15 Tips Grow A Smarter Business


Anyone who has every started a business knows that it can be an extreme ride, from one day to the next.  If you do the right things, you can make your roller coaster ride to the top a little more of an enjoyable experience.  Here are 15 tips from some of the top business leaders, to help you find your pathway to business success:

  1. Surround yourself with great people – Even if they are better than you.  You want to know that the people you are working with are “Dream Team” quality.
  2. Focus group your new ideas – Sometimes we convince ourselves that an idea is great.  If it is going to stand in the real world, it has to survive real people. Get your idea in front of a diverse group of people.
  3. Work ON your business, not IN your business – When it comes to deciding whether to focus on oversight and vision or becoming another employee, handling day-to-day stuff, you’ve got to make the right choice.  You can always hire for day-to-day work.
  4. Develop 80/20 vision – The Pareto Principle states that 80% of the work will be done by 20% of your team.  Also, 80% of your tasks give you 20% of your final output and 20% of key tasks contribute to 80% of your success.  Spend your time in the few key areas to have greater results.
  5. Mission over money – Are you in business to make money?  Of course!  If you want to stay in business, you have to make it about more than the money.  Make it about a mission.  How will your business make the World a better place?  Is that a stretch for you?  Well, so will success be if you hadn’t found it yet.
  6. Stick in long enough to be an expert – Sometimes the market needs to warm up to us newbies.  We may have an amazing product but lack a stable track record of satisfied customers, positive reviews, or brand awareness.  Give it time and focus on becoming an authority in your industry.
  7. Brand creation – Make sure you develop a relevant, consistent brand with a qualified design firm.  This could help you to etch out a nice moat to separate your competitors from your real estate in your customers’ minds.
  8. Brand placement – After you get a professional look brand, place yourself.  Find an area where you can be the first or best, or “___est.”  i.e. “the fastest growing…” “Georgetown’s first…” “1st in ….” #1 in…..”
  9. Become a “social-media-lite” – Your social media presence is important to spreading your brand.  When you interact with your customers they feel like you become real to them in some weird way.  It works.
  10. Create your Board of Advisors – Everyone who aspires to be the best at anything has a coach.  You will need trusted mentors at your round table, who can guide you through the potential pitfalls that every entrepreneur will come face-to-face with.
  11. Undersell Overdeliver – I have yet to see anyone who messed up by exceeding the expectations of their clients.  It actually had the opposite effect.  If you can fight the urge to sell yourself short by setting tight deadlines, you will leave yourself a little room to wow your customers.
  12. A family has more fun than a lone ranger – Think family of products and series instead of a banking on a single item to carry you through the market’s scrutiny.  It says diversity and options.
  13. Set goals with dates – There are conflicting views on the efficacy of business plans.  One thing that can’t be denied, a business with a set of detailed objectives is usually better off than one with hazy wishes.
  14. Get an amazing accountant – Like a reader looks for words and sentences, a CPA can tell the story of your business by reading the numbers.  This will be valuable in planning your next steps and projects.
  15. Customer service is the lynchpin of your business – The customer is always right is more than just a wise saying.  It’s a rude awakening.  Without customers, you don’t have a business.  Make sure they know that, through your service and support to them.

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Emily Dillingham
Emily Dillingham
11 years ago

What an amazing list! Thanks! My husband and I both have side businesses that are doing pretty well. We’re in the process of incorporating them under one umbrella company. This post is going to be required reading for us both. We may even print it and post it on our office wall.

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