7 Essential Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs are problems solvers. The first challenge they face is getting their arms wrapped around their own projects. Luckily, many successful people are willing to share their own stories and tips. They remember their early days in business when there seemed to be an overwhelming number of details to consider. If you’re ready to embark on an entrepreneurial journey, learn from the successes (and failures) of those who have gone before you.

1. Manage Distractions and Focus

Find your focus and stay there. When you have a great idea, let it grow and evolve but keep it within a narrow scope, so that it can be implemented. When you spread yourself too thin, you increase your chances of failure.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has a passion for improving the living conditions of people in third-world countries. This can be an overwhelming goal. So they started with something simple. Their first step was the design of a better toilet. Find your niche and focus, just as they did. There will always be follow-up projects.

2. Surround Yourself with Wisdom

Your growth as an entrepreneur comes from your academic learning and personal experiences. It can also be fostered by the experiences of others. Don’t try to expand in a vacuum. You’ll have a slanted perspective of things that won’t allow you to grow personally and professionally.

Find the entrepreneurs in your field and get their stories. Visit with the business people in your community. You don’t have to live right next door to Warren Buffet to have a mentor. Wisdom may come from those who have gone before us. Marc Allen, a successful publisher and speaker, was inspired to change his life by a quote from the 1937 book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill.

3. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Learn how to prioritize your time. Make a list of the supplies you need to get together for your business. Applying for a new business credit card might take some research to get the best deal — especially if will be used frequently for purchases. Spending hours designing a new business logo might sound awesome and fun, but may not be the best use of your time in the early stages of your endeavor.

Improvements can always come later as you narrow in on the kind of image you want your company to have. In the meantime, your energy will be focused on your mission and goal. Many businesses that have failed own boxes of professionally designed business cards sitting in their storeroom.

4. Have a Clear Message

An important place to put your energy is creating a compelling message about your company. This is sometimes referred to as your elevator pitch. You will want to tell everyone about your company and ideas, but not everyone will stand there for hours as you talk. Learn to talk about your business in just a few seconds in a way that draws people into asking questions and seeking out more information from you.

A good pitch is concise, truthful and to the point about what problem you will solve. If people aren’t excited after hearing just a few sentences from you, then it’s time to modify your message.

5. Network

An entrepreneur is always meeting new people and making contacts. In this age of technology, that means knowing how to get the most out of your social networks. You will need a basic understanding of SEO, especially as it relates to social media.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest all have a role in your success. Learn how to work with each one effectively and what kind of message work best with each. Every contact you make is a potential resource that can help you be successful. Build your network of contacts early. A large following pays off later when you release your initial product or service, or during an IPO.

6. Know Where You Are

Always know the status of the company and where you are on your schedules. Anticipate problems and delays. Don’t let yourself be surprised. The last thing your investors want to hear is an unexpected delay that you have not yet addressed. Everyone expects the unexpected. The true entrepreneur has a variety of contingencies in mind the moment there is such a challenge. This is the kind of confidence that the supporters of your business want to see in you.

7. Keep Looking for Business Tips You Can Use

These are just a few of the hundreds of tips available to a new entrepreneur. Research new tips to add to your catalog of good ideas. Keep growing and moving forward with them. Don’t forget to give something back by adding your own success tips into that pool of wisdom.

Author Bio: James Carson

James got his business degree at an Ivy League school. He’s spending his summer on the East Coast writing about small business news.