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Are you an up-and-coming entrepreneur? As I’m sure you already know, starting your own company can be an extremely daunting process and is often accomplished largely via trial and error. With that being said, I’m sure you wish there are certain pieces of advice that would have been been beneficial to you as you started your venture.

While I have compiled the following list of tips especially for the next generation of dream-seekers, this advice may also be useful the more seasoned entrepreneurs who want to take their businesses to the next level.

  1. Know When It’s Time to Walk Away.

This may seem like a strange tip to start with, but it’s an important lesson to learn sooner rather than later. I’ve seen many people waste entirely too much precious time and energy in a project that just isn’t panning out. A successful entrepreneur learns to put his or her ego aside, reflect on what went wrong and the mistakes that were made. Decide what you would have done differently and move on. You should also determine how you will use your failures to improve yourself and your future entrepreneurial ventures. It’s impossible to avoid some form of failure along the way, but a true entrepreneur doesn’t let such obstacles keep him or her from the end goal.

2. Avoid getting burnt out.

The entrepreneur mentality is to have several balls in the air at once in terms of projects and ideas. While it’s good to be involved in a healthy variety of ventures, be careful not to work yourself to the point of exhaustion. Trust me–you’ll be much more productive when you’re well rested and refreshed. This means taking a break every once in awhile and realizing you can’t stay on the clock 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Don’t make excuses to friends and family as to why you’re always working. Practice healthy eating, exercise, and schedule some time for yourself. I promise you’ll see a difference in your work.

3. Don’t depend on investors.

If you need a substantial amount of money in order to get your business off the ground, you may need to rethink your plan. Downsize your dreams if possible, even if it’s just for now. Everyone has to start somewhere, and slow growth is the can often be the best kind of growth. By cutting back on pricey expenditures in order to get your company started, you’ll be in business sooner than if you waited for a certain amount of capital. Simplify your idea to the point where you can prove yourself to clients while staying within a modest budget. You can always increase it in the future when your business takes off. Bottom line: demonstrate your value before approaching investors. If you’ve already proven yourself and found your own success, your likelihood of finding outside investors will significantly increase.

4. Surround yourself with good people.

You may think you’re extremely knowledgeable about a certain sector, but no one can know it all. That’s why it’s vital to surround yourself with advisors and mentors who will nurture, encourage and inspire you to become a better leader and business person. The key is to seek out successful, smart and knowledgeable individuals that share your common goals and interests. While a certain amount of constructive criticism is useful, these people should have your best interest at heart, as well as a desire to help you work toward achieving your dreams.

5. Learn how to focus.

This might be the most important concept of all. Many first-time entrepreneurs may feel tempted to pursue every opportunity that comes their way, but this can be a dangerous mentality. As I mentioned in the first point, too many balls in the air at once may cause you to feel both side tracked and burnt out, thus hurting your effectiveness and productivity. Focus on doing one thing perfectly, instead of doing 10 things in a mediocre fashion. When you feel the urge to jump into another project, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your original business concept.

Author Ron L. Brown, CFP®

Ron is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and President of R.L. Brown Wealth Management. He specializes in retirement, estate, and business planning for professionals and entrepreneurs. Ron assists his clients with creating a financial plan to ensure they are able to live their ideal lifestyle during retirement and leave a strong legacy for their family. Ron has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, US News, Yahoo Finance, Investopedia, and numerous other high profile financial publications.

More posts by Ron L. Brown, CFP®
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