There will likely be plenty of people telling you what they think is the ultimate secret to grow your home business, making it tough to discern who you should listen to. So, instead of giving you our opinion of what we believe you should do, this post includes 12 pieces of valuable advice from veterans of business.
When you want to give yourself an edge & improve your ability to operate in any area, you go to the ones who have come before you that learned how to solve some of the problems that you’re going to face. There are also some things that could trip you up as a business owner which you may have never even thought of.
You can decide which of these tips you should keep, and which ones you should throw away. In any case, you’ll find some great wisdom among them that you can use to continue to grow your business. Entrepreneurs can always learn from fellow success seekers like themselves..
1. “The best businesses come from people’s bad personal experiences.” —Richard Branson
Such a true statement. There are numerous entrepreneurs who describe their origin stories as an experience where they encountered a problem that had not been solved, and they seized the opportunity to create a business to solve that problem for people. The immense frustration that results from needing to do something, for which you can’t find the tools to complete it, is a pretty strong motivator to just make those tools, yourself.
If you can simply find something that you need, personally, for which no good solution currently exists, you can create a product that will sell. Obviously, it’s necessary to do real market research to confirm that other people are frustrated by the same thing that you are, but it’s a pretty reliable way to figure out what’s going to sell.
2. “When you really believe in your product, you are willing to deal with all the naysayers and persevere.” —Arianna Huffington
It is absolutely necessary that you believe in your product. If you’re not passionate about what you want to sell, then there’s a good chance that you’ll fold as soon as it gets tough. Your passion for your idea will let you push through adversity, and more than that, it motivates you to innovate and be more creative in the way that you structure the business, as well as the way you develop your product or service because you’ll be more interested in it.
Especially for those entrepreneurs who are breaking new ground with their business, they’re going to face a lot of resistance. For example, if you’re engineering a new product or products that have never been tried, that is not an enviable position to be in because you have to prove to would-be customers that it is something that will help them, find those people in the first place, and work out the product’s kinks, as no company has come before you to work out those issues. To come through all of that resistance, you need to be really driven to keep going in spite of it.
3. “You have 90 seconds, if you’re lucky. If you can’t make your point persuasively in that time, you’ve lost the chance for impact.” —Robert Herjavec
Actually, 90 seconds is kind of a stretch. You should be able to clearly explain your business in a nutshell in about 30 seconds. Any longer than that, and you will start to lose their attention; not to mention the fact that if it takes that long, your product probably isn’t simple enough.
If it’s so complicated that it takes you longer than a minute to describe, consumers most likely won’t get it right away, which means they’re not going to pay for it because they don’t understand it. The elevator pitch is crucial because it could mean the difference between making a sale, closing a deal, securing an investor, and not.
4. “Few people are natural risk-takers or emotionally ready for the challenges of building a business.” —Tony Robbins
As Tony Robbins perfectly explains (as he always does), it’s vitally important to know yourself as you build a business. You may be a conscientious, hard-working planner with a head for business, but if you don’t also have the stomach for risk on a pretty consistent basis, it will soon become very difficult for you.
The emotional tax of running your own business is much higher than most people think. They assume that it will be stressful, of course, but the tough decisions and inherent risk is too much for most people. You have to be prepared for that.
5. “For an idea to get big, it has to be something useful—and being useful doesn’t need funding.” —Derek Sivers
Basically, when you have a truly useful idea that will help a lot of people, they will gravitate to it pretty quickly. What Sivers is saying here is that if your product is something that people can actually use, they’ll start buying it as soon as you release it, which means you’re going to start making money off of your idea right away—which means you won’t need as much funding. Of course, there are exceptions to this.
One problem you can run into is that, even though you have an extremely useful product that people will love, they might not take to it right away just because they don’t understand its value, in which case you’ll need to educate the market. This is yet another reason why you have to do your homework to make sure a lot of people really need what you’re selling.
6. “The easiest way to tell if someone is a first-time entrepreneur is when they’re secretive about their ideas.” —Nir Eyal
This is one of the most foundational points about being an entrepreneur. If you’re worried about some other competing business taking your idea, then you can rest assured that that’s one less thing you need to worry about. Firstly, competition is good because it removes all doubt that there is a market for the product you’re creating.
Secondly, you can learn from what your competitors are doing right, as they will be learning from you. And third, few people will be able to actually execute the idea in the real world and build a profitable, thriving business out of it.
7. “Perfect is a curse. Innovation is messy. Test, learn, and improve.” —Syed Balkhi
In the beginning, you definitely don’t want to wait too long to launch your product or service. We’ve been adamant in this blog about this very point because during the precarious time before you open your new business, a lot can go wrong.
You also most likely have a very limited runway to get it off the ground, which means you can’t get cold feet and keep trying to perfect the product again and again before you finally open. Jump. Take the leap, open your doors, and see how it performs. As you progress and grow, don’t be afraid to make a mess.
Your new ideas that you come up with during the innovation process might not work at first, but you can tweak them as you go. If you’re not moving and taking educated guesses at the best ways to improve your product as you move, then you’re not going to get anywhere.
8. “It’s much smarter to copy a competitor you like, then tweak one or two things that you think will put you over the top.” —Nathan Latka
This means that if you are passionate about a business idea already, on your own, then don’t try to create a business that’s way beyond everything else, unless you’re absolutely sure that it will work (of which you can never really be 100% sure).
Copy what other businesses have gotten right in that field, and tweak it a little. You will take far less risk that way, and you can add your own personal touch later on. Add some differentiator that will set you apart, and do it better than everybody else.
9. “You need to be relentless and work harder than the competition, and even then you will have tough times.” —Steve Rayson
Relentless determination and hard work are second to none while growing your small business. There are a million things that can help you to be successful in growing your business, and it can be a real challenge to figure out what works. To simplify it a bit, just remember two things: 1—You will need to put in a hell of a lot of work to grow your business. 2—That hard work won’t get you very far unless you’re working on the right things.
Just working 16 hours a day is not the magic formula; the key is to pin down exactly what your business needs and then work 16 hours a day on those things (but try not to work 16 hours every day). Another strategy that you can use to get yourself ahead of the game is to succeed where your competitors have failed. Do what they won’t do.
10. “When you try to be the best podcaster, blogger, author, business coach, and event producer all at the same time, you end up being mediocre at all of them.” —Navid Moazzez
Your power is in your focus. This is pretty much self-explanatory, but the basic idea is that business owners tend to do a ton of things all at once. You can’t really blame them; they’re under a lot of pressure. It’s just not an effective way to work. You get a much better result when you concentrate on one or two things at a time.
We all think we can handle anything, but you can really only stay on top of so many big projects for so long because it’s just not physically possible. You’ll end up working for 20 hours a day, which eventually completely destroys you and nothing you do will be effective at that point.
11. “Ideation is the easy and fun part, and execution is the hard and tedious one.” —Tim Soulo
…and execution is the really essential part. Just about everyone on the planet has an idea for an invention or a business, but how many can gather their thoughts into a coherent vision, put together funding for it, figure out how to get it to market, and push through all of the challenges and resistance before they can get the business up and running?
Not many. Not many people are capable or even willing to go through everything required to bring a business idea into successful fruition. Can you figure out how to turn a profit off of your idea?
12. “If you are exhausted and 100% monopolized by work, you won’t have the perspective and insight that you need to guide your venture in the right direction.” —Jen Kessler
The unfortunate, peculiar irony about business owners is that, while they don’t miss much, they often neglect their health, which can be the most detrimental of all and ultimately derail the whole train. First things, first; you have to be healthy and rested to be the most effective in your work.
Additionally, you need to have a life. When you engage in absolutely nothing else outside of work, that puts you in a really negative mental frame. When you carry on like that, it eventually causes the work to suffer, as well. One of the best things you can do for your business is to take care of yourself first.
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.