7 Pieces of Advice from Successful Small Business Entrepreneurs
“I wish to do something great and wonderful, but I must start by doing the little things like they were great and wonderful” – Albert Einstein
a person who designs, launches, and runs a new business, taking on all associated risks, which typically starts off as a small business. – dictionary.com
Today’s biggest brand names and business empires had to start somewhere, right?
- Coca-Cola started with something intended as a patent medicine (the name coming from Kola nuts as its caffeine source, and coca leaves), which evolved, and was marketed by Asa Griggs Candler, a businessman who originally founded the Coca-Cola company in 1886. Slowly but surely Coke and the company morphed into what we and the entire world know it to be today.
- Walmart was founded by Sam Walton and it remains a family-owned company, believe it or not. Mr. Walton, a former JC Penny employee, started out in 1945(!) buying a small variety store, and his focus was on lower prices for consumers. He searched for low-cost suppliers, and the store became very successful. He then moved into his own “Walton’s Five and Dime” shop. In 1962 he opened the first Walmart Discount City store, and in five years he opened 24 more! As of 2016 it’s the world’s largest company by revenue, and is the largest private employer with 2.2 million employees!
One lesson we can take away from each of these examples and successful entrepreneurs is the focus on one particular thing: Coke on it’s one leading product for the first years in business, and Walmart on its consistently lower cost products. An eye-opening concept called the Hedgehog Concept (discussed in a great book I would recommend for any business owner called Good to Great by Jim Collins) is based on an ancient Greek parable that states “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing”. The fox tries countless strategies over and over to catch the hedgehog, but every single time he’s defeated. Why? The hedgehog knows how to do one thing perfectly – defend himself.
7 pieces of advice from a few famous and successful entrepreneurs
- Work harder than everyone around you and take advantage of the whole day. “Changing the world is not a nine to five job” – Elon Musk. “It’s not what you do between nine and five that matters. It’s what you do from five to nine that makes the difference” – self-made millionaire.
- Work on solving problems beyond yourself. “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me.” – Steve Jobs
- Build a great team. “First who then what” – Good to Great. Get a busload of people who are genuinely passionate and excited about the goals of your business, and who can adapt and perform brilliantly in the face of uncertainty.
- Take care of your team. “If you want the people in the stores to take care of the customers, you have to make sure you’re taking care of the people in the stores.” – Sam Walton. Treat your people well, and the business will flourish. Create an open environment where the good and the bad can be discussed, and small problems won’t have a chance to grow.
- Care about what you’re doing. Wholeheartedly. “I strongly believe that missionaries make better products. They care more. For a missionary, it’s not just about the business. There has to be a business, and the business has to make sense, but that’s not why you do it. You do it because you have something meaningful that motivates you.” – Jeff Bezos
- Offer something that brings a win-win for you and your customers. “The one thing that offends me the most is when I walk into a bank and see ads trying to convince people to take out second mortgages on their home so they can go on vacation. That’s approaching evil.” – Jeff Bezos
- Don’t get frustrated at a point before breakthrough. If you truly believe in what you’re doing, remember that big breakthroughs don’t happen overnight like they appear to most people. “The process resembles relentlessly pushing a giant, heavy flywheel, turn upon turn, building momentum until a point of breakthrough, and beyond” – Good to Great. Enjoy this process, because that’s where you’ll learn your most valuable skills and life lessons.
If your business is working well (or needs some initial momentum), has a great plan, great people, and is ready to take the next step, contact WorldWide Capital Management for some large or small business funding, or fill out our simple form to find out if you qualify, and we’ll be in touch shortly!