Ask the Market Experts: What's the Best Entrepreneurial Advice You've Ever Gotten? / Starting a Business / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

In honor of Global Entrepreneurship Week, the thought leaders share the best entrepreneurial advice they've ever received.

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Entrepreneurialism goes well beyond a career path—it is a mindset and in many ways, a personality. Even if you aren't an entrepreneur by trade, you can apply the entrepreneurial spirit to what you do.  

An entrepreneur is someone that takes risks, constantly innovates and pushes the envelope and that breaks boundaries. An entrepreneur does not live—and will not be defined by—the "norm." They are the movers, shakers and disrupters. And for that, we celebrate entrepreneurs all over the globe.

In honor of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we asked our Market Expert contributors to share the best piece of entrepreneurial advice they've ever received. 

Related Article: Ask the Market Experts: Which Female Entrepreneur Inspires You & Why?

Create and Monitor Your Business Dashboard

Todd Mumford: The best advice I ever got was to dashboard business metrics, and set goals/monitor three areas daily: COGS (cost of goods sold), OE (operating expenses) and net margins. I’ve seen some great companies with really innovative products close shop because they didn’t put enough attention and focus on overhead and put the focus on volume sales. The real focus should be on earning the most profitable sales, at the best margins.

Keep Your Clients and Employees Happy

Pratik Dholakiya: The best advice I’d consider till date that I’ve received is keep your clients and employees happy together. You can’t run business with unhappy/dissatisfied employees, and your clients can’t be happy if your employees are not delivering their best. I’ve experienced that this is very true because it’s because of both that you’re able to run the business smoothly and effectively. So both needs to be given equal importance.

Think Twice Before Taking On An Investor

Deborah Sweeney: Right after I bought, my husband Tor advised me to be very cautious when taking on financial partners or investors. Too many new entrepreneurs, excited by somebody wanting to invest, fail to stop and think about what bringing on an investor means. You lose some control of your business by either selling a portion of its ownership or, at the very least, giving away some decision-making power. Even if the potential investor seems great, they could still be more trouble than their money is worth.

Don’t be afraid to take some time, think about their offer, do a little research, and weigh whether or not they’re truly fit your business and vision. Thanks to Tor, I’ve always approached those offers cautiously, and that little bit of wariness has kept me from taking on any truly awful investors or partners.

Set Goals and Work Your Tail Off

Brian Niebler: My good friend who left a steady paying job to start a web design agency once told me that "as an entrepreneur you're essentially saying goodbye to a steady, reliable income. At the same time, though, you're also saying hello to a new life that you're completely in control of. It's up to you to take your business to where you want it to go by setting goals and working your tail off until you accomplish them."

Related Article: Ask the Market Experts: What Is Your Most Utilized Business Tool?

Listen to Those Outside Your Circle

Shannon Evans: Know what you know, and find people who know what you don’t know—and listen to them.

Be a Sponge

Nadya Khoja: Never stop learning and always improve your craft. Work hard. Try to be the best in what you do. That is the secret to success and happiness. - Eugene Woo, Founder of Venngage

Let Go of Control

Mark Rogers: If you really want to grow your company, you will have to learn to give up control.

Make Good Choices

Andreina Woodworth: My grandma was a very successful business woman. She told me when I was very young: "my child, money is out here, and it can come or go depending on your choices," which stuck with me forever. She was referring to the fact that in business, you have to be ready to win or loose.  She explained that if learned that, I will never feel defeated. Very true. If things ever go bad, I know I have the opportunity to make them better in the future. I don't give up during rough times. Thank you, Grandma.

Be First and Be Sticky

Tom Treanor: There’s no law that says the best product will win. The product that is “first to mind” will win, so make sure you get the word out to the appropriate audience and build a sticky product that keeps people coming back for more. This is advice given to me by Nir Eyal, author of Hooked

Define Your Target Market

Brenda Stoltz: Be very specific about who your target market is. You don't have the money to market to everyone and marketing to everyone is marketing to no one.

Take a Deep, Mindful Breath

Aaron Kahlow: The best advice I've ever gotten was "One Deep Mindful Breath."  Three simple words that made all the difference. Wait and take one deep breath to make any decisions until you must. One deep breath before you reply on email of consequence and pause before writing it, taking one deep breath.  One deep breath before you respond to someone in a heated moment. Your state of mind and space created between stimulus and reaction is what matters most in the world of the busy as SH$! entreprenuer and that one mindful breath will save you from many, many mistakes.

Choose The Right People to Work With—And For

Ricardo Casas: Don't ever think that everyone with a store front is a potential client. Being in business for yourself allows you the opportunity to choose the people you work with and the people you work for. The right kind of client will further expand your opportunities, whereas the wrong kind of client, even if they're paying, could cost you a  major step in the right direction.

Do It Well Or Not At All

Sherice Jacob: The best piece of entrepreneurial advice I ever got was from my dad -- who has spent the last 35+ years of his life working 12-hour rotating shifts as a technician at the local power plant. He told me "Be the project large or small, do it well or not at all." A slightly revised version of an old quote, but it resonated with me. So many times businesses get overwhelmed, and it's so tempting to put out sloppy work or a half-hearted effort and call it a day, but entrepreneurs never really stop working. If we're not not actively helping people and doing the best possible job we can do in every aspect of our work, we're thinking about how to improve the process. It's just how we're wired.

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