9 Successful entrepreneurs share their best tips for first timers

Being an entrepreneur is not easy and it might be scary, too. But being a first-time entrepreneur is even worse since you don’t know what to expect.
The good thing is there are a whole lot of successful entrepreneurs who are eager to share their experience and help other people achieve success.

Here is a list of the best tips I gathered through the years.

1. Richard Branson: Take risks

"You've got to take risks if you are going to succeed. I would much rather ask forgiveness than permission." - Richard Branson

Richard Branson is one of the entrepreneurs I admire the most. If only for one reason: he was never afraid to fail, and he did fail at times, but he always takes risks and pushes forward whatever the outcome.

Starting a business is a risk in itself, so you need to be willing to take risks to do it.

But after you decide to start your entrepreneurial journey, it doesn’t end there. If you want to succeed you want to take risks. No playing Russian roulette kind of risks, of course. But you need to challenge conventions, be willing to explore new routes and accept the risk of failing.

2. Warren Buffett: Be Honest

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
Warren Buffett (Click to tweet)

Being honest is key to having success in business. Sure you can be sleazy and still have success, plenty of it, maybe, but people won’t respect you and if you don’t manage to have success on your first try, others will never trust you on your second, third, hundredth try.

And if Warren Buffet, who is arguably one of the best — if not the best — investor alive, says so, you have to take his advice.

3. Reid Hoffman: Launch Early

"If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late." – Reid Hoffman

You could spend weeks, months, even years, going over your initial idea, than making a plan and perfecting your business. While doing so, you could ask your friends and family for opinions, which would surely come aplenty, but still be meaningless.

The only way to validate your idea and get really valuable feedback is to launch you business as soon as possible. I’d say you should launch as soon as impossible! (Click to tweet)

There’s no way to get real, actionable feedback until the day you launch. It’s your customers who should drive your business, not your friends and family.

4. Henry Ford: Believe in Yourself

“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.”
Henry Ford (Click to tweet)

As you start your journey into entrepreneurship, you’ll be met with a lot of obstacles — which is part of what makes being an entrepreneur fun for me — and unless you believe in yourself, you’ll never be able to overcome them.

Nobody knows whether you’ll be right or wrong, that’s for historians to tell, but you need to believe in your vision and in your ability to do the right thing.

5. Steve Jobs: Money is a Byproduct

"If you keep your eye on the profit, you’re going to skimp on the product. But if you focus on making really great products, then the profits will follow." - Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs may have been a controversial figure for a few different reasons, but there’s no arguing he was one of the best entrepreneurs ever. Why? Because he was obsessed with products. With the quality of his products, that is.

Money is nice, sure, but it can’t be your driving force because unless you have a clear goal and most of all a clear why, it’s going to be difficult to achieve business success. (Click to tweet)

6. Larry Page: Over-deliver

“Always deliver more than expected.”
Larry Page (Click to tweet)

The first thing that comes to mind is a common advice given to entrepreneurs: “Under-promise, over-deliver”.
However, the way I like to read that quote is that you should surprise your clients by delivering more quality — not more quantity — and unexpected features/services.

At the same time, you should try to surprise your market by coming up with new ideas, over-delivering innovation wise.

7. Jeff Bezos: Be Frugal

"Frugality drives innovation, just like other constraints do. One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out." - Jeff Bezos

Just like Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos might be a controversial figure, however what he did with Amazon shows how great an innovator he is.
So you need to trust his advice!

This is quite obvious if you think of it. If you’re sitting on a big pile of cash, you tend to use more time to take decisions, spend more time going to market and take a lot longer to adapt to changing market conditions.
On the other hand, if you’re strapped for cash, like it or not, you’re going to have to move faster and come up with more innovative solutions to go around obstacles on your way.

8. Vince Lombardi: Keep Going

“Winners never quit and quitters never win.”
Vince Lombardi (Click to tweet)

Vince Lombardi wasn’t an entrepreneur, but he was an amazing Football coach — so good, indeed, that the Super Bowl trophy is named after him. And coaching a football team is in many ways similar to running a business.

You can’t expect to achieve success on your first try, even though you might, but this shouldn’t make you quit. If you really want to be successful you need to keep trying until you make it. And every time it doesn’t go as expected, just take it as a learning lesson!

9. Robert Huges: Don’t be Cocky

“The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.”
Robert Huges

It’s ok to have doubts. It’s ok to be scared. You can’t be sure of the outcome, if you’re really trying to build something valuable.
However, if you really care for what you’re doing and are approaching your venture with an open mind, you’re in a much better spot than those who are sure they’re going to make it.

What do you think? Have you got any more tips to share?

Do you want to start a business?

In my career, I started more than 10 businesses, some where great, others not so much and a couple of them failed hard. At 23 I was nominated by BusinessWeek as one of Europe's Best Young Entrepreneurs. It was and still is a great ride and I want to share everything that I learned with you.

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