In 2014, we’ve published hundreds of articles chocked full entrepreneurial advice. From handling small business finances to marketing dos and don’ts, we’ve made it our goal to keep you at the top of your entrepreneurial game.
But practicing all of the pieces of advice from 2014 is nearly impossible. That’s why we’ve rounded up the top 10 suggestions that we, and our team of expert contributors, have given you this year.
Don’t pitch crap to investors
If we’ve learned anything from Shark Tank this year it’s that elevator pitches can surely go awry. Serial entrepreneur Scott Gerber and his fellow Young Entrepreneurial Council (YEC) provided us a list of 10 things entrepreneurs should never, under any circumstances, do while pitching to investors.
The article was a hit and our readers loved the piece. Must-not’s include:
- Being redundant
- Not having fiscal milestones
- Avoiding tricky questions
- Ignoring possible risks
- Not pitching your team
If you’ll stand in front of a panel of investors in 2015, be sure to reread this cautionary collection of pitching do’s and don’ts.
Don’t quit your day job
According to a University of Wisconsin-Madison study, entrepreneurs who stay employed while launching a new business are a third less likely to fail than those who quit their jobs. For reasons like financial stability, testing the waters, and minimizing risk, we advise keeping a steady paycheck while first starting your business- at least until you can make that smooth transition to full-time self-employment.
Passion will always trump money
John Meyer, Head of Strategic Partnerships/Marketing at The Company Corporation, relayed nine pieces of inspiration from the entrepreneurial ambassadors of this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW).
One of our favorites on the list was a quote from Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes. When asked if entrepreneurs should start businesses based on financial possibilities or pure passion, he responded with counsel we loved:
“I believe that it should be based off your passion – it proves to be a different type of motivation when you actually care about what you are doing versus just doing it for the bottom line.”
Men, support your women leaders
Our second-favorite piece of advice from this article originated from Hilary Clinton. Always a strong voice for women in executive positions, the Secretary of State instructed men to support women in leadership roles and to value their irreplaceable insight. The only way women will be able to break through the proverbial glass ceiling is with the help of their male counterparts.
“There is a stimulative and ripple effect that kicks in when women have greater access to jobs and the economic lives of our countries,” says Clinton. “By harnessing the economic potential of all women, we boost opportunity for all people.”
Empower women to chase their goals in 2015.
Foster an entrepreneurial culture
Gerber and the YEC also supplied us with 12 ways to establish a workplace of innovating “intrapreneurs,” rather than follow-the-leader employees. To do this, entrepreneurs should hire aspiring entrepreneurs and make employees feel empowered via incentives, open communication, and giving them ownership over important projects.
Accept the ebbs and flows of business
In his post, What Successful SMB Founders Wish They’d Know From the Start, contributing guest writer Nick Chowdry asks three successful entrepreneurs to recall what they wish they’d known from the get-go of self-employment.
Steve Buskin, who runs training and speaking business, said he wish he’d known that everything in business – from his cash flow to his self-esteem- would fluctuate. And that it was okay. He advised hopeful entrepreneurs to learn how to remain calm and realize that, just because business may be slow at certain times, clients don’t hate you. The nature of business is to ebb and flow.
Respect your work/life boundaries
Chowdry asks the same question to Hannah Martin, founder of Talent Ladies Club, and her response provides guidance to those of you who work from home. It can be easy to blend your work life and personal life when both reside under the same roof.
But according to Hannah, you must learn to create boundaries between your house chores and your work chores. Dedicate hours to your business and hours to your personal life. Try your best not to blur the lines between the two, even if your dirty laundry is overflowing.
Nurture young entrepreneurs
Market expert Larry Alton outlined 6 signs from childhood that pointed to your future as an entrepreneur. Do any of these ring a bell? You never procrastinated, you were a bookworm, you challenged yourself, and you were always picked first for softball. While you may have identified with many of these signs (congratulations), be sure to notice these traits in the young minds around you. Nurture and encourage them to think outside the box.
Didn’t go to college? Doesn’t matter.
It’s time to get over your insecurities about not going to college. Studies show a bachelors degree equates to business success, but Shayna Marks shows us this isn’t always the case. In her well-received blog post, she describes six extremely successful entrepreneurs who completely changed their respective industries.
Do the names Richard Branson, David Karp, and Susan Lyne sound familiar? None were university graduates.
Don’t be a bad manager by micro-managing
Nothing kills creativity like micromanagement. As Larry Alton explains in his post, 5 Signs of a Bad Manager, it’s hard to give someone else the reigns- especially when you’ve built your business from the ground up.
But if you’re going to be a successful entrepreneur and leader, back off and trust the employees you hired for a reason. Also, be sure to read the remaining four signs to avoid terrible management habits in 2015.
We look forward to providing you with the best thought leadership advice from the best thought leaders in 2015. But for now, take these 10 pieces of advice to heart and share then with your entrepreneurial comrades.