build a Network of Advisors – This goes with the asking help tip. Having an amazing group of advisors can help you grow your business faster. Look for people with skills in areas where you’re weak, whether that’s marketing, finance, or growth. Meet with them regularly and pick their brains about how you can make smarter decisions for your company.
Five Years In
Once you’ve passed the hard part of starting your business, the advice changes.
- Make Your Business About Your Customer – By now, you’ve probably found your niche and really owned what you do. Take it one step further and put the focus on your customer. It’s not about you and increasing sales; it’s about how you can help customers find solutions to their problems. This shift, you’ll find, will increase customer retention.
- Empower Your Executive Team – You’re not the only person who can make decisions in your company, so make sure your executive or management team feels that you trust them enough to call the shots without you looking over their shoulders.
- Reinvest into Your Business – Profit is great, but what’s better than putting it in your pocket is putting it back into the company. Invest in tools, training, and apps that will help your staff do more and help your business skyrocket.
- Don’t Grow Until You’re Ready – Entrepreneurs assume growth is what every business wants, but in truth, you shouldn’t expand unless you’re mentally, fiscally, and physically ready. Otherwise, your expansion efforts will fall flat and you will run yourself ragged.
- Over Deliver – Your customers have a certain expectation of your brand. Go beyond that and delight them! I truly love hearing from a customer that we went above and beyond. It’s our brand promise.