AJ’s Top 5 Tips for Entrepreneurs

Scaling / November 10, 2014 / Kristie

In a recent post, we discussed Everything You Need for a Successful Startup. After starting up your business, there is the other challenge of continuing to run that business. When you’re starting up a business you are highly motivated and excited about your new endeavour. So what happens after it’s off the ground? How do you keep that excitement alive day in and day out? We went to our CEO, AJ, to find out the answer. Given AJ’s experience as an entrepreneur who works closely with other small business owners, we asked him his Top 5 Tips for Entrepreneurs.

top 5 tips for entrepreneurs

1. Don’t Be Afraid to Make Decisions

When you’re running your own business, you can’t be afraid to make decisions. Starting a business in itself requires you to make the decision to just do it. Situations continuously arise that force you to make a decision. You may not always be equipped with sufficient information at the time, so you need to be able to trust your intuition and take a bit of a gamble. This doesn’t mean you’ll be rolling the dice on a decision that could completely alter your business, but certain times require taking calculated risks.

2. Be Perseverant

Once you’ve made a decision, you need to follow through even if the outcome is not exactly what you had envisioned. Things don’t always pan out the way you had in mind, so you need to be able to readjust, restart, and keep going. Interference happens that is out of your control. Sometimes you get kicked and punched by circumstances so you need to have perseverance to get back up, shake it off, and keep moving forward. Nothing that is worth doing is easy.

3. Understand Why You Do What You Do

People start businesses for different reasons. At the end of the day, the way you run your business all boils down to the reason you started it. Are you running a business just to put food on the table? Are you running a business because you see a need that you think could be solved? Are you running a business because you believe in making a difference in the world? This all ties back to your vision for the company. If you understand what you are doing, then it is easier to get back up when obstacles are thrown in your way. Your vision for the company allows you to see obstacles as challenges worth overcoming and worth making sacrifices for.

4. Be Willing to Adapt

When you make decisions and plan out where you want to go with your business, sometimes the reality is different from what you had anticipated. You may make decisions based on assumptions that you later find out are incorrect. You need to be able to accept that your plans may not always work out the way you want them to, and you need to be flexible with new ideas. Circumstances will add new constraints that cause you to have to adapt and alter your plans in order to achieve your objective.

It’s also important to remain open to finding solutions on your own, rather than being a slave to dogma. There’s always going to be rules about what you “should” and “shouldn’t” do with your business. Various management guidelines and recipes for success speak in generalities. Remember that your business is YOUR business and your situation may be different. You need to learn to take advice and adapt it to your own context. In the words of Pablo Picasso, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” Years ago it was believed that all software for business should be on Windows. We questioned this widely accepted notion and are now proving that the alternative is possible.

5. Achieve Continual Happiness

This tip ties back to the idea of understanding why you do what you do. Somewhere on that list of reasons why you started a business, is the fact that you love and are passionate about doing something. To keep this passion alive and your motivation flowing, structure your business in a way that allows you to continue to do what you love as much as realistically possible. As an entrepreneur, there are going to be many things that you are responsible for and that take up time, but you should focus your energy and time on doing what you love. It may not be practical to always be doing what you love, but try to find a way to do what you love often enough that it keeps you happy. Steve Jobs wasn’t managing the day-to-day operations at Apple, instead he focussed his time on doing what he loved- making new stuff! Grow your business in a way that allows you to do what you love so you have the enthusiasm to continue.

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