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When you’re starting a new business, there are a lot of priorities to juggle and a lot of learning curves to overcome. Maybe you’re great at marketing, but need to work on your finance skills. Maybe you have enough capital but aren’t sure where to begin with production.
Learning from others who have been through this process is one of the greatest tools to use to your advantage as a new entrepreneur. Here, eight Young Entrepreneur Council members each share the one piece of business advice they received as a new entrepreneur that most impacted their entrepreneurial journey.
Young Entrepreneur Council members share the best advice they’ve ever received.
Photos courtesy of the individual members.
1. Develop Broad Expertise In Critical Areas
The best piece of advice I received was to think of startups as a career. When starting a business, there are so many things you need to learn. Instead of trying to become an expert in every area of your business, entrepreneurs should strive to master a few critical areas and then recruit help in areas in which they are weak. Fundamentally, starting a company is different from having a job. Normally when you have a traditional job, you are expected to develop deep expertise in one particular area around your job function. Entrepreneurship is on the other end of the spectrum. Instead of needing deep expertise around a job function, your goal is to develop broad expertise across the critical aspects of your business. This way of thinking fundamentally changed my mindset as an entrepreneur. – Arian Radmand, IgnitePost
2. Go With Your Gut
The best advice I received was, “Go with your gut.” This has really helped me in making winning decisions. When I am not sure about certain business initiatives or campaigns, I always go with the gut over the mind. My gut has helped me predict good and bad outcomes as well. – Piyush Jain, Simpalm
3. Never Be Afraid Of Failure
The most key piece of advice I received was to never shy away from failure, as it is a stepping stone to success. This has shaped my entire journey. When I was younger, this meant constantly trying new ideas, doubling down on those that worked and quickly moving on from those that failed. As I continued to find success in my youth, this also meant being willing to constantly expand my horizons and aim bigger, even if most attempts to move up in an industry would fail. In my mid to late 20s, this meant hanging on when my world felt like it was falling apart. In my early 30s, it meant having the conviction to double down even when no one believed in me anymore. So here I stand today in my early 30s, more successful than ever, with one thought in mind: Never shy away from failure. – Fehzan Ali, Adscend Media LLC
4. Moderate How Much You’re Taking On
I looked for advice wherever and whenever I could get it, and I would encourage that in all new entrepreneurs, but the piece of advice that stands out to me is to moderate how much I take on at once. Burnout is real, and it will kill your brand quicker than any losses ever will. This has affected my journey as it has allowed me to maintain continuous growth, even if the numbers themselves haven’t changed significantly. There is this misconception in the world of business that growth exclusively refers to your profits increasing exponentially year over year. This isn’t the case. Growth includes learning more about your brand, your clientele and yourself. It isn’t all a numbers game. – Nick Venditti, StitchGolf
5. Keep Your Head Down
In the beginning, a mentor told me, “Keep your head down.” At first I thought that meant to stay humble, but what she actually meant was, “Work hard and keep your head down, using pen to paper to hustle.” That worked for me the first few years because I recall Friday nights as a young, single woman living in San Francisco when my friends would make fun of me for being in the office so late and I would think, “Keep your head down.” I would work a little harder and meet them at the bar or club a little later to let loose and have some balance. Those extra few hours of discipline paid off and now I have the financial stability and freedom to truly enjoy life. – Givelle Lamano, Lamano Law Office
6. Look At Mistakes As Opportunities To Learn
If I had to pick one piece of meaningful advice I received as a new business owner, it would be this: “Look at mistakes as learning experiences, not inconveniences.” The truth is, we all make mistakes. Instead of letting these instances define who you are in a negative way, use them to grow personally and professionally. This piece of advice affected my career because it helped me squash self-doubt, which notoriously affects young entrepreneurs. – John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC
7. Spend More Time Reading Reviews
It changed the course of my business when a mentor told me I needed to spend more time reading reviews. I figured the feedback was mainly for social proof—which worked!—but it turned out I was missing another critical aspect of customer reviews: growth opportunities. Your audience will gladly tell you what they love about your product and what they don’t. If you’re willing to tap into this data, you can discover new ways to improve your business, develop your products and connect with new customers. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC
8. Remember Every ‘No’ Is A Step Toward A ‘Yes’
When I first started my journey as an entrepreneur, my mentor told me that, in business, every “no” is one step closer to a “yes.” I believe this mentality helped me make it through my first two years of mediocre sales and engagement. I knew if I kept pushing myself and connecting with people (both customers and potential business partners) who could genuinely benefit from what I had to offer, more people would start saying “yes.” Eventually, they did. I think all new business owners need this same kind of mentality and drive if they want to get past the slow startup years and find success. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights