The Best Advice For Running A Business

Scaling / October 13, 2015 / Kristie

It’s no secret that small business is on the rise. More and more people are exploring the world of startups and embarking on a journey to become an entrepreneur. Some of these will be successful, while others…may not be so lucky. While there’s obviously many factors that contribute to the success of a business, there’s a thing or two you can learn from the people that have been there and done that. Sure, there’s lot of advice out there and some of it is bound to be pure garbage. But there’s also a lot of great advice out there.

best advice for small business

To avoid the garbage, we hypnotized our CEO, AJ, and mentally sent him back in time to recall the best business advice he has gotten over the years. Okay, so we didn’t actually hypnotize him but we forced him to dig really deep into his brain and pull out the memories of all the advice he has been given over the years, along with some tips he’s learned on his own. Here’s the gold, the advice that AJ feels is worth spreading.

1. Read biographies/autobiographies about people you admire

Reading about the struggles and triumphs of other people that you look up to is inspiring as well as grounding. Even if the story about these people’s lives isn’t about business, it help you understand that the world isn’t perfect and neither are you. The same goes for anyone you idolize. Reading these stories enforces the idea that nobody is immune to mistakes. You’re going to make them and that’s okay because you’ll learn from them. A lot of people get stuck on the idea that they’re not good enough or they’re not doing it the right way. Trying to do things perfectly just ends up in anxiety or potentially holds you back from starting in the first place. You can’t be free to do what you want if you’re beholden to an unrealistic idea.

“One example that sticks out to me is Inside Steve’s Brain by Leander Kahney. I found it inspiring because it showed that a business leader can be more involved in the product as apposed to just running the business.” – AJ(Alykhan Jetha), Marketcircle CEO.

2. Read books about business

A lot of entrepreneurs started their business out of a love for what they do, not necessarily a love for business in general. So if you haven’t been schooled in the art of business, start educating yourself. Here’s a list of books that AJ highly recommends.

To Sell Is Human by Daniel H. Pink

Drive by Daniel H. Pink

Unlimited Power by Tony Robbins

How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie

“I strongly recommend this last book–especially to young people and anyone that is an introvert. It’s such an important book for communicating and dealing with people. It teaches good business etiquette, which you absolutely need for managing and working with people.” – AJ

3. Don’t forget your family

Being successful also means being happy. To be happy, you need to find the right balance for you between work and your personal/family life. Time is arguably the most valuable thing you have because you can’t get it back. This is especially true if you have kids. Don’t forget your family, because all the customers and money in the world can’t replace lost time with your family.

     “I used to travel a lot more for business. I’ve reduced my travel schedule so I can balance my family time because travelling for work poses too much of a negative affect on my family. There will be more time to travel in a few years when they’re older. I also let my kids’ structure dictate mine. By working around them, I have more time to be with them. And I have my office on the main floor so even while I’m working, I can still be with my family instead of secluded away.” – AJ

4. Hire Good People

Good people are part of the foundation of your business. But what do we mean by “good people”? We’re talking about people that have a good work ethic, people you feel comfortable working with on a one-on-one basis, ones you have a good rapport with (you “click with” so to speak), and that are trustworthy, on top of being competent in their field. And when you’re just starting out, it’s better to have people that are more of “generalists” than “specialists”. In small business you need people that can do multiple things at the beginning instead of just focussed work. You need people that can wear a lot of hats.

5. Learn the art of selling

No matter what business you’re in, you’re in the job of selling. You’re either selling yourself, selling your products, or selling your services. To be a good sales person you need to appreciate and learn the art of selling. Some people are naturally good at selling, while others take a while to learn. Either way, take steps to become a better sales person. Attend a seminar, read some books, or jump into a sales job where you can learn how to feel comfortable with rejection and know how to sell. It’s better to learn this before you start a business than after you’ve already jumped in.

6. Dream

Your imagination gives you energy. Spend some time dreaming about the future. Some people call this planning, but this is more about the “what” than the  “how”. Let your imagination flow about what you enjoy doing and how you enjoy doing it. It will help inspire and motivate you to get to the next step and to keep pushing through the inevitable obstacles you face while running your own business.

7. Structure your business around what you love to do

This is the most important advice of all. If you want to be happy and have a successful business, structure it in a way that allows you to spend the majority of your time doing what you love. Otherwise you’ll end up wasting your time doing things you hate and resent what you’ve built.

“I like making things. It’s where I can be creative and get inspired. So I’ve hired people to handle the ‘managing’ side so I can enjoy doing more of what I love.” – AJ

Now that you’ve heard the advice worth sharing, spread this to others you know that have a startup or run a small business. And stay tuned for an upcoming post on pitfalls entrepreneurs should look out for.

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