Advice for new entrepreneurs

Advice For New Entrepreneurs

Jordyn Dahl, a Sr. News Editor, sent an email asking me to share some advice to those looking to start their own business in the shadow of the pandemic. The question got me: “What would you go back and tell yourself if you were starting today?” Ok, here goes some hard-earned experience translated into some advice for new entrepreneurs:

The perfect time to start a business is now!

1. Like many major life decisions, there is no perfect time to start a business. If you’re waiting for some sign, it’s not likely to come. You need to jump in and go for it. Seriously. Decide. It will set you free.

If it’s not in writing, it didn’t happen.

2. Write things down! If something you discussed on the phone or over lunch isn’t summarized or memorialized in an agreement seen and acknowledged by all parties involved, it didn’t happen. Verbal agreements will bite you and hurt you. It’s amazing how people get amnesia or remember things differently as time passes. When I say write it down, I’m not talking about social media posts or SMS Text messages. Come on, man!

Choose excellent over original.

3. Trying to be original over being excellent is expensive and risky. Set your sights on excellence and zero in on proven examples of people and business examples to mimic. There’s no need to blindly travel into the abyss when reliable maps surround you.

Seek out great advisors, not family or friends.

4. Find and recruit great advisors you can learn to trust. But, choose your advisors VERY carefully. For several reasons, family and friends are often not the best choices, but it may be decades before you realize that. Save yourself the grief.

Your behavior establishes your company culture.

5. You and everyone who works with you establish your company culture in the eyes of others. If you and your team are always late, overlook details, fail to listen, communicate poorly, dress like bums, or keep a cluttered workplace, that is how your customers and your suppliers will see you. If you are upbeat, demand timeliness and quality, and look sharp, fast, and responsive, that is how your customers and suppliers see you. Things like respect, trust, ethics, and fairness are hard to nurture and easily lost. Hire people that are 100% and never waiver. Preserving your company’s culture is more difficult with growth. Don’t settle.

You must seek out the best people for your team.

6. The best people aren’t usually looking for a job. So, you must get out and find them. When you find the right people and are sure about them, you need to win them over. Persuade them to join you. Pay attention! Great people hide in plain sight where you least expect to find them! The lady handing you the hot dog at the food truck in the park may be your future VP of Sales 25 years from now.

Stop and smell the flowers regularly.

7. Schedule time to reflect and share with your team. What’s gone well? What could be better? Say, thank you! If you need to close down for a while to share and give thanks, then do it!

Pay attention to opportunities to leverage change.

8. Embrace change as an opportunity. Puzzles worth solving. Pay attention!

Don’t fall into the trap of buying stuff and taking debt.

9. Preserve your Capital! Do without or buy second-hand. Lease if you must. Save your cash. Above all, avoid debt like it’s the plague!

Learn how to measure what matters most and track it.

10. Measure, test, and compare everything you do. For example, know your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

I sincerely hope these things help you as much as they’ve helped me.

Advice is only as good as its source. But trust me when I tell you that acquiring this advice was expensive! If I had known these things early on in my entrepreneurial pursuits, well, let’s just say life would have been much sweeter and much sooner, and many mistakes would have been avoided. In conclusion, one final piece of advice for new entrepreneurs is to go for it! Be smart, set yourself up for success with great advisors, and do your homework, but try to surround yourself with people smarter and better than you whenever possible. Then, let them know how much you appreciate them. Share and grow with them. Pivot when you need to change. You will kick butt! Now, go forth and succeed.



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