While building my first business, I found myself getting stuck in a rut of frustration and self-doubt. I was so focused on executing my vision that I forgot to consider the people around me who would help guide me through the process. Luckily, there were many mentors around who were willing to take time out of their day to actively support us along our journey. Here are some of their tips for anyone looking for advice on starting up a new business:
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
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This is good advice because it’s easy to feel like you’re on your own in business, especially when you first start out. But the reality is that most people have been there before and will be happy to offer their expertise and experience if asked nicely.
Here are some tips:
- Think about who might have experience in the area where you need help. It could be someone with whom you’ve worked before, or someone who has done something similar in another industry or field of study (for example, if they went through a similar process). The key here is finding someone with knowledge that could guide your decision making–not necessarily just someone who knows how much money goes into every item sold at Wal-Mart every year!
“You are always just one decision away from changing everything.”
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The most important part of being a successful entrepreneur is being decisive. You don’t want to be afraid of making mistakes or learning from them, and you should always be ready for the next decision that could change everything.
You can learn a lot from other people’s mistakes–and even more from your own!
“It takes guts to start a business.”
Says Rohan Gilkes, founder and CEO of social media marketing firm Sprout Social. “You have to believe in yourself and your idea, even if no one else does.”
Gilkes’ advice is echoed by many other entrepreneurs–that confidence is key when it comes to starting up your own company. If you feel like something is possible for you, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
“You can do anything if you believe in yourself,” says Tami Bhaumik, founder of online clothing store ModCloth (which has been featured on Oprah). “Don’t listen when people say ‘no,’ because those people are just wrong!”
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
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We all know the value of asking questions, but there’s a difference between simply asking and actually getting answers that help you move forward. If you want someone else’s advice, it’s important to provide context so they can give you constructive feedback–and if they’re not interested in helping out, then there’s no point in them wasting their time on something they don’t enjoy doing.
The key is knowing how exactly you’ll benefit from asking this person for his/her expertise: Is it because he has experience with similar projects? Does she have connections within your industry that could benefit your business? Or does he simply have access to information about trends that might affect your future plans? Think about whether there are ways for YOU TO RETURN THE FAVOR (i.e., by sharing knowledge from previous projects).
“The best way to get somewhere is to start moving.”
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Says Paul Jarvis, the founder of Designer Hangout and author of the book Chasing Slow. “If you’re afraid or worried about failure or whatever it is that’s holding you back, just take one step forward.”
Jarvis has been running his business for over 10 years now, so he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to success in entrepreneurship. In fact, he credits his initial success with getting started–even though it wasn’t perfect at first: “When I started my business out of my apartment…I didn’t have any money or anything like that but I got a website up and running pretty quickly.”
“People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those doing it.”
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- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Don’t be afraid to take risks.
- Don’t be afraid to fail, and learn from your mistakes so that the next time you try something new, you’ll do it better.
- Don’t be afraid of starting over when necessary–and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise!
We hope these tips were helpful, and that they give you the courage to go out and start your own business. It’s never too late to get started, and there are so many resources available today that make starting up easy–from crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo (where entrepreneurs can raise money for their projects), to free online courses like EdX (which offers free online classes from top universities). With these resources at your disposal, there’s no reason not to take advantage of them!