How To Start A Business + 67 Entrepreneurs Share Their Business Advice

August 18, 2021
Authored by:
Alisha Shibli

Are you thinking of starting a small business at home?

The secret to success when starting a small business from home is this:

Be passionate about your work and enjoy the process of building a business from the ground up.

Starting a small business at home can give you the flexibility to choose your projects, design your day, prioritize your time, and in all this process, make a living. While this may sound glorious, building a business rarely is. Be it big or small, a business demands an unrelenting focus, long-term commitment, and a clear understanding of the kind and amount of work involved.

To start a small business at home with a solid foundation and guaranteed earning potential, you’ll first have to invest your time and resources into it. That starts with identifying what the right business is for you and creating a plan for it.

The eight steps mentioned below will give you a headstart.

Step 1. Understand Yourself And Your Passion

Start by brainstorming a list of ideas and activities you like doing, good at, and demand in the market. Your talent forms the foundation of your business, even if it is a small business at home.

Start by assessing your personality traits. Are you:

  • Detail-oriented?
  • Data-focused?
  • Creative?
  • Persistent?
  • A quick learner?
  • A great speaker?
  • Influential?

Your talent is closely related to your personality traits, and it also determines if you have what it takes to build a business. For example, some common characteristics of most successful business owners are that they are:

  • Open to different experiences
  • Self-reliant
  • Committed and persistent
  • Comfortable taking risks
  • Self-starters

Start by doing an honest assessment of your personality and talents to understand if you can build a business and then explore what that business will be about.

Step 2. Get Down To Research

Once you have a fair idea of what your business will be about, start doing your research. Study your potential market and see if there’s an audience for your product/service.

The way to do this is to do a bit of possible target audience profiling. Your market research should give you an idea of just how many consumers exist in your selected niche.

There’s a high probability that the idea you’ve chosen is not novel. It likely already exists in the market. So, use your research to study more about it to have all the details needed to build your business plan.

The more thorough your research, the more you’ll be able to tell if your new venture is worth giving a shot or if you should explore other ideas. If you’re starting a small business from a US home, you should explore the US Census Bureau to learn more about different categories’ demographics.

Step 3. Determine If Your Idea Is Suited For A Home Business

Some business ideas are great, but not all of them can be operated from home. Starting a small business at home requires looking at various factors such as your location, family, home environment, legal restrictions, zone laws, licensing, work style, and more.

For example, you might not be able to start a manufacturing business from home. Similarly, if your business demands many clients coming and going, then having a home office may not be the most practical choice.

Your small business idea must check these two boxes:

  • You can efficiently operate from home without needing a separate workspace, or you have ample space in your home to set aside for the business.
  • The majority of your work can be done from home and doesn’t require customers to visit you in person much.

This should ideally further narrow down your list of business ideas that are practical for you to start at home.

Step 4. Decide On The Legal Structure

Choosing the right legal structure is fundamental for your new business. Essentially, there are three ways to go about this: a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a limited liability company (LLC).

If you want to get started on your business as soon as possible with little to no hassle, a sole proprietorship may be the best choice for you.

With this structure, you are in complete control of all your business decisions— something you will not attain in a partnership model. 

A partnership structure entails you operating the business with (at least) another person.

Though you may not be in full control of the direction of your business, a partnership is financially convenient because you have shared responsibilities of any debts or expenses that your business may incur.

Strikingly different from the two is a limited liability company (LLC), where there is a legal separation between you and your business. This structure is a more flexible route. However, you must file your business with the state and take care of the endless paperwork.

You can determine which of the three best suits your new company by understanding your business model and how you ideally want to operate in a work setting.

Step 5. Estimate Your Rough Profit

Profit happens to be one of the core reasons why most people start a business. Having the best talent and skills is excellent, but if no one is willing to pay for it, you don’t have a business.

For each idea that you have, ask the following questions:

  • How much will people be willing to pay for your product/service?
  • Will I be able to make sufficient income from this?

For example, suppose you want to start a bakery business from home. Considering the time involved, let’s say you’re only able to bake one perfect cake in a day, but you find out that people are willing to pay up to $80 for each cake. That produces revenue of $2400 per month (considering you’re selling a cake every day), minus the expenses related to baking material and advertising.

If your objective is to have a side income, this can be fantastic. However, if you want to make a living from this business, you may want to look at more significant numbers.

Businesses often demand time and resources before they start generating profit. Be mindful of this and give yourself a window of time when you create that your business won’t be profitable. However, at some point, you’d want to meet your profit goals to call your home business a success.

Start by determining your minimum monthly income requirements and evaluate your business idea keeping that number in mind.

Step 6. Write Your Business Plan

The primary objective of creating a business plan is to put all your thoughts and ideas on paper and confirm that your business can. Once you’re convinced that you want to start a small business at home and you have your vision, write a business plan that includes the following:

  • A summary of your what your idea is
  • Your research findings
  • A detailed description of your ideal customer (buyer persona)
  • Your advertising and marketing strategy
  • Breakdown of your finances
  • Plan of operation

The thinking and research you do while writing your business plan will help you further refine your idea and ensure that you have all the right tools and a robust program to launch your idea into the market successfully.

Step 7. Set Up A Home Office

You’re almost at the finish line, but there’s an essential factor you must consider before you allow your business to take off. A 2017 study showed that there is a significant correlation between job performance and a proper work environment.

Your physical environment massively affects the efficiency of your company. Now, since you are setting up a new business from home, you want to make sure that it is a setting that allows for productivity.

Working in spaces of a house designated for other purposes (like a bedroom or the den) may work in the short term, but it does not allow long-term success. Chances are, you will encounter distractions. This leads to your divided attention, and you may not end up working the way you need to.

Having a home office, a place that is just about work and constructive efforts, can make all the difference as you begin your new journey. Even menial or small tasks feel a little bit more substantial in a home office.

Step 8. Take The First Steps

After all the analysis, research, and planning, it’s time to implement your plan. This may seem a tad overwhelming, which is why the best way to start your small business is by building your brand foundation. This involves:

  • Coming up with a great business name: If you already have a name in mind, great! Look for the domain name and get started. If not, you can try out various brand name generators to explore some name options.
  • Create your logo: A business is incomplete without a great logo. After all, your logo is your business’s visual identity. For someone who’s starting a small business at home, you can explore various top-of-the-line logo makers to come up with your business logo.
  • Build your website: There are various website builders out there, such as Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress, where you can set up a simple website and start with your business.

67 Small Business Owners Share Their Secret On How To Start A Small Business

Starting and building a business is no bed of roses. You start with a lot of enthusiasm and gusto only to realise that the journey is a lot more complicated and tough than you'd anticipated. In times of confusion and despair, one of the best ways forward is to listen to people who've been there, done that.

We have curated contributions from 67 top entrepreneurs and business professionals on what are some of the most important things you need to know before starting a business.

Let's dive in!

Eugene Gamble

Most people put off launching an idea or wait until they have the 'perfect' offer in place. The reality is that it is better to get the product or service launched quickly and then tweak it as you go. Apple didn't wait until they had the perfect phone. They went to market with an acceptable product and have since evolved the product to the point it is almost unrecognizable to the first generation they sold. Waiting for perfect leads to procrastination.

Robert Moses

There are so many benefits to starting your own business, including the ability to work for yourself and to be a master of your own destiny. However, starting your own business can be a grueling affair. You will be responsible for all aspects of the business and will be the main point of contact for every question or issue.

However, the success of the business will be yours alone and will be more satisfying than anything else. When starting a business, be sure to have a good support team around you. This includes family and friends who you can lean on for advice and support you when things get tough.

Jesse Russell

The tip that meant the most to me as I started my own business was to leverage my existing brand into creating a business presence. Rather than thinking of starting a business as creating something all-new, it is helpful to think about it as an extension of all the work you have done in the past to build a reputation, an online presence, a broad and diverse network, and a trusted identity.

Businesses strive to create goodwill, so if you can amplify the goodwill you have already created into goodwill for your business, then you will giving yourself a head start. Take the time to inventory your brand, your social networks, your online voice, your subject matter expertise, and what you are known for. Then take the inventory of your brand assets and build your business brand directly on them.

Marc Andre

If possible, I would encourage new business owners to hold on to a full-time job for a while, until their new business takes off. If you have a full-time job and you're starting a business, the first thing that usually comes to mind is quitting your job in order to pursue your business.

Many types of businesses, especially online businesses, can be started and grown part-time. Holding on to a full-time job for a while will reduce financial risk, allow you to have more patience, and reduce stress.

James Canzanella

One of the best podcasts that I constantly listen to would have to be Rewire by Ryan Stewman. This podcast certainly isn't for everyone, and that's one of the biggest reasons why I love listening to it so much. This podcast is raw and straight-to-the-point, but very helpful when it comes to improving almost every area of your life (especially business).

Jayson DeMers

Build a support network. Starting a business is full of challenges and failures; to get through it and achieve success, you're going to need to be resilient and comfortable with accepting failure at times. You're going to need to learn how to adapt, revise your strategy, and continue pushing forward.

Having a support network is crucial for this process. Whether its friends, family, colleagues or a mentor, surround yourself with support from people who truly care about your well-being. Remember, failure is just a step toward success.

Kassy Killey

People tend to think marketing is about advertising, using discounts, posting on social media, and maybe having a website. But when you are just getting started your most important marketing tool is the people you know. While you can be successful without a good network, knowing people, especially the right people in your target audience or those who are connected to your ideal customer, will give you that initial boost and momentum to get started and help increase the effectiveness of all of your marketing efforts. 

Don’t hesitate to get out in the community and talk to people, build connections, and let them know what you’re doing to get some buzz going organically. I’ve found that personal relationships are a key ingredient in the marketing mix of successful businesses.

Having a well-rounded marketing plan that includes using a variety of marketing channels, such as SEO, social media, email marketing, publicity, event marketing, etc. is important too. You need to have brand strategy and awareness out there to supplement and encourage word-of-mouth marketing.

Relying on personal connections alone can take time to build up, but the bigger your network of friends, family, and all your other personal connections, the faster you can grow. So get out there networking, volunteering, and attending events where you get a chance to connect and build relationships with your audience. And let your passions for your business shine!

Let them feel the excitement and energy. It’s contagious! Finding influencers and those well-connected among your ideal customers is going to be even more beneficial. But don’t try to use them to build your business. Take the time to build real friendships or partnerships with these people. Real connections are what matter for our soul and for our business.

Alex Kurkowski

The little things are the big things, and they definitely pile up. Find individuals with contrasting skills and leverage their knowledge and experience as much as possible. For example: If you are a sales/marketing guru but lack the technical skills or legal knowledge then go out and find 2-3 advisors that you can leverage to grow your brand faster and more efficiently. Like everything else, it seems, it's always a lot more challenging than you think.

Scott Hirsch

Before starting your business, the first thing you need to do is pinpoint what your market is and how your idea or product might change your field. There is likely no shortage of great ideas in your field - only a shortage of people brave enough to give them life - so it is imperative that your idea be as specific to your market as possible.

Ask yourself: How does my idea stand out compared to what exists already and how will my industry benefit from the change it introduces? Then, you need to do a SWOT analysis of your idea. It's a process used to analyze what tools you have that will lead to success and what obstacles stand in your way.

For some, it is tempting to focus on either the positive or negative, but failing to take in the whole picture is a recipe for failure. While it is often difficult to honestly face your weaknesses, an audit of the full SWOT picture is necessary to prepare you for the circumstances you will inevitably face as you start your business. When you've done these two exercises, you're ready to start your journey.

Just be sure that you're not trying to do it alone. Find a mentor and build a team of supporters who can fill in the blanks where your skills might be lacking (such as finance/accounting or marketing, for example).

Eric Nerhood

Earn money while you build your new business. As a new business owner, it will take some time to earn a steady income. Keep your day job and work on the business during off-hours so you can earn money during the first stages which are typically the most challenging times. It is difficult to live without money for very long and it may be a long time before your new business actually starts making any profit.

Starting a successful new business is a process. Being employed while you're starting a new business means the money in your pocket while you're going through the start-up process. Build your business in stages and you will gradually start earning a steady income. Once you have a steady inflow of cash from your company, you can quit your nine-to-five job and handle business ownership full time.

Kyle Theil

Do not forget about marketing your business. Run small and lean during the initial grind to enable room in your budget to gain customers, leads, and branding. We see it all the time with clients, they spend their entire budget renovating their storefront, buying inventory, or creating their image that they have no money left to bring customers in the door over the first few years of business.

Robin Young

My top tip for anyone starting a business is to hire freelancers to help with jobs you don't have experience with. Not only will this help you tackle tasks you are not confident with, but you can make huge savings. Our local accountancy firms were quoting us £1,500 to prepare our accounts). We are only a small business, with not much for them to take care of. We hired a chartered accountant online for £150.

We've had great success hiring designers, email marketers, content writers, and much more on popular freelance websites. The only jobs we really had issues with were web developers. My advice here is to ensure you know exactly what you need from a web developer before you hire them and make sure they have completed similar jobs before hiring.

George Willison

I started a business a little over a year ago and getting going has been more difficult than I thought. I'm finally getting some traction and have a number of things in the process that I believe will be successful.

My Top Tips Before Starting Out are these 4:

1. Find and watch several of the online videos by Rob Fitzpatrick called The Mom Test.

2. Read several of the great articles online about Customer Discovery. Pick one that you like and do what it says. You'll learn whether you are ready to go or not.

3. Make sure you or someone on the team has had a successful experience of marketing and sales in the planned product/service marketplace. If not, you must get someone who has such a successful experience.

4. List everything the business will do, all processes. There will be some that you haven't done in your career. Make sure these are covered by co-founders, local support people, consultants, etc. You can't waste time learning how to do things.

Bryan Clayton

We made a huge mistake when forming our company initially that ultimately cost us $20,000 in legal fees to correct. When we formed the company in 2012 we did it simply as a Tennessee LLC. Quick and easy and cheap we figured it was the best way to get our company up and rolling, however, we did not realize is that an LLC is a no-go for institutional investors.

Any outside investors such as private equity, angel investors, or venture capitalists will insist that your company be a Delaware C Corp. This is because Delaware has an abundance of case law that is favorable to corporate structure, investors, and board members and is generally accepted as the standard by the investor community.

When we raised capital last summer we came to the table with our Tennessee LLC and almost got laughed out of the room. We had to pay a specialist attorney to dissolve the old LLC and very carefully assign everything to the new proper entity which is a Delaware C Corp.

My advice to anyone forming their company is to carefully consider going with a Delaware C Corp. if they plan on raising outside investors capital.

Amy Westbroo

There's nothing worse than seeing an entrepreneur walk away from her business because she didn't create a long enough financial runway. It's easy to see people on social media flaunting their overnight success and assume that's the norm. I think 6-12 months is more realistic. To that, I would suggest: Have 3-6 months of savings set aside to alleviate the financial stress of not having a regular income.

Also, make sure your spouse/partner is on board if it takes 6 months or longer to generate income. An honest discussion today can prevent arguments down the road. Be sure your idea/product will sell. A friend's opinion doesn't count. If you can get financial buy-in before leaving your day job, even better.

Most new entrepreneurs invest heavily in nice business cards, websites, and branding before they've sold anything. This eats up your precious resources and it's not the reason people will buy from you. Your brand will go through many iterations so spend minimally here in the beginning.  Bolster your financial runway today and you'll give yourself the breathing room and timeline to grow your business.

Jackie Baumgarten

Build a team that gives your company the advantage of diverse viewpoints. You want the ability to see and solve your challenges and problems early and to not have blind spots because your whole team is looking at the world from the same perspective. On Boatsetter's team, we've got people from 13 countries who speak 10 different languages. We quite literally have a huge diversity of world views, and it’s a great competitive advantage for us.

Hire slow, fire fast. You’ve probably heard this before, but I reiterate it since it’s guidance that will save you a lot of pain as a leader. Know your strengths and your weaknesses and, very early, bring on expertise to fill in for your weaknesses. Self-awareness and humility will save you a lot of lost time, resources, and energy. Figure out what you are not good at, and then bring aboard people who are great at exactly that.

Don’t obsess about making the right decision, focus instead on making your decisions right. As an entrepreneur, creating new things in uncharted territory, you are constantly going to be having to make decisions with incomplete or imperfect information.

You should focus on making your decisions in the best possible way, given what you have at hand at that moment, knowing that you might have to adjust in the future.

Gather as much information as you reasonably can. Humbly request and hear guidance and critique. Be ready to admit previous mistakes, change your mind, and flexibly alter previous decisions.

And always be ethical - business is a lifelong marathon and people’s trust in you is an asset that will pay you handsomely throughout your career.

“One hand for the sailor, one hand for the boat.”

This is an old sailing adage that is to remind you that you are only an asset to your team if you take good care of yourself first. If you’re neglecting your own well-being, so over-focusing on dealing with the boat’s issues that you slip and injure yourself or fall overboard, you not only are no longer there to contribute to the team, you are burdening them further with them having to save you.

Especially as a founder and CEO, with your passion for your business and your drive to succeed, you have to remember to nurture your own strengths and energies so that you have 110% to give while you are on the job.

Michael Lowe

Network as much as you can. Often new business owners make the mistake of thinking they can run their businesses as they know their service/product inside out, but it's the other sides of the business that will throw up the most roadblocks. From admin to taxes to recruitment, there is a lot more behind a business than just a product/service. That is just the tip of the iceberg.

Depending on the size of the business, you will probably need to be a jack of all trades at the start, so speak to peers and ask how they started and what challenges they overcome. You can help to avoid some of these yourself if you are aware of them.

Learn the basics of the 'boring' stuff before you start. Take an accounting course, enroll in leadership classes, read man-management books - the more you know before you start, the less you have to wing it and learn on the job.

Jack Choros

My top tip for starting your own business is to start something you’re passionate about. And may not make you any money in the short term but you’ll be better off in the long term. So many entrepreneurs, especially young ones, are encouraged to go into “profitable niches” like finance or health and wellness or anything other than what they really care about.

But the truth is, going into a particular business that is most lucrative will only guarantee you money in the short term. In the long term when you want to scale and make a lot more money or become a lot more immersed in what you’re doing, you will need the passion to drive you through challenges.

If it wasn’t there in the beginning, it won’t be there when you really need it and you’ll find yourself willing to take less money to do something you really care about anyway.

If you do what you’re passionate about, in the beginning, you probably won’t make a lot of money. There is a reason why artists are often referred to as starving artists. There is a reason you and all your friends don’t have your dream job working in music or the NBA.

It’s because working in those fields is not only challenging, it’s worth less money. But again, in the long run, if you want to reach the top of your business or your chosen industry, the passion has to be there. Sacrifice the short term for the long-term gains of doing what you really love.

Rod Santomassimo

Check out the competition, especially those that are the most successful. What are they offering, how are they fulfilling? What can you offer that is different or has a greater perceived value? Invite folks who you believe would be your ideal clients to coffee, share your ideas and ask them their thoughts.

Also, be sure to ask them what they would do differently. Also ask them what similar service providers or products they use, and why.

This will help you determine how your initial offer will be something of value, versus just being a commodity. With this information in hand, now you can create a value proposition that will resonate with your target audience, and before you know it your idea is a money-making machine

Carly Steinberg

One tip I would give to someone who is starting their own business is to make sure you understand what you are and are not good at and then delegate the latter. It's important to focus your energy on your talents and strengths. It's equally important to have a fantastic team that you trust to help you when needed.

Make sure you really love what you're doing and surround yourself with talented, positive people who believe in your end goal. After all, it's your community that will get you through every stage of your business. Starting a business is hard, but you really have to trust the process. Everything good and bad happens for a reason, so have faith.

Kim Saxton

Do some research before you get too excited about a business name. So many entrepreneurs think up what they think is a brilliant name.

Then they find problems like:

1. Someone else already has the URL

2. Another bigger company has a similar name and asks them to “cease and desist,”

3. The name doesn’t mean the same thing to others as it did to them.

So companies not like them show up on Google searches. Or, it actually has a very negative meaning. Or it confuses customers enough that they have to spend precious marketing message time explaining it. In the beginning, businesses need to be open to many alternatives before settling on a name.

Lucas Renfroe

Having owned a couple of successful businesses, I always give advice to my colleagues who are just getting started in their own ventures. Here are a few of my top tips for new entrepreneurs:

1. Seek Help / Coaching - This is my best advice for a new business owner. We use a statewide program through our University system called the Small Business Development Center, but there are tons of (free) options available! Get an outsider's view.

2. Focus on doing 1 thing really well. When we start, it seems that we want to take over the world and do all things! Find the 1 thing and do it really great!

3. Focus on a niche. If you can focus on finding a niche that you are interested in and have a connection to that industry, it will be easier for you to become successful.

Jose Gomez

The KISS principle: All business owners face the same initial dilemma: How big should I go? Let me answer that. Did you hear about the KISS principle before? It stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid. Noted by the US Navy in the 60s, it means that you should not overcomplicate the concept.

You are going to be in charge of your business in its initial phase, and you don't want to deal with something too big and complicated. You could end with something too elaborated (and probably too expensive) that no one wants or even needs.  

Start with something small, and don't let your idea snowball into something too big to handle. Avoid unnecessary costs, especially at the beginning.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. -- Leonardo da Vinci

Lots of successful entrepreneurs got their ideas just by studying what other people were doing and coming up with a way of achieving the same thing in a more simple (and cheap) way. Brainstorm your main idea, make a list of all possible features/parts/services and then ask yourself the following questions:

- Do I need this?

- Do my potential customers need this?

- Is this crucial for launching my business, or can it wait?

- Can I simplify this?

Then, brainstorm again.

Bill Chinn

When you are starting a new business it's important to get as many opinions as you can about your startup idea. But remember, most people hate being the bearers of bad news, so you'll need to read between the lines.

Observe body language and use questions that are more likely to solicit undiluted feedback. If all your dinner guests say you should start a restaurant, ask them if they would be willing to invest in your restaurant.

Take a close look at their first reaction. You may have to cook a few meals, but you will get a credible answer to your business idea pretty quickly. If you need broader input, seek the chance to collaborate at events like Dallas Startup Week. You can cut months off your incubation process just by sharing your ideas in a collaborative environment.

Henry Stoeckert

It is always overwhelming how much you mislead yourself into thinking you know what people have in their minds. Even now, as I have started many companies and have been consulting startups and corporations for years, I still step into this trap from time to time. Therefore my top advice is about staying open-minded:

1. Talk to your customer before you think about websites, pricing schemes, bureaucracy, corporate identity, and all that sideshow business. You will be surprised about how much people don't care about the solution in your mind. And you will be surprised about all their real pains in the ass that you can solve much more easily. The customer is the customer.

2. Keep things manual and tinkered as long as you can. This is especially true if you come from a corporate background and are used to high-gloss appearance and processes. Being overly concerned about automated solutions and polished brochures makes you inflexible way too early. If and only if things get out of hand, go for more professional solutions. If you provide real value, nobody cares about a crappy business card. Unless you are in the printing business, of course.

3. Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate. Nobody is going to steal your idea. So don't be afraid to talk to other people. Get out of your own silo and go for the next level. There's always a bigger idea. Of course, there's also always a bigger fish. But that's another thing, not to worry about. The bigger the fish, the slower they are. It is all about constant innovation. Staying open and flexible will keep you in the game!

David Katic

Because we work closely with business owners we see a lot of great things that people do to generate success in business (including startups).

There are so many top tips I would give a start-up like be clear on who you are targeting or invest in finding the best talent and give them equity but there is one tip that is, without doubt, the most important.

And that tip is “mindset”. You must develop a positive, CAN DO mindset. Your startup business will throw many unexpected challenges at you. These challenges will do their best to knock you off course.

Sometimes those challenges will seem insurmountable. But if you have a clear energetic vision of where you want to go and, most importantly, totally accept that it’s up to you and no one else (victim free zone) you’ll handle these challenges with ease, your team will feel your energy and success will be just around the corner.

Mindset is truly the foundation of your business success.

Brooke Waupsh

Be fully ready to commit to going all in!* Have your ducks in a row: Do your research, know the industry, have a plan, and translate your vision into the micro-steps and key milestones that have to happen to progress the business.

You have to be able to maintain a daily intensity around what you’re building, be willing and ready to wear various (or all) hats, be agile, and hold yourself accountable in building out various aspects of the business.

Do not think you’re the expert in all areas, surround yourself with people who can provide guidance, resources, connections, and overall support in bringing your vision to life. Be ready to hit roadblocks, stay motivated to find solutions, and persevere.

A business will not be built overnight and building one is not for the faint of heart, it takes passion, thick skin, boundless energy, and the long-term commitment and gusto to push it forward.

Keith Evans

While there are many details that go into launching a successful business, going through a professionally led brand strategy exercise can make all the difference. Without the strategy to build a brand identity, the brand will fall flat.

Think of it as building a house without laying a foundation. Many startups want a quick logo designed to get going and think they can revisit their branding and design later.

Focus on that in the beginning. The ones who do get a lot more momentum out of their sales and marketing efforts, leading to more revenue and conversions. It makes it easier to grow and scale a business and target the preferred demographic.

Having a true strategy will also make designing your logo, brand identity, and website a much more seamless process.

Jonathan Faccone

After years of being in business for myself, I can tell you that in order to persevere through many failures and disappointments, having the right mindset before you begin is critical. Your reasons for being in business have to be larger than your fears.

You also have to have a high level of faith that things will work out the way they should. The business will become your life and you will have to sacrifice in the present for the possibility of a future. I have overcome bad partnerships, monies and material stolen, and everything in between.

That is why when starting a small business yourself, picking something that you love, having the right reasons, and learning how to persevere through failure will be a must if you want to succeed.

Laurence Palilla

This might seem like a no-brainer, but my absolute "top tip" for anyone looking into starting their own business is to have a clear business plan. You have to really sit down and determine WHY you want to start your own business. Is it a spur-of-the-moment decision you made because you're frustrated with your current job? Or is it something you've always wanted to do but never got around to doing?

Finding genuine passion and purpose is essential to starting your own business because the process will be anything but easy. I'm not going to sugarcoat it, starting your own business will undoubtedly present you with a lot of problems that more than likely won't be worth the trouble if your heart isn't into it.

You're going to have to take a serious look at things such as finances, business opportunity/ sustainability, legal procedures involved with starting a business, marketing strategies, etc. This may seem a little daunting, but it's all worth the blood, sweat, and tears if you genuinely want to commit to starting your own business

Jack Wong

Many people would talk about having selling skills, negotiation skills, marketing skills, and business acumen before starting a business. I don't disagree with these people, but coming from the background where I learned from my mentors who made millions of dollars in their businesses for decades, I believe that the following three components are critical for someone to become a successful business owner or entrepreneur.

The first component is intention. Business owners are there to provide solutions to solve others' problems. It is not about what business you are in but what your business can do to provide solutions to other people. That's the first one, which is dealing with the word "what."

The second component is purpose. After you have figured out the what, you have to ask yourself why you do what you do. If the purpose of any business is to make money, that's having a short-term focus, and that business won't be sustainable in the longer run.

So, figuring out the why allows the business owner to be supported with a more significant cause or reason, and therefore, he can keep it going.

The late Jim Rohn has this famous quote, "The BIGGER the WHY, the EASIER the HOW!".  

Only you have figured out the what and the why then you focus on the how i.e. the strategies and tactics. This is the appropriate time for you to find out what skills you already have and what additional skills you need to have so that you can achieve your business goals and milestones.

Douglas Dedrick

The last thing you should do before ending each day is to plan your next day. The first thing you should do each day when you wake up is to review your plan, reevaluate and add any missing details.

It's easy to have ideas in your head about what you will do. But writing them down is the first step to bringing your ideas to life. I have found that if I begin a day without specific, actionable steps to take, I am more likely to get overwhelmed, and efficiency goes out the window.

When making a plan for the day, keep it simple, and don't set the bar too high. Set 2 or 3 reasonable goals for the day, and follow through on them. If you are like me, the process of setting reasonable daily goals and meeting them will take practice.

So don't be hard on yourself if something doesn't get done the way you planned. Reschedule and move on. Eventually, you will understand yourself and your business enough to set and keep daily goals.

Marc P. Misthal

One top tip for someone who is about to start their own business is to make sure that their brand/business name is available to be used. This can be done by conducting a comprehensive trademark search through experienced trademark counsel. The search has two benefits.

First, it will tell you if there is anyone else out there who is using the same or a similar mark for a related business. This is important because if someone else is using the same or a similar mark for the same type of business, you could wind up on the receiving end of a cease and desist letter.

Knowing what is going on in the marketplace will allow you to create a business name/brand that does not infringe on someone else's rights (since the test for infringement is whether are likely to be confused, the fact that your name is not identical to someone else's does not mean you are not infringing).

The search is relevant for another reason. Assuming that the name/brand is available for use, the search will give you an idea of what obstacles, if any, you might encounter in the Trademark Office if you file a trademark application.

It is better to find out ahead of time than to submit an application and have it rejected by the Trademark Office based on someone else's trademark registration.

Khris Steven

Starting a business isn't an easy undertaking, especially when it's your first. Entrepreneurship, in general, can be a tough one. No formal education can mold and prepare you for it. Most of the experience and learning take place when you immerse yourself in the business world.

Take more of a practical encounter than theory. There are quite a lot of elements needed to make sure you start your entrepreneurial journey on the right path.

It doesn't matter whether you're about venturing into a fashion business or a restaurant business, the below essential tips for starting and running your business will serve even the weirdest or boring industry.

1. Focus on Values

First of all, you need to be aware that it's not about you but about the lives and well-being of people you want to impact. Your ultimate goal should be focusing on people and their needs, providing value that will help them get to where they desire.

Hence, solving their problem. Business is all about people. You can't be successful in business without them. Know their pain points and various means to solve them for them. That's what makes a business.

2. Get a mentor

Investing in mentorship is what most people disregard when it comes to starting a business. The entrepreneurship road is a lonely one. And getting into something you've never done before all alone without the help of anyone will make the journey slower and harder.

Getting a mentor who is older, wiser, more experienced, with a strong track record in business, and has been through the journey himself will get you to your promise land safer and faster.

A mentor in business will hold you accountable for your actions and provide you with all the guidance, support, and feedback you need to be successful.

Sam Williamson

I think the one thing you need to start a business is consistency. Even if your idea has been done before, or is not that original, consistency will allow it to become a business. If you wake up every day and apply yourself to growing your business, eventually it will get somewhere. Because the more consistent you are, the more likely you are to get a bit lucky, and every business needs a bit of luck to succeed.

Loren Howard

One thing you need for your business is curiosity. For many business owners, it is all about finding a problem and solving it. From when a customer first interacts with you and how you solve that problem for them, it requires a deep knowledge of how a customer could be, and how you more than anyone else can solve their problem.

Curiosity will drive you to make better products, be more informed and create better experiences for your clients. You can feed your curiosity by learning more about your industry, listening to podcasts, reading, and learning more.

Christian Brim

In a word, a good deal of narcissism. This may sound like a negative, and in many situations, it probably is. The American Psychiatric Association defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder as “a pattern of need for admiration and lack of empathy for others.

A person with narcissistic personality disorder may have a grandiose sense of self-importance, a sense of entitlement, take advantage of others or lack empathy.” I am not a medical doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but I have a huge amount of experience with entrepreneurs. I used to think the main thing they had in common was risk tolerance until I met entrepreneurs who were not really risk-takers.

After careful observation, what I think virtually every successful business startup has is an individual who can suspend reality. They do not believe what others say about their chances of success. In their mind, it simply WILL happen. When things are not looking good, the successful entrepreneur can completely ignore or compartmentalize the facts that do not comport with their reality.

A grandiose sense of self-importance to the entrepreneur is simply their worldview. What they have to do and accomplish is simply too important to fail. I have sadly met several entrepreneurs that suffer from many of the negative characteristics described above but not universally. 

At the end of the day, the ability to successfully launch a business requires a person to be a little touched in the head. Whether that is actually Narcissistic Personality Disorder or some yet unnamed malady, clearly you have to be a little crazy.

Philipp Hana

A professional brand presentation or simply put: Design. As the great Harvey Specter from Suits once said: “First impressions last”. In today’s fast-paced world, where customers are flooded with offers and sales pitches from different businesses this could not be truer. I know that as an entrepreneur your whole focus lies on creating the best product for your customers. And that’s great!

However, it will not matter at all if your brand and product presentation will not communicate quality and professionalism to your potential customer. You might think that this is the next step and is not yet crucial when starting a business. However, your thoughtfully crafted brand design is the first contact point with your potential customer right from the start.

If that first contact fails to communicate the quality of your business and products you will not be able to attract customers in the first place.

Rahul Mohanachandran

Anyone who is starting a business needs a mantra to keep them motivated during difficult times. It can be a sentence you can repeat yourself which will help you increase your confidence. My mantra is You will create and run a successful startup, I repeat this to myself during difficult times in business. It helped me to gain confidence and develop an increased self-belief during the worst of situations. It also needs practice.

It is not probably going to help you from day one but if you practice it continuously it can eventually help you. You can pick any time to practice it, using the time to commute between work and home can be a great time to do it with no other distractions. The journey of an entrepreneur is going to have peaks and troughs emotionally and financially and developing a self-soothing technique like this can be a great tool to keep yourself calm.

Deacon Hayes

If you want to be successful in business, you need to be OK with failure. You are going to try different things and most of them won’t work out. You need to be able to analyze those failures and apply what you learn to the next idea. Eventually, you will make fewer mistakes and take more calculated risks, which will help you create a more durable company for the long term.

I have started a couple of businesses that have failed. The key is learning from those failures. Do an analysis of why you think that business didn’t succeed. For me, the margins were low, the costs were high and my heart wasn’t in it. That led me to pursue a business model where the margins were high, the cost was low and it was something that I was genuinely interested in.

Many businesses fail because they don’t get market validation first. They come up with an idea but they don't ask others to see if people would actually buy their product or service. Another reason they fail is because of too much leverage. They borrow money to get started and are already at a disadvantage because they need to pay off the debt just to break even. They should avoid the temptation of loans. Many creditors are eager to offer you money to start.

A start-up should map out a business plan, even if it is just one page. It should include how much it costs to operate, how much they anticipate to sell, who would buy their product and why. Too many businesses start without a basic plan and if you fail to plan you are essentially planning to fail.

I've been asked over the years, 'What is the number one thing that helped grow your business?' Creating repeatable systems and processes helped me essentially duplicate myself in the business. By doing this, I’ve been able to step out of much of the day-to-day activity and operations of the business and into my CEO role much further. This means I can be the visionary and director for continuing to grow the business.

Andrea Travillian

Having more cash on hand than you think you need. Your first round of estimates on sales is too high. And sales take longer than you think they will. Costs are also more than you think they will be. Especially if you don't follow your preliminary plan. Getting distracted by new marketing ideas that you are convinced will work. Or buying more office equipment than you need.

And my personal favorite way to spend more than planned - too many printed marketing materials. That usually gets thrown away. Through some unexpected struggles - Covid19, equipment breaking, or the landlord forgetting to pay his bills. And you can see how extra cash is needed. Extra cash on hand is always the best thing you can do to start a business.

Jason Parks

A professional website that highlights your unique selling proposition. You don't have to pay a lot for a professional site but making sure it looks good and provides clear and concise information is key.

Shawn Breyer

Build marketing assets

When most people start a business, they start with hamster wheel marketing. Hamster wheel marketing is Facebook Ads, cold calls, and direct mail. These

are great for generating income in the short term. However, most new businesses never build evergreen content that will generate income in the long term. Evergreen content is things like YouTube videos and SEO.

Building this content takes years to develop but, over time, it can create a steady stream of income. Plus, building a presence on these platforms develops credibility for your business as more and more people research the companies that they are considering doing business with.

Credibility with video content

When someone is looking for a business to work with, you have to ask yourself what makes you stand out from your competition in the market that provides the exact same services. The easiest aspect to tackle is your credibility and authority within your market. To build this out, you want to create video content for YouTube that you can embed into your website.

This video content should include you attending and talking about local events, the local market, client testimonials, and how working with you helped them achieve their personal goals. This provides potential clients with all of the credibility that they need to convince them that you are the expert they are looking for.

Local SEO

Focusing your marketing on local SEO services is a sure way to build awareness about your brand within your own community. Your neighbors are your best audience for the website content. They’re the ones who will be searching for the products and services you have to offer. One great tactic is to make sure you are able to be located on Google.

Less than half of local retailers have claimed their My Business Listing on Google, which makes it super easy to outpace the local competition by developing your GMB Listing. Reviews are a great way to build social credibility, especially when those reviews show up on the largest search engine.

If you have 20 Five Star reviews and your competition doesn't even have a Google Listing, who do you think will get the business? This advertisement is actually essential to increase your brand’s effectiveness.

Devin Miller

There are the conventional things you need to start a business such as a name, a website, etc. To really start a business you need to have grit. Contrary to what you see on TV and in the movies, startups can be hard and have lots of ups and downs. To be able to start a business will require you to dig deep and have grit.

Syed Irfan Ajamal

Businesses are made with a bunch of elements when you are starting out. You have to take care of almost all the elements in order to sustain the upcoming business. 62% of US billionaires are self-made. 62% of adults believe entrepreneurship is a good career. The one thing that is most important for any upcoming business to work smoothly in the market is doing complete research.

This means that before launching the business, the analyst should analyze the market and its demand for the product or service that they are working with. This will surely create a datasheet from which you can know your niche and also you can pivot your marketing activities in that direction. All you have to do is to research the market before launching the business.

Jerome Williams

You always need word of mouth. Whether it is family or friends in high places, people should know you are about to embark on a new adventure and also be able to tell others why you are a good choice to spend their money with. Advertisements are one thing, but a personal recommendation from a trusted source will always be the better option to close a deal and drive (legitimate) traffic your way.

Instead of getting lost in the ocean of page ads and search results, a vouch of your services and/or skills from a friend can make a business transaction go more smoothly. Friends can relay detailed information that a contact form will not.

They can give you direct access to the potential customer; And when your phone number is in the customer's contact book, you're in! Plus, it will give your friends the chance to say, Yeah, I know a guy.

Daisy Jing

Think and be authentic - I’m surprised how other people can’t think and create for themselves. They're always trying to follow recipe books or strategies they've heard of. It is very important that you trust yourself to have some of the best ideas. So take some time to just think and think out of the box - do not try to replicate what others are already doing. Connect the dots and be authentic. We don't run the company like the others and because we are innovative, that helped us in organically growing the business.

Tami Belt

One needs a sense of humor to start a business. Time and time again I have had to laugh at myself, my circumstances, and yes, sometimes clients. While you have to take your business seriously, you should rarely take yourself too seriously. You’re going to make mistakes, you’re not going to know all the answers, and most of all you’re going to need a lot of help, especially if you’re a solopreneur.

I’ve learned that people either fall victim to their circumstances or rise above. Things will go wrong, no matter how well you prepare. Having a sense of humor helps ease the frustration, fear and focus on the failure to turning the corner and finding solutions. Sometimes clients say and do the darndest things. Just as children and spouses have selective hearing, so do clients.

Don’t get mad; move on. In any relationship, you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves. So is the case with some clients. No one is right or wrong, you’re just not right for each other. It’s better to part ways with a smile than a sneer. Starting a business can be a hard pill to swallow. All in all, laughter truly is the best medicine. It’s also a massage for your guts. Really! I read it in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) years ago.

Bryan Clayton

When you start a new business you need to select the right entity for your business. We made a huge mistake when forming our company initially that ultimately cost us $20,000 in legal fees to correct. When we formed the company in 2012 we did it simply as a Tennessee LLC. Quick and easy and cheap we figured it was the best way to get our company up and rolling, however, we did not realize that an LLC is a no-go for institutional investors.

Any outside investors such as private equity, angel investors, or venture capitalists will insist that your company be a Delaware C Corp. This is because Delaware has an abundance of case law that is favorable to corporate structure, investors, and board members and is generally accepted as the standard by the investor community.

When we raised capital last summer we came to the table with our Tennessee LLC and almost got laughed out of the room. We had to pay a specialist attorney to dissolve the old LLC and very carefully assign everything to the new proper entity which is a Delaware C Corp. My advice to anyone forming their company is to carefully consider going with a Delaware C Corp. if they plan on raising outside investors capital.

Gene Caballero

Grit--it's what it takes to start a business. You have to have the courage to leave the security of a job for the unknown with a high probability of failure. Passion and perseverance are strong characteristics of someone who has grit. Grit will move you forward and help you overcome whatever obstacles come to light.

Todd Spodek

The one thing you need is a manifesto. If you want your staff to believe in your business and ultimately your customers/clients to believe in it - you need a written manifesto that is on paper that you can feel. Not on email, not online in a shared drive or database but a piece of paper.

You need to have a written manifesto that everyone knows by heart and understands what we are (the company) about and why. This is what they think of when they hear your company name when they see your logo, your letterhead, when they see your email domain, and you leave a voicemail with the company name. This is the first step for a business, before a marketing plan, before a business plan, or a sales strategy or the respective divisions.

This is what truly matters about a business. Everything will flow from this manifesto. It has to be clear, concise, and heartfelt. It has to be what you're about and convey why a customer/client would want to work with you.

Clemence Scouten

You need to take a good, hard, long look at yourself and make sure you are willing to put yourself out there. When you start your own

business, all you have on Day One is you. You will do the fundraising, you will do the sales, you will train the employees or vendors. Clients will be buying from you because of you. Even if you are selling through a website and never meet customers, your voice will come across online.

If you’re selling creative items, you come across what you are creating. This is sometimes harder for introverts than extroverts, but either way: the tides are against you if you are not 150% willing to stand loudly and proudly behind your business.

Nikole Haumont

One of the most often overlooked parts of starting a business in our new digital age is to network with people in real life. Becoming a part of local business groups - including the Chamber of Commerce and referral networking groups - helps to introduce your business to a wide variety of people who can then become raving fans of you and your business, even if they are not your client/customer.

However, you can't just join and expect business to come to you, you do need to put the work part in networking into action. Attend mixers (virtual or in real life), ask people to meet for a cup of tea, refer business to others - all of this is networking in action.

What you put out into the universe will return to you tenfold, so make sure that you are creating opportunities and growth by giving your time, resources, and connections first.

Whether you are building a national, international, or local company, being an active participant in your community is vital to your business growth and also helps you grow personally and professionally.

It is easier to stay abreast of local economic changes and you may even have other business opportunities presented that you can benefit from. Being the go-to expert in your local area will help your business grow, and being seen and remembered as that expert requires you to establish personal relationships in real life.

Kevin Geary

To start a successful business, the most important thing you need is a solid understanding of the people you want to serve and how you’re going to serve them in a way that’s meaningfully different from your competition. This is a critical step that many entrepreneurs and businesses fail to define, which makes their marketing efforts ineffective and their products and services lack impact.

When you do the legwork to define, know, and understand exactly who your ideal customer is and the pain point you’re going to solve for them (in a way that’s meaningfully different from your competition), you have a solid foundation for a business.

Marketing, at that point, feels very easy and obvious. This clarity you’ve created quickly passes to the consumer who immediately understands what you do and who you do it for. This all results in one thing: conversions.

Jayson DeMers

You need to be internally driven to do whatever it is you want to do. In other words, you need a true passion, drive, or desire to start this business.

Execution is what differentiates successful entrepreneurs from unsuccessful ones, and intrinsic motivation is what drives execution. Anyone can make a plan and identify all the things they should be doing. But actually doing those things, consistently, and doing them well, is what's key.

If you don't want to be doing those things, you'll quickly hit burnout and you'll stop doing them. I’ve started five businesses, sold one, closed two, and am currently working on two. And the difference between the ones I sold or am working on compared to the ones that I closed was clear: intrinsic motivation.

So, does extrinsic motivation work? It does, to some extent. But eventually, even if you have a great extrinsic motivation to do something (such as a highly profitable business), you will burn out and start doing a half-ass job – the bare minimum – if you aren’t intrinsically motivated. I know this from experience.

That’s why I sold my last business. Even though it was highly profitable, I wasn’t driven to keep pushing forward, and I realized one day that if I was my own employee, I would fire myself.

I was no longer intrinsically motivated to work on it, so I made the decision to sell. Find what brings you intrinsic motivation and do that thing! You’ll be more successful and be happier. And you won’t regret a single minute of it.

Hector Maggi

A strong business plan ensures the sales and profits are sustainable and can cover the costs and ideally weather a storm, or nowadays a virus. In order to do such most likely, the owner and founder will need to take on ALL roles in order to minimize costs. While not ideal someone with a multi-disciplinary approach and business savviness may be able to be successful.

When the sales allow for sustainable growth and the cash reserves add up, then it will be time to slowly (adequately) add employees who bring value and help manage and grow the business. Lastly, if it doesn't make you happy, don't bother. There is no point in working hard and making money if you're going to be miserable. Exchanging happiness, health, and relationships for success is never a good deal.

The way to develop it is to be BRUTALLY HONEST with yourself about your weaknesses and your strengths. Play the strengths. Hard. Be merciless with your weaknesses by developing or delegating them.

Christie Lawler

So, my biggest piece of advice to new business creators out there is to trust yourself and actually listen to the positive things people are telling you about yourself instead of only focusing on your worries or intimidations. I have always found that every time I reach a hard choice - jump or walk back - jumping has been the most amazing and scary decision. I advise people to trust themselves because the challenge is there because it is a challenge you should accept.

I chose to swing and fly without a net. It is the most exhilarating and terrifying choice I have ever made. And I would do it again tomorrow. It taught me more about myself and my capacity to learn and create than any other decision I've made in my career.

Brian Lim

If you’re starting an online business, make sure you focus on researching the platform you plan on using. A big mistake we made was that we originally used Magento, and that proved to be a near-fatal error. After appearing on Shark Tank, we knew that being featured on a highly viewed television show would attract quite a bit of website traffic. In the year leading up to the episode’s air date, we purchased thirty servers, simulated load tests, and invested over $200,000 to make sure the site could handle the massive influx of traffic that would be coming our way. But when the episode aired, the site went down.

In the world of eCommerce, uptime means everything! A lot of money was lost that day, and it made what should have been one of the happiest days, one of the worst. Since then, we've switched over to Shopify, and our lives have been made immeasurably easier.

We likely would never have had this issue if we had been with Shopify from the beginning. All this to say - patience was definitely learned in a situation where we had to expect the unexpected. We didn’t let that situation sink our company. Instead, we grew our company and surrounded ourselves with excellent employees who would help us continue to grow in the years following.

Manny Hernandez

Once you have a sound business idea, the next thing you need to do is to prepare some sort of business plan. A business plan is a living document that maps out the details of your business. It covers what your business will sell, how it will be structured, what the market looks like, how you plan to sell your product or service, what funding you'll need, what your financial projections are, and which permits, leases, and other documentation will be required.

A business plan will help you think through and answer the questions you have overlooked. It will help you test profitability, understand your financial needs, and give you a roadmap for bringing your business to life and growing it. It will tell you what you need to be financially viable. At its core, a business plan helps you prove to yourself and others whether or not your business idea is worth pursuing.

It's the best way to take a step back, look at your idea holistically, and solve for issues years down the road before you start getting into the weeds. A well fleshed out business plan can be a great asset. Yet, it is important to recognize that few utilize this document as much as they would expect later on. It is a living plan that will always be changing. Few investors or lenders will care to read all the way through it. Don’t get bogged down in this for too long and let time and opportunity pass you by.

Lisa Schaefer

You need a Stable Sense of Self because everything and everyone else will be chaotic, unpredictable, and unreliable. In the beginning, everything and everyone depends on YOU. Though you need others, someone else will drop the ball and it's up to you to be reliable enough to attract someone else to pick it up.

Monica Eaton-Cardone

Try and ask yourself the following: what does your business do best and how is it better than your competition? Simply put, to start a business, you need to understand your brand. Anyone can have an idea, but successful entrepreneurs are able to take their idea and turn it into something tangible. A brand is the backbone of your business and will influence every decision you make going forward, from the people you hire to the clients you attract.

You should consider the service you want to provide and why prospective customers will need or be willing to pay for it. It’s also important for you to think about how your business is different from others that offer similar services. This stage can either make or break your business.

Building a brand will take time, and it’s important to be realistic about what you hope to accomplish and whether there is even a market for what you’re trying to do.

Camille Chulick

Make sure when you are selling something, whether it be a service or product – it needs to be relatable and not just marketable. Today more than ever, consumers want to buy products that they can feel loyal to, that they can show off on social media and be proud of. They want a real face behind brands and they want authenticity. When I started this business, I started it knowing that it would be relatable because it was literally created for my own problem that needed to be fixed.

I knew I could relate to the customers in the same boat and share my experiences with them, thus cementing the brand’s authenticity and even our authority. They trust the results because we have real human stories with pictures and videos and testimonials. We use social media a lot to drive this home. To reach out to the community and remind them that we’re empathetic to their issues and we can do it honestly and is something most consumers can suss out.

They know when a brand is being genuine. I don’t like being the center of attention and I hate getting on camera. However, I do it because it allows others to see me, hear my story, and relate to who I was and how I can help them. So many times we think we are the only ones dealing with something, and you find that if you put yourself out there, others will relate. What you sell has to be relatable. Your brand has to be relatable.

Cathy Paper

One thing. Surround yourself with good people who will make you better, share resources, refer business and make your business growth happen faster. Trust your gut.

Chris Reimer

I've been surprised how easy it has been to generate sales from people who know me, but how difficult it's been to create sales from strangers. To me, it proves three things:

1. "Build it, and they will come" is not a great marketing strategy, and

2. Relationships matter in business, and the more meaningful connections you can make, the better. And finally,

3. If you want to sell to strangers, your value proposition and the problem your product solves have to be clearly and adequately explained.

So, there you have it! 67 invaluable tips and wisdom on starting and building a successful business.

Drew Sharma

There are so many things, but I see this as a two-part answer regarding the surprising elements of the entrepreneurial journey. The first is that failures indeed are a rite of passage for future successes and bigger wins. I've had a lot of wins and also failures, but the failures have generally taught me more about how to succeed than the gains have. Of course, some entrepreneurs get lucky and win right away but that seems to be a rare occurrence.

Second, don't underestimate the power of perseverance. In a startup, you can sometimes feel like everything is going wrong, and there isn't a light at the end of the tunnel. Still, if you stay on course (through the pain), you can sometimes get to a point where the acceleration kicks in and takes your business to a level you didn't think would be possible.

Jeremy Ellens

I wish I had mentors that taught me to find a source of leads outside of referrals and networking much sooner. For years my business relied on these areas to grow. I thought it was great because it didn't cost much to acquire customers.

What that meant though was I didn't have a lot of control over the types of clients we would take on or the volume of leads we needed. Once I created scalable inbound and outbound lead generation strategies, that's when I was able to grow a new business to $100k/month in just six months.

Kelsey Raymond

The thing that has surprised me most is how many people are open to helping you out if you ask. I have been so amazed throughout the years by the incredibly successful and busy people who have agreed to get coffee or hop on the phone to answer my questions simply because I asked (and didn't abuse their generosity with their time).

It made me wish I would have been even more proactive about doing that earlier on in the business because now I have a wonderful group of informal advisers who have taught me so much.


Starting a small business at home can be exciting or daunting--it depends on how you look at it. If you have the passion and the commitment, you should have no trouble setting up a great business. Take some time to analyze all your ideas, do the necessary research, design a logo, set up a website, and you’re ready to get started on your journey in small business.

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