The Ten Best Business Tips for Entrepreneurs

1 min read
The Ten Best Business Tips for Entrepreneurs

Some of the best personal and professional growth happens when we reach out to others for help. Nowhere is this more true than in the world of entrepreneurship. Your journey as a founder will be (or perhaps already has been) paved with bits of advice gleaned from the individuals who have done it before.

While the best advisors and mentors take the time to tailor their advice to your specific needs, there’s also universal wisdom to be found in their tips. That’s why we’ve collected some of the most impactful advice commonly given by the best mentors here in one place for you to peruse.

Without further ado, here are ten of the best tips for entrepreneurs from world-class startup mentors:

1. Have a Plan

Startups are usually fast-paced environments where speed and flexibility are considered virtues. In this context, it can feel counterproductive to spend a lot of time up front hammering out the perfect business plan.

However, you might be surprised at how much value you get out of creating a comprehensive business plan for your startup at the very outset. Even if you end up making changes later (and you almost certainly will), the lessons you will learn about your industry and the understanding you will develop of your business’s potential trajectory will be well worth it.

2. Find Your Niche

You’ve probably heard about the importance of selecting the right target market. But how do you know which group of customers hold the most potential for your business? Most of the time, you should aim as narrow as possible. The more specific your target niche, the better you will be able to meet that niche’s needs.

Try this exercise to help you find your niche: pick out just a handful of your best clients and drill down into what makes those customer relationships so successful. What specific need does this small, specific group have that your business is successfully meeting? Once you identify it, tailor your product or service offering to focus solely on meeting that need. 

In other words: to speed up growth, don’t cast a wider net. Lean further into whatever customers already love about what you’re doing. 

3. Listen to Your Customers

As you’re looking for your niche, don’t forget that the best metric is your customers’ voices. You will most likely begin the process of developing your startup idea with some preconceived expectations about what problem you will solve and what type of value you will bring to the market. Nevertheless, this initial inspiration needs to be corroborated with actual research into the needs of your customers. Listening to your customers will provide invaluable firsthand insight into your target market’s needs and how you can better solve their problems.

To access customer voices, try hosting focus groups, encouraging early adopters to leave reviews, and engaging with your customer base on social media.

4. Seek Out Formal Mentorship

As you build your company, you will surely have people alongside you who can provide support, such as a cofounder, colleague, or business-savvy friend. However, there is a different kind of value in a formal mentorship that can’t be found in any of these types of relationships.

A formal startup mentor is someone with years of experience in your field, usually as an entrepreneur themselves, but sometimes as an investor or other industry player of some kind. This experience puts them in the unique position to offer firsthand guidance based on what has worked for them — and what hasn’t. 

No matter your goals or industry of choice, you can find the perfect guide to help you unlock your startup’s full potential at Mentorcam.

5. Meet People

Even armed with a mentor’s guidance, hard work alone is not enough to succeed at starting a company; you will need to make connections with people throughout your industry in order to succeed. Making contact with the right investor, supplier, or potential cofounder could be the spark that sets your startup idea alight.

If the thought of standing in front of a room full of investors sounds terrifying right now, don’t worry — there’s a learning curve to networking that every entrepreneur must take at their own pace. Support from a mentor can be an incredible asset as you develop your confidence in this area.

6. Focus on What You Can Give (Not What You Need)

The most successful and long-lasting business partnerships often arise from mutual benefit. When you approach a new potential business partner, don’t lead with what you need from them. Instead, introduce yourself and highlight something you have to offer. This sets a much better tone for the relationship by demonstrating that you are interested in giving as well as taking.

7. Make Your Business Work for You

Building a startup undeniably requires a great deal of hard work. There will likely be times when you need to put in long hours or spend money out of your own pocket. Nonetheless, never forget that you are in control of your business — not the other way around. It is ultimately up to you to make sure you’ve done enough research and prep work to build a business that’s going to be profitable.

In summary, it’s good to be willing to make some short-term sacrifices to help your business over the early hurdles, but don’t confuse hustle with self-detrimental devotion to an idea that isn’t yet viable.

8. Forget About “Perfect”

It’s natural to get an idea in your head of the “perfect business” and then strive to see that vision through — in fact, that motivation is invaluable for an entrepreneur. However, don’t let yourself become so attached to a hyper-specific ideal that you let it bog down your progress. 

Startups are messy. There’s no getting around that fact. Once you’ve completed the research and validation stage and you’re ready to put your plan into motion, allow yourself to be flexible. Expect to run into obstacles that require you to change up your plans and be prepared to press on in the face of less-than-perfection.

9. Look Two Steps Ahead

Building a startup is all about the big picture. There will be countless day-to-day tasks to manage, but it’s vital to be able to step back and assess your venture from a bird’s-eye view. The most strategically impactful decisions aren’t based solely on where your startup is at today, but also where you want (and don’t want) it to be at in a week, a month, or a year.

10. Never Stop Growing

You and your co-founders are the most important component in your startup’s odds of success or failure (which is why the quality of the founding team is one of the first factors potential investors consider). This makes it crucial to continue to invest in your own growth by actively seeking out professional learning opportunities. You’ll encounter many opportunities for growth simply by nature of running a startup, but it takes a dedicated growth mindset to recognize and seize these opportunities on a daily basis.

You can expedite your professional growth as an entrepreneur if you have a seasoned expert to guide you. Mentorcam can connect you with a qualified mentor who can share more tips like these tailored to your exact needs.

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Chris Yeh

Chris Yeh

Partner - Blitzscaling Ventures
Co-Author of Blitzscaling

Blitzscaling Ventures
Harvard Business School

Chris Yeh is a writer, investor, and entrepreneur who has been in the world of startups and scale-ups since 1995. Co-author of the bestselling book Blitzscaling together with LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, Chris offers advice and mentorship on on how to build and scale your business. Hundreds of companies, from garage-dwelling startups to Fortune 50 titans have tapped his knowledge and insights to accelerate and transform their businesses. As the Founding Partner of Blitzscaling Ventures, he helps founders rapidly scale their companies, fundraise and figure out how to crack new markets. Prior to his investing journey, he was the CMO of Target, and started his career as a PM at D.E. Shaw in the 90s.

NYT bestseller
CMO Target
Venture Capitalist
Harvard MBA
Blitzscaling Academy
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Itay Forer

Itay Forer

Co-Founder - Cleanly
Y Combinator Alum

Initialized Capital

Itay Forer co-founded Cleanly, an on-demand laundry & dry cleaning service backed by YCombinator (W15), Initialized Capital, Soma Capital, Paul Buchheit (creator of Gmail), and NFL legend Joe Montana. He is a serial entrepreneur, board member, mentor/coach, and active angel investor who has built a startup from the ground up to a 400+ person workforce. Specializes in PMF and scaling companies from 0 to 10. As a mentor & coach, he has helped over 300 founders realize their full potential.

Y Combinator alum
GTM strategy
Building sales team
Finding PMF
Scaling startups
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Dan Bauer

Dan Bauer

President - Bauer & Associates Inc.
Marketing and Strategy Expert

Harvard Business School
MBA Exchange

Described as a "creative dynamo" by Inc. Magazine. A recognized expert in marketing and entrepreneurship, Dan Bauer founded The MBA Exchange education and career advisory firm ranked among the Inc. 5000. Since then, as head of Bauer & Associates, he has delivered high-impact, marketing guidance to clients ranging from Fortune 100 to startups in 30+ industries. Previously, he was SVP of Global Debit Marketing & Sales for MasterCard International and as VP of National Marketing for Citicorp. His career includes account management at DDB Needham and Ketchum Advertising. Bauer earned an MBA from Harvard Business School in general management and marketing. He ranked in the top 15% of his class in industry and competitive analysis.

SVP MasterCard
VP Citibank
Inc. 5000
Harvard MBA
Board Member MonogramGroup
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