Small Business EntrepreneurshipAugust 14, 2022
The Small Business Globalization PrimerMarch 31, 2023
Looking back at the start of your entrepreneurial journey, there may have been plenty of things you wished you had known or received advice on – PRIOR to getting underway with your company. Perhaps it was something about managing finances, developing a brand, or even just maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
But no matter what it was, the most important thing to remember is that mistakes and failures are a natural part of the process. While advice and guidance can certainly help, ultimately, it’s up to you to learn from your experiences and make the most of them.
Here are 5 bits of advice I wish I would have received when I was just starting out on my entrepreneurial journey:
- “Don’t dive in without a plan and don’t plan without anticipating it may need to be completely re-written within 6-12 months of starting your business. Planning is just critical thinking that lays out a path to follow established on the best information at the time you wrote the plan. Since the value of planning and your plan are paramount, your plan needs to be based in the realities of the day, so seek advice from those in your industry and industry experts supporting your industry.”
CEO Government Contractor, Gaithersburg, Maryland
- “My business is not about the product, or the technology, or even the management. It is about picking the right market at the right time – and then having the product, technology and management to ride the market wave.”
CEO Technology Firm, Reston, Virginia
- “Don’t be embarrassed about asking for advice . . . often! Getting your business launched and your first product onto the market will take you twice as long, and cost you twice as much, as you think it will. Having a few trusted experts to guide you along the way is critical. Consider either a formal or informal board of directors or advisors filled with industry experts, legal and accounting professionals and close contacts that can provide financial investment.”
CEO Real Estate Developer, Potomac, Maryland
- “Don’t get stuck in the past and don’t expect the future to look anything like the past. It is too easy to ride the way of a successful business that is cash flowing without concern for changes in the future. Look at the number of companies that go out of business not able to adopt to changing times. We now focus at least once a year on future planning and look for industry trends that could help or hurt us in the near future.”
CEO Building Supply Distributor, Rockville, Maryland
- “Never confuse activity with progress. Manage, manage and manage your people especially as your business is in its early years. Decide early on what you need from each of your employees and have weekly progress meetings to make sure everyone is on goal. Small businesses can burn through their cash flow so quickly that having employees who are not focused on the end-goals of the organization can cripple your efforts.”
President, Community Bank, Washington, DC Market
So if you’re just starting out, don’t be afraid to take risks, learn from your mistakes, and stay persistent in pursuing your goals. And if you ever need advice along the way, remember that there are always resources and mentors available to help guide you on your journey.
Ron Wills, President & Founder, NABOE, is the transformation executive for NABOE and is a firm believer in the power of entrepreneurship to drive innovation, economic growth, and social change. Through NABOE and its many programs, he is committed to helping small business owners and entrepreneurs succeed by providing them with the tools, resources, and connections they need to thrive in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world.
Want to learn more, or become a member? Set up a meeting to discuss the many opportunities available: https://ronwills.youcanbook.me