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Posted by Judy Curtis on April 12, 2016 - 8:19am Edited 4/22 at 6:23pm

10 Tips for Entrepreneurs to Consider

These are tips that an entrepreneur should consider before undertaking their first business.

  1. Focus. Focus. Focus.  Many first-time entrepreneurs are enticed by every "opportunity"  they come across. Opportunities will often be wolves in sheep's garments.  Avoid getting side-tracked. Juggling multiple ventures will spread you thin and limit both your productivity and effectiveness. Do one thing perfectly, not necessarily 10 things poorly. If you feel a need to jump into another project, it might mean that your original concept was lacking. Know what you can do, and do what you know. Avoid starting a business simply because “it’s the next best thing” or boasts significant hypothetical profit margins and results.
  2. Do what you enjoy. Businesses built around your talents and strengths will have a greater chance of success. It's not only important to make a profitable business, it's also significant that you're happy managing and growing it day in and day out. If your heart isn't in it, chances are you will not be successful.
  3. Say it in 30 seconds, or not at all. Whether a curious customer or chance encounter with an investor always be ready to pitch your business.  Point out your mission, goals and service in a clear and concise manner.
  4. Less is always more. Know what you know, know what you don't know, and know who knows what you don't. No one knows everything, so don't come off as a know-it-all. Surround yourself with advisors and mentors who will nurture you to become a better leader and business person. Find successful, knowledgeable individuals with whom you share common interests and mutual business goals that see value in working with you for the long-term.  
  5. Act like a start-up. Just forget about fancy offices, fast autos and fat expense cheques. Practice and perfect the ability of being frugal.  Watch each dollar and triple-check each expense. Maintain a low overhead and effectively manage your cash flow.
  6. No business plan can predict the future or fully prepare you to become a successful entrepreneur. There is no such thing as a perfect plan.  Never jump right into a new business without any planning or thought. On the other hand, don't spend several weeks or years thinking it over.  The most important thing you can do is learn from your mistakes -- and never make the same oversight twice.
  7. Don’t expect that you will receive money for your start-up. It is likely that no one will invest in you. If you need significant sums of capital for you to launch your venture, retreat to the drawing board.  Simplify the idea until eventually it's manageable as an early stage venture. Find solutions to prove your business model on a shoestring budget. Demonstrate your own personal worth before seeking investor capital.  If your concept is successful, your chances of raising capital from investors will dramatically improve.
  8. Be healthy.  You will be much more productive when you take better care of yourself. Entrepreneurship can be a lifestyle, not a 9-to-5 job. Working to the point of exhaustion will burn you out and make you less productive. Right eat, exercise and take time for yourself.
  9. Don't talk the talk unless you can walk the walk. It is better to impress with action rather than with conversation. Endorse your business enthusiastically, yet tastefully. Avoid coloring truths and touting significant goals as certainties. In short, put up or shut up.
  10. Know when to call it quits. Contrary to popular belief, an intelligent captain does not go down with the ship.  Recognize when it's time to walk away. If your idea doesn't pan out, reflect on what went wrong and the mistakes that were made. Assess what you could have done differently. Determine how you will utilize these hard-learned lessons to better yourself and your future entrepreneurial endeavors. Failure may be inevitable, but a true entrepreneur will prevail over adversity.

While it takes time and hard work to become a successful entrepreneur, benefits such as setting your own schedule around your family life and the option to be as creative or risky in your business as you want to be, are well worth the effort. 

Judy Curtis,