Owning your own business is a serious undertaking, so it’s best to follow in the footsteps of other successful entrepreneurs who’ve been there. We reached out to seven successful entrepreneurs who shared the best advice they ever received and how it impacted them. We hope it impacts you as well.
“My father always told me, ‘Business is all about the people,’ and that was the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given. What this means is that you have to focus on building strong working relationships over time with the people who work for you, with your suppliers, with your customers. Entrepreneurs are often just great managers and delegators, so building a team of people who you trust and who inspire you are essential. You will not be able to do it all on your own and no great business has ever been built that way, so find talented people and surround yourself with them.
Also, make sure you understand your customers; listen to their complaints as much as you can and work on making your business better for them. That is how businesses grow by focusing on the customer. When it comes to your suppliers, make sure you are always available to them and that you are honest and clear with your expectations of them.
As an entrepreneur and business owner, I’ve always invested my time in building these strong working relationships, and the results show. Employees work harder, are more loyal, and are more passionate about the business. Customers will spread the word and be your biggest sales people. You suppliers will succeed and so will you, and that?s how things should be in a business partnership. TheBathOutlet has grown steadily over the past 5 years because of this simple idea, and I’m glad I was a recipient to this advice very early on in my career.”
“The most valuable advice that I got on my journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur was from my grandfather who has been a huge part of my life and was a true entrepreneur starting many successful businesses. He told me that if the opportunity doesn’t present itself, go find it elsewhere. He said that as entrepreneurs we have to hunt for business. Just like hunters hunt for food, entrepreneurs have to go out there and hunt for opportunities even if the opportunity does not present itself in our face or even if you get turned away. He also told me that if you fail at it don’t look at that failure as a negative and as a road block, but look at it as an opportunity to be seized and a pathway to another opportunity. To this day I value that advice and I strongly feel that it is what’s helped me to become the success I am today.”
“I was told as a teenager that ‘You will always do what’s important to you,’ by a close friend and mentor named Paul. As simple as it sounds, this statement has been really profound for me. There have always been excuses for not starting my business, or moving forward with an idea. At the same time, I’d acknowledge the idea as important to me, yet I’d be inclined to hesitate or not move forward at all.
This piece of advice says that if it’s important, you will do it, and that is 100% true with every aspect of life, including starting my own business. Whenever I have an idea or a passion to do something, I always ask myself why I’m not doing it. The answer is: it’s just not important enough. If it was important enough, I’d be doing it.
This truth has compelled me to be an entrepreneur and to start my own business, because having my own business is important to me.”
Adam Lyons: “Rony Kahan, Founder of Indeed.com talks about the importance of focus and not trying to work on every opportunity that comes across your plate. It’s often very hard for startups to say no, but you need to say no a lot and have a laser focus on one thing at a time.”
Joshua Dziabiak: ‘Learn to say no.’ This piece of advice came from one of my early investors in my first technology startup. When you begin to scope your first product – or in gaining your first bit of traction – there will be a tremendous amount of new ideas, feature requests, or opportunities that comes your way. The challenge is to stay focused. It is better to be the best at one thing than to be decent at many. This will impact the decisions you make and how you spend your time or resources while evolving your product and company.”
“The most valuable advice I ever got was along the lines of: Don’t perform tasks that you can hire out for less than you want to be paid.
I’m not sure where I first heard it, but when I first realized it, it totally changed my perception and launched me into entrepreneurship.
The basic idea is that if you want to be making $100 an hour, then don’t do any tasks, jobs, or work that you can hire someone else for $10 an hour to do. Your value is $100/hr, so you need to focus on doing $100/hr, higher level work.”
“The best business advice I ever got? was from my father:
Build your business to the point where it?s the single best place to park your own money. If you?ve made some money, and other investments look like they?ll deliver a better return than your business, you need to work harder. Either the business needs improving or you lack faith in it. Entrepreneurship is hard enough, so you?d better have a great company that you also believe in fully. The best test of that belief is whether you?d sink even more of your own capital into it.”
You’re next! What’s the best piece of advice you ever received? Share in the comments!
Matt Clark is the Chairman and Co-Founder of Amazing.com, a serial entrepreneur, and investor. He’s been featured on Forbes, CNBC, and Entrepreneur.com.