Advice from Small Business Experts

For me, one of the best ways to grow my business is to take advice from other entrepreneurs. I can learn from their mistakes and find my own path to success. Here I’ve interviewed X entrepreneurs (all who happen to be women) to get their single best piece of advice to small business owners.

Stake Your Claim

Ivana Taylor, the Founder of DIY Marketing, says it’s important to determine what you’ll dedicate yourself to doing as a business owner and build your story around it:

My most fabulous piece of advice for anyone starting their own business is to “Stake Your Claim” as quickly as possible.  That means decide on what you are committed to and what people can count on you for (a simple way of stating your brand) and then develop a clear and concise platform or story around it. Develop 10 talking points around that platform and make that the centerpiece of every conversation, blog article and marketing program.

A lot of new business owners want to be all things to all people, but by focusing on those things you can truly deliver well, you make it easier to help people hire you. 
Center Your Marketing Around Your Customer, Not Your Company
Too many companies make their marketing about their brand, when in fact, it should be about their customers, says Caitlin Roberson, Chief Content Officer at Wordisseur:
Every marketing message should make the target customer the hero, not your company. Of course, this means you need to clearly understand your target buyer – their company, their role, what their daily life is like.
Roberson says you then should create three key messages that you can use again and again to create consistency in your marketing, addressing these questions:

  • Why Change? (Create Fear)
  • Why Now?
  • Why Choose Us?
Aim to Be Significant, Not Successful
While your attention might seem like it needs to be on becoming successful, focusing on it too much may in fact make it harder to achieve. Nellie Akalp, CEO of CorpNet.com, says you should instead focus on being significant:

As a new entrepreneur, if you want to have success, you can’t make success your goal. The key is not to worry about being successful, but to instead work toward being significant – and the success will naturally follow… If you do work that you love, and work that fulfills you, the rest will come.

Don’t Wait for Perfection to Get Started

If you’re waiting until everything is in place and perfect before you open the doors to your business, you never will open them, says Leah Singer, marketing communications specialist. She says it’s better to start with imperfections:

Don’t wait until you have your website completed, business cards printed, and every possible item in place before starting your business. If you have a viable idea, start pursuing it.  To be successful, you have to launch and be okay with the uncertainty of building all the elements as you go. If you wait for perfection, you’ll never start your business.

 Don’t Be Afraid of Risk

I’d add my own two cents to the list of advice: don’t be afraid. It’s scary to leave your day job, find a way to make enough income to cover your bills and money enough to pay other people. But have faith in yourself, and the rest will follow. You’ll waste a lot of sleepless nights if you dwell over the “hows,”  so focus instead on the “whats:” what you want to accomplish, what your business will look like down the road.

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