Who better to provide advice than the people who’ve been in the trenches? First-time business owners can learn a lot by talking with those who’ve started and run companies for many years.
So, we asked experienced business owners what their top advice for new business owners is. Here’s how they responded:
Don’t sell yourself short
One mistake I’ve seen many beginner entrepreneurs make—and one that I made when I started my photography business—was underestimating my worth. I was so eager to gain new clients and an income that I accepted low-paying jobs, and this made it difficult to ask for higher prices when new clients and projects came through. I was working long hours but earning a part-time income. It was extremely frustrating! Do not sell yourself short. You are worth your time and expertise.
—Doug Ash, founder, Doug Ash Photography, Richmond, Virginia
Focus on less, not more
Don’t try to sell a long list of services or goods. Instead, focus on the one area of expertise or product that you’re really good at. This helps you become known for that and build a reputation for it. For example, when I started I had a long list of consulting services that ranged in price. I wish I had instead narrowed in on sales coaching sooner. As soon as I did, my business exploded.
—Dielle Charon, founder, DielleCharon.com, Raleigh, North Carolina
Talk to everyone and network widely
My biggest advice to new entrepreneurs is to talk to everyone and focus on networking because you never know how someone can help you. For example, shortly after starting my business, I began talking to someone casually during one of my pop-up shops. That person ended up connecting me to organizers of a local golf tournament, where I could hand out my product and sponsor a prize. This was a huge opportunity for my business and helped me break my product into more stores. Furthermore, even if nothing comes out of a conversation, it’s still a learning experience and allows you to home in on your elevator pitch.
—Freddy Bunkers, founder, HyperGo, Oakland, California
Have mentors and a peer group
My top piece of advice for new business owners is to focus on building a strong network of mentors and peers in your industry. By surrounding yourself with experienced professionals, you can gain valuable insights and advice that can help you avoid common pitfalls and accelerate your business growth. In my own experience, I have found that reaching out to other professionals in the trenchless sewer repair industry has allowed me to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and best practices. This has also led to collaboration opportunities, increased referrals, and a stronger reputation within the industry.
—Matt Benton, CEO, Trenchless Information Center, Bradenton, Florida
Invest in customer relationships—and have the right tools
When starting a business, it’s critical to focus on building strong and enduring relationships with your existing customers. Therefore, it’s important to invest in customer relationship management (CRM) systems and data analytics tools. These can help optimize your sales and marketing efforts and deepen your customer relationships— enabling you to make data-driven decisions that increase customer satisfaction.
—Jeff Mains, CEO, Champion Leadership Group, Plano, Texas
If I were to share my top piece of advice for new business owners, it would be this: Embrace and learn from failure. In my experience, starting and running a business involves a series of trials and errors. Not everything you try will work out as planned, and that’s OK. When I first started my landscaping business, there were many instances where things didn’t go as planned. But instead of seeing these as failures, I viewed them as opportunities to learn and improve. This mindset helped me persevere, pivot when necessary, and eventually build a successful business.
—Brian Clayton, co-founder and CEO, GreenPal, Nashville, Tennessee
What’s your best piece of advice for new entrepreneurs? Share your insights in the comments section below!Print this article