As an entrepreneur myself, I’ve painstakingly and after a million mistakes and neglects, learned the importance of heeding the best business advice from the top entrepreneurs who actually survived the battle. The bottom line: It takes your everything to start a business, to keep it running, and grow it to profitability. Today, I am going to be sharing some really insightful pieces of business advice from entrepreneurs who started out from nothing and eventually emerged triumphant.
1. Surround Yourself With All The Right People
The couple duo behind Backdrop, a startup reimagining the extremely antiquated process of painting your home, had to fight many battles to stay afloat in the market. The biggest thing they learned in their start up journey is the importance of surrounding yourself with the most talented people, instead of trying to juggle all the balls alone.
Having ventured into entrepreneurship with an infant daughter is a testament to their commitment and dedication to their vision. They soon partnered with world-class talent to help build their website and brand and sought advisors from some of the best direct-to-consumer brands of the time. Their secret drives from a firm belief in the problem they were solving and the opportunity it provided, a passion for Backdrop, and support of some of the most talented and resourceful people they could muster.
2. Reward People To Promote A Culture Of Longevity
Willie Litvack, CEO and co-founder of SquadUP, a mobile-first audience engagement, event management, and ticketing platform, focuses on longevity far more than anything. Once he embarked on the long path of entrepreneurship, he saw how easy it was to feel fatigued and want to give up. This is why he aspired to build a culture for employees where they don’t get burned out, no matter how hard they worked.
Their strategy was to put together an integrated set of practices and policies where employees can be themselves and feel comfortable doing things like working from home, taking a vacation, and feeling supported and important.
Not only that, Willie makes sure his employees are rewarded amply. Every employee undergoes a performance evaluation by their manager and is compensated either bi-annually or annually. The company knows that it succeeds through their employees, and they share their success through promotions, salary raises, and bonuses. This is by where the best business advice I have come across.
3. Essentials Of Team Building
Paul Kats, CEO of Los Angeles-based Vyng, a video caller ID app that lets you set the video your friends see when you call them, talks about the challenges of working with a global team. Cultural and language differences and having to work with different time zones and physical spaces, poses great difficulty.
In order to get a global team to get to know each other and get along, they planned a two-week retreat where the entire company met up in Indonesia where they co-lived and worked together for a while. While there, Paul planned many emotional intelligence and team-building exercises, recommitted to the company’s core valued, bonded over white water rafting. This nurtured a shared sense of purpose, gave birth to a sense of unity, and focused on starting better conversations.
4. Take Care Of Yourself
Max, the Founder and CEO of the keto-friendly meal replacement shake brand Bear Powerfoods, exerts a great emphasis on self-care. Afterall, until you take care of your body, mind, and health, you can’t truly succeed in the long run. Here’s his four components of self-care:
- Sleep. The time when your brain and body recover. Getting at least seven hours of sleep is essential for the body, eight for individuals who work out, since their bodies need a higher recovery time.
- Some form of movement, especially exercise, is a must. For instance, Max wakes up super early around 5, and hits the gym. This pumps his body with endorphins, so that by the time he reaches work by 8, he is ready to be the best version of himself, due to all the “dopamine flooding through his brain.”
- Nutrition comes next. What you put in your body all day defines your efficiency and moods through the day. Make sure you’re getting all your minerals, vitamins, probiotics, healthy fats and the MCTs to refuel yourself.
- Last, but not the least, comes mental training. There are a plethora of tools and techniques which you can use to reframe your mind. Every time you find yourself falling into a rut, you train your mind to turn it around. Start by practicing gratitude. Every morning before getting out of bed, think about the three things you are thankful for. There’s deep-rooted research behind this practice. Instead of feeling the rush to get things done first thing in the morning, this habit helps you live in the moment and be happy. As for meditation, Max takes two minutes every couple of hours to just close his eyes, draw deep breaths, wiggle his toes, and feel the sensations coursing through his body. He says this keeps him rooted to the spot. When you are drowned in a sea of information overload, you need something to keep you anchored to the present.
When you combine all those things, you’re always going to have the energy to overcome mental obstacles and emotional hurdles that come in your way.
5. Love What You Do
Jacob Dockery, CEO of MidWest Tees, lives by a particular quote which says, “You will face your greatest opposition when you are closest to your biggest miracle.” This helps him resist the temptation to give up, even if he knows it is going to be a bad pitch or a bad design. What he does is to take a step back, view the problem with a fresh pair of eyes, and looks for a new point of attack. The minute you stop believing in your product or business, or lose your passion or focus, it is hard to get it back. According to Jack, “You have to love what you do because as an entrepreneur, you will work on this business every minute of every day.”
6. Provide Value
Adam Ross, the co-founder and CEO of Heyday, a facial shop that wants to integrate facial into your daily life, says that in order for your start-up to make waves, you have got to have an executable solution to real a problem. Stay alert for the gaps in the market and seek ways to fill them up. When you are passionate about your idea and know how to communicate it to others in a way that feels unique and inspired, you sell a story that stays in their mind for a long time.
Don’t fall in love with your business idea. Instead, focus on the problem you’re trying to solve for your customers, and scrutinize your business idea early on to ascertain if the problem you are looking to solve is worth solving.
Here’s Derek Sivers business advice,
“For an idea to get big, it has to be something useful–and being useful doesn’t need funding. If you want to be useful, you can always start right now with just 1% of what you have in your grand vision. It’ll be a humble prototype of your grand vision, but you’ll be in the game. You’ll be ahead of the rest because you actually started, when others waited for the finish line to magically appear at the starting line.”.
7. Be A Leader
We couldn’t help admire the leadership qualities of Michael Barlow, Co-founder and CEO of Fernish, a lifestyle subscription service for the home. As a former NCAA athlete, he knows that sports are all about improvement, trust, and teamwork. He accomplished the same in his professional setting through a powerful duo of transformational and democratic. He sets measurable goals as a motivational tool since it leads to employees taking pride in their work and drives professional growth. Instead of taking decisions in a vacuum, he builds consensus around a path forward.
Michael knows that each person he works with is different: different reasons for working, unique skill sets, separate motivation, and poles apart personalities. He never treats two people the same. As the company grows and you have employees than you can deal, it’s natural to want to take a shortcut when dealing with employees. However, it is in times like these that we remember that there are no shortcuts when it comes to staff retention and leadership. One-on-one attention is they key.
He is more bent on empowering others by helping those under him find their own solutions, instead of asking them to follow along in his wake. He does that by guiding people to craft their own benchmarks, plans and strategies. Employees are more motivated when they are allowed to take their own decisions and craft their own paths.
8. Be The Change
Andrew Zenoff, the owner of BEAM Authentic, a new kind of wearable that displays logos, text, and image that you can control with an app, keeps reminding himself to be the change, and take charge of making things happen, one step at a time.
While, all of us do rely on others from time to time, he says that it all comes down to our own actions and intentions in the end; how we manifest and create our destinies and paths. He never ceases to take action to change things. He says that even when you don’t know what to do, just pick a path and embark on it. Who knows what door the path will lead to.
9. Learn From Users
Conrad Wadowski, founder of GrowHack, an email subscription Service, says that one of the most painful mistakes first-time entrepreneurs make is concentrating too much on building product and marketing it, instead of learning from users to see how their product is received. There usually isn’t much risk in building software, when you are bringing a new product to market, the stakes are high.
You need to Learn how users interact with your product. A few ways to do this include building an audience while or before you build or keeping in constant communication with sample audience. This isn’t a piece of cake, he admits, but once you find out which type of user you want to optimize toward, the rest will flow easy downhill.
10. The Best Business Advice: Be Resilient
Creating a company is hard work, which is why most startups fall through in the first five years. Resilience is one trait that entrepreneurs need above the rest. You need to work harder than the competition and stay resilient even in the face of adversity. For this, his business advice preaches the merits of having multiple co-founders in a company, so that you are not alone, and have someone to share the load, offer support, and reflect on your decisions. It’s not impossible to be a single founder, but having a strong team helps you stay put.