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13 Great Tips for New Entrepreneurs


As a marketing advisor and mentor who specializes in helping founders create, grow, and scale profitable businesses, I get to give out a lot of advice and can tell you for certain that starting a business is a strange, scary, wonderful, chaotic, exciting time full of ups and downs for everyone.


In fact, even the most well-seasoned entrepreneurs face challenges they don’t expect and can benefit from getting a little extra advice now and then. It was this notion that prompted me to take a step back and ask some other experts - CEOs, founders, and other self-starting pros - what one piece of advice they would like to give early-stage entrepreneurs.


From not making assumptions on timelines to incorporating customer feedback, these 13 experts have provided some great tips that will both transform your outlook on entrepreneurship during the critical early stages and put you on the path to success. Enjoy!


Here are 13 tips from the trenches on how to excel early as an entrepreneur:

  • Don't Assume Things Will Happen Overnight

  • Perfect Your Public Speaking Skills

  • Leverage Yourself to Build Your Company

  • Build a Network of Industry Experts

  • Spend the Time and Money on Market Research

  • Focus on a Single Channel

  • Be Risky, You Have Time to Start Over

  • Quickly Test and Make Pivots When Needed

  • Pay Attention to Your Brand Identity

  • Use Free or Organic Marketing Strategies Starting Out

  • Deep Dive into Your Customer Pain Points

  • Get a Mentor

  • Listen to Your Customers and Incorporate Their Feedback

Don't Assume Things Will Happen Overnight

Be patient. So many people who start a business have a timeline in their mind for when they need to see results. That usually isn't realistic. It's important to stay the course, even if it feels like you're not getting anywhere.


Successful, long-lasting companies aren't built overnight; they're the product of consistency, work, and time. Make sure you're always budgeting for longer than you think each step of your business-building will take, and don't give up just because things aren't happening as fast as you'd like.


Chris Vaughn, CEO, Emjay


Perfect Your Public Speaking Skills

If you’re not a natural public speaker, now is the time to hone your skills. Why? Because, as a small business owner, you’re going to have to do it a lot.


You’ll need to give presentations, lead meetings, and give speeches to promote your business. We do not limit marketing to just ads and promotions; it's about building relationships.


One of the best ways to build relationships is through face-to-face interactions. This is why events, trade shows, and networking are so important for small businesses. If you’re not comfortable speaking in front of a group, start practicing now so it can prepare you for when opportunities arise.


Demi Yilmaz, Co-Founder, Colonist.io


Leverage Yourself to Build Your Company

The early stages of building your business are the perfect time to also build your personal brand. Initially, growing your following and establishing yourself in the business both on social media and in your local area means that more people notice what you're doing.


Out of that growing network, you'll find individuals who can help you build your business or buy your products/services as your initial customers. In the future, an established personal brand, as a respected figure in relevant spaces, with a good following, can be directed to build your company. That brand will lead forward to future employees, contractors, customers, and more.


Understand the difference between your personal and company brand; your personal brand is about you as an individual which can create your company brand, which is what your company is, does, values, and supports.


Eric Chow, Chief Consultant, Mashman Ventures


Build a Network of Industry Experts

Even with the best education and ideas, there’s still no substitute for a good old-fashioned network of experts. These are people with experience in your industry who can offer advice, mentorship, and support.


As you start to build your business, look for opportunities to connect with more experienced professionals. They will guide you through the start-up process, avoid common mistakes, and make connections that can benefit your business.


Not all businesses require you to establish a network. With the right skills, you can establish a tech startup with a global reach from your bedroom. However, venturing into real estate, for example, would require a very different approach with more of an emphasis on building local relationships.


Peter Lucas, Owner, Relocate to Andorra


Spend the Time and Money on Market Research

A lot of companies want to "see things happening" and don't want to spend the time (or money) on the strategic, foundational building blocks. Who are your competitors? What are their strengths? Where are the gaps in your industry? Who is your audience/target customer base? Yes, building out buyer personas or audience profiles takes time and effort, but it's worth it. You'll know what problems you're solving, and you'll be able to speak their language.


Liz Sweeney, Owner, Dogwood Solutions


Focus on a Single Channel

Conventional wisdom says you should be everywhere that your customers are, whether that's on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, in their inboxes, on forums, or at specific events. The reality is that you cannot be everywhere because you simply do not have the resources to do all of them well—especially when you have a tiny team and are doing most marketing alone. Instead, focus on one channel that has shown results and become a master at it. As long as the channel has enough volume, it'll take you to the growth stage where you can hire more people to help with other marketing channels. Don't start branching out too early, either. At the bare minimum, wait until you get at least $1 million in annual revenue before you earnestly tackle other channels.


Daniel Ndukwu, CMO & Co-Founder, UsefulPDF


Be Risky, You Have Time to Start Over

The beauty of entrepreneurship is that you have as much time and second chances as you’d need. My advice is not to be afraid to take risky moves when necessary, since they could lead you to great things. People often fear risky business decisions because that may mean that everything they have been working on until that point could go under. But that’s not the only potential outcome. If you’re calculated in those risky situations, the outcome can, and most likely, will be positive in the long run. But, if that’s not the case, the beauty of the free market is that you can start all over again, but only this time with knowledge of your previous endeavors.


Dejan Kvrgic, Founder, ProContent Services


Quickly Test and Make Pivots When Needed

Early-stage entrepreneurs have a few advantages over big companies. The biggest are speed and agility. Launch tests! Learn from tests! Leverage the fundamental idea behind the Lean Startup methodology. With each test, set up hypotheses, and then based on results decide to either: Pivot - change the product in some way based on the data/feedback Persevere - Results are looking good, keep pushing! Kill - Time to end this product and try something new! You can move too fast and not deep enough, but it is hard to do so and rarely done. In general, startups spend too long not listening to feedback from data and customers. Move fast and thrive! This is a permanent advantage of startups over mature businesses.

Dustin Sitar, Director of Marketing & Operations, BriteCo Inc


Pay Attention to Your Brand Identity

Keep all your marketing consistent with your brand values. When a startup is in its early stages, brand identity isn't always at the forefront of entrepreneurs' minds. But this is actually one of the most important times for companies to focus on their image.

The adage that you only get one first impression is still true, and it holds double for businesses that need to attract investors and build a customer base.


If you focus on keeping your marketing in line with the rest of your brand, you'll have an easier time forging an identity in the minds of the public.


Brian Munce, Managing Director, Gestalt Brand Lab


Use Free or Organic Marketing Strategies Starting Out

If you're a brand-new or emerging business, it's best to start off with marketing strategies or tactics that cost little.

This is for two reasons. One, your business is new, and you want to hold on to as much startup capital as possible. You don't know how long it will take to actually make your business profitable, and many new entrepreneurs drastically underestimate this timeline.

Second, you want to use free or low-cost marketing because you're not one hundred percent sure you've got your messaging on point. You'll need a period of time to test and tweak your message to make sure your marketing is working and is bringing in the right customers.

Giving your business plenty of capital to sustain with lots of time to test your marketing at no or low cost will ensure you get the results you want for years to come.


Jaime Ellithorpe, Founder & Business Growth Consultant, 540 Strategies


Deep Dive into Your Customer Pain Points

It's surprising how many running businesses don't have this figured out. Knowing the challenges your customers are facing will help you not only build the right product but also create educational and actionable content across all your channels (landing pages, blog, social media, events, etc) that eases people of their pain points and helps them achieve their goals.


When such content is shared generously and without a "hook", it will help you build the trust of your target audience and position you as a thought leader in your space, bringing you needed traffic and leads.


Marta Olszewska, CEO & Co-Founder, Refill Aqua


Get a Mentor

When I was in the early stages of starting my company, I knew I couldn't do everything by myself. Having an outside perspective is vital to your success as an entrepreneur.

A mentor could be a professor, a close friend in your industry, or a professional business coach. As long as they have experience in the business you're trying to break into, they can offer you helpful advice any time you run into challenges. And the business world is full of them. Mentorship also helps you feel you aren't alone in your endeavors. I believe everyone needs somebody and that no one is an island. A good mentor will empower their mentee and equip them with valuable knowledge that can contribute to the success of their business.


Gary Paull Jr., CEO, Gauss


Listen to Your Customers and Incorporate Their Feedback

Make sure you listen to your customers and incorporate their feedback as much as possible. If you have a client or customer who takes time out of their busy lives to share with you their thoughts on how the product did or not work for them, the ways the service could have improved, or perhaps offers ideas for improving the product, consider it a gift and try to do everything you can to incorporate this feedback.


For every customer who took the time to share their thoughts, there are 10 customers who felt a similar way but didn't take the time to share.


Value that feedback, and put efforts and budget behind tackling ways to improve or address the problems or issues your vocal customers share with you!


Ashley Kenny, Founder, Heirloom


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About Amy Zwagerman

Amy Zwagerman is the founder and CMO of the Launch Box, a boutique marketing services firm where she serves as an advisor, mentor and Fractional CMO to thousands of startups. Her primary mission is to help entrepreneurs and small business owners achieve their dreams by learning how to think more like a marketer. Amy is an active host and marketing advisor with CoFoundersLab and serves as a mentor via both the Pepperdine Most Fundable Companies competition and the Pepperdine Institute for Entertainment, Media and Sports. During her time off, she can either be found lounging with her dog Zoey (preferably outside by a pool) or engaging friends and family in her never-ending quest to make the perfect pizza. Learn More 👉🏼 bit.ly/tlbtree


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