Top entrepreneurs share their best tips for success

As an entrepreneurial attorney, I’ve painstakingly learned the importance of heeding the best business advice I’ve received from many of the world’s top entrepreneurs and business leaders. The bottom line: It takes a lot to start a business and grow it to profitability. Funny enough, the most impactful lessons have come from my biggest failures.

All in all, despite listening and absorbing great business advice and success tips from the top business minds, I’ve gone on to learn more about how not to start a business through my experiences. Still, my early failures haven’t stopped me in learning from my mistakes and moving on to become gainfully self-employed.

But this article isn’t really about me (surprise).

In this article, I’m highlighting quotes from some of the world’s most successful and respected entrepreneurs to share their best business advice and success tips so you’ll be prepared to start a business in today’s climate.

Some have created products & services we’ve all heard of, turned entire industries upside down, redefined what it means to be successful when you start a business and some have also written business books or taught online business courses about it. Suffice it to say, their business advice is worth its weight in gold. Here were some of the biggest trends in their business advice:

Business ideas alone are worth very little. If you want to start a business and become successful with it, you need to solve meaningful problems. Execution is everything in business.

Becoming successful in business is more about your mentality, psychology and determination than it is about finding little tips, tricks, hacks and exploitations in the marketplace.

Start today. The only true way to learn is by doing and you can’t afford to sit around waiting for funding, hoping someone else will come along to help you execute on your idea or complain that you don’t have the time. Making excuses won’t help you start a business and it sure as hell won’t help you create the lifestyle you want for yourself.

Launch before you feel ready. If you wait until your product or service feels perfect, someone else will already be doing a better job of helping your customers solve their problems. Validate your business idea by launching fast, bringing on a small group of paying customers and adapting to make your solution great for them over time.

How you choose to manage your time and decide which opportunities to pursue will greatly impact your success when starting a business. Outsource everything you can, so that you can focus on doing what only you can do in your business.

Do everything in your power to avoid spending money when you start a business. Build a lean solution that provides value to your customers and only spend money on the absolute essentials at the moment you need them.

Never stop building meaningful relationships with customers and other people in your industry. Choosing to instead view competitors as potential partners and collaborators can positively impact your business in a big way.

Focus on setting & achieving small incremental goals rather than trying to start a business and instantly build your vision of what the company should be in the years to come. Setting realistic goals and milestones is a major component of building long-term success.

Whether you want to start a business for the first time or you’re an experienced entrepreneur, you’ll find incredible value in the best business advice and success tips these entrepreneurs have to share today—some of them even made their way over to my list of the best motivational quotes I’ve heard. Hope you enjoy & absorb.

Steli Efti is the CEO of Close, a high-powered inside sales communication platform that’s powered by his years of experience driving millions of dollars in sales for hundreds of venture backed Silicon Valley startups. Here’s what Steli has to share as far as business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a business today: “One of the most painful and common mistakes I see first-time entrepreneurs make is that they fall in love with their own business idea. They’ll spend months building what they believe to be the next innovative, disruptive, game-changing startup. Then they launch… and nobody buys, nobody cares, nothing happens. Don’t fall in love with your idea, fall in love with the problem you’re solving.”

Rhett Power is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant and author of the new book, The Entrepreneur’s Book of Actions. He’s been featured on Inc, Fortune, CNN Money and more for his work in the world of business. Here’s his business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a business of their own: “In my first business, we spent the first three years working 8 days a week in the business (and not on it). We weren’t making any progress and in fact we had thoughts of calling it quits. We got a lucky break when a national retailer saw and fell in love with one of our products. That was our saving grace. Take time to think strategically about the big picture of what you’re accomplishing. It forced us to take a step back and take time to think about how we were going to deliver that product on a massive scale. I think many new entrepreneurs spend way too much time working in their businesses and not enough time working on their businesses. If you want to grow, then you have to carve out time to think strategically and think about the big picture, which is difficult to do when you’re first starting.”

Sophia Amoruso, who transformed Nasty Gal from an eBay store into a multi-million dollar empire with her own clothing line that was named the fastest growing retailer in 2012. She’s also the author of the New York Times best-seller #GIRLBOSS. Here’s her best piece of business advice to aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a business: “Don’t give up, don’t take anything personally, and don’t take no for an answer; you never know what you’re going to learn along the way. The people who told me no, were the people that eventually told me yes; so don’t forget it.”

Ian Paget, also known as Logo Geek, Ian designs logos and brand identities for startups and SMEs. He also has over 80,000 Twitter followers and runs a popular social media group where he creates valuable resources for designers. Here’s his best business advice specifically for freelancers: “As a designer, I frequently hear horror stories from new freelancers who’ve had a client that vanishes without making a single payment. Designers who have worked for hours, sometimes weeks, yet received nothing in return. It’s upsetting for them, painful to watch, but easily avoidable. If your freelance client won’t agree to a 50% deposit, they’re not worth working with. To prevent disasters like this, I recommend taking a 50% upfront payment before you even start, then taking the final 50% before any final files are provided. Any client not willing to work this way is unlikely to ever pay and should be avoided. I also strongly advise freelancers to have a written freelance contract, signed by the client, detailing what’s been agreed upon and what will happen in various different circumstances. This will give you ammo should your client be unreasonable, and will also add a level of professionalism and credibility to your service.”

Preston Lee, Founder of Millo.co, the premier destination for expert advice from the world’s top freelancers & founders looking to score great work from home jobs. Here’s Preston’s biggest piece of business advice for new entrepreneurs: “First-time entrepreneurs almost always focus too much on non-differentiating work. Work that doesn’t make a difference in their business. Work that definitely doesn’t increase revenue. Without a focus on doing work that makes a difference, your business is just a hobby. A few simple examples: Redesigning your logo or website a dozen times, setting up every social media account possible, trying to stay on top of said social media. And the list goes on. Instead, focus on revenue. Do the tasks that will increase revenue and reduce costs. Without a focus on that, your business is just a hobby

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