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1. Be different
Being an entrepreneur means taking risks to build something that will improve the lives of the people in your market. You have to be different to stand out. No one is going to pay attention to a company that is doing the same thing as another company. You don’t need to have a physical product or app to make it big. Pete Cashmore started Mashable when he was 19. Today, his website is one of the leading technology sites on the web.
2. Don’t be afraid to change everything
Change is necessary and nowhere can this advice be more important than in business. Don’t be afraid to change your company or products to pursue an angle that will help you realize your goals. Dennis Crowley, Foursquare’s founder, had to adjust the app in the way that people used it.
3. Know when to stop planning and start doing
What sets entrepreneurs from the dreamers is doing. There is a time to plan and a time to do. Don’t overcomplicate matters. Start shipping as fast as you can and tweak your product as your market consumers it. Eric Ries outlines this notion well in the Lean Startup book.
4. If something doesn’t work, stop
No matter how much effort and finances you pump into your business, sometimes things will just not work out. Don’t be afraid to stop a product or even close down your company. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Don’t waste your time and resources hoping things will change when it is clear they wouldn’t.
5. Looks matter
Design is everything and this is what sets brands with similar products apart. Think about design right from your product to your marketing materials. Having your office, shop, brochure, logo or website looking good will give you the much needed boost in the beginning.
6. Learn how to follow up
No man is an island and so is no business. Relationship building is important especially when you are just starting up. You want to be on the good books of suppliers, industry influencers, product evangelists and so on. This can provide you with the publicity you need for your business to take off.
7. Always be learning
Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and learn new things. Take insight from other businesses and apply it to your situation. Tweak the information you get to fit your business and challenges.
8. Be confident in your product
Cyrus Massoumi, the founder of ZocDoc (the doctor-appointment scheduling site) went door-to-door hawking the product and was kicked by security guards out because he seemed not confident in his offer.
Starting a business is a challenge even for experienced entrepreneurs. Gaining practical knowledge about how to handle a start-up is a good way to get started. Here are four of the most recommended business books for start-ups:
- “Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less” – Sam Carpenter
Sam Carpenter shares his experience as a business owner to show the mistakes he made in the beginning. Using examples from the destructive path he took, Sam shows you why it is critical to set-up your business from the beginning. This will allow you to spend less time putting out fires and more time making money.
- “She Takes on the World” - Natalie MacNeil
Natalie MacNeil takes readers on an action filled journey packed with plenty of useful advice on how to run the business of your dreams. You will learn how to grow your business, build a team without much money, and how to get your brand on everyone’s lips. All of this is interwoven with Natalie’s experience.
- “Small Business, Big Vision” – Matthew and Adam Torren
The Torren brothers bring together practical information on starting your own business with their own experiences as successful Internet entrepreneurs. You will get instruction on how to attract investors, put together a business plan, leverage social media, and how to outsource work to the right people. With this mix of experience and practical advice, you will see what you need to make your business a success.
- “Kidpreneurs: Young Entrepreneurs with Big Ideas!” - Matthew and Adam Torren
Okay, why is a kid’s book in the mix? This book is actually a brilliant summary of the basics of business. So many adults overcomplicate the process. A look at running a humble lemonade will give an experienced business person insights into how to run a successful company. Get back to basics and see what it inspires.
These books will give you insight into what a start-up needs to become a success. If you are thinking about starting your own business, take some time and read what the experts are saying. You will gain insights and learn how to make your business a success from the very beginning.
Smartphones are one of the most important tools for a business entrepreneur today. A phone well equipped with the right selection of mobile apps is like a secretary, a personal assistant and an intern all rolled into one. Especially for small business owners and start-up companies, you’ll want to extract the most value from your smartphone as possible; you’re paying for data anyway! With these ideas, you can use your device to manage tasks, keep connected to your business and keep all your material current.
Manage tasks with simple, easy mobile apps. For a basic to-do list that can be shared with collaborators, Astrid Task/To-Do list provides a great organizer function, priorities and delegating options. AnyDo is another highly rated task management application. Both have won high acclaim; check them out and decide which works best for your organization style.
Stay connected with your business no matter where you are. The ability to access your business no matter where you are can make the difference between a big opportunity and a flop. For a high-end product, check out LogMeIn Ignition. This app will allow you to access any material on your office computer or laptop from your smartphone at any time. It’s a bigger investment at $25. If you’re not sure that kind of product would be helpful, you can try an app with a similar concept: GoToMyPC is a highly rated, but simpler version that gives many of the same capabilities.
Sync your data.One of the most exciting capabilities your smartphone has is syncing material to have the most up-to-date content for use with your clients and associates. If you love using Google Docs to develop content collaboratively, make sure you use the Google Drive Android app version. This gives you access to all your Google documents and other content, as well as the ability to develop content with feedback in real time.