5 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Make it Through the Holiday Season Unscathed

The holiday season comes with a myriad of added stressors for entrepreneurs: holiday parties to plan or attend, family obligations, budgetary stressors, and staff desirous of both time off and holiday bonuses. You may wish to have it all, but count it as a victory if you make it through the holiday season relatively unscathed.

Here are 5 ways to help you survive the holiday mayhem.

Holiday Tips for Entrepreneurs

1. Plan Ahead

Scheduling for yourself, your family, and any employees can be one of the toughest parts of the holiday season. So plan ahead and stay coordinated. Shared calendars through free apps, such as Google Calendar, can help you have a color-coordinated plan for all of the various demands on your schedule, linked to the other people who need to see it.

2. Learn to Say “No”

As the demands on your schedule start to pile up, balance your schedule and prioritize: saying “no” is okay. So is delegating and asking for help. Deputize someone else to represent you at some of the events you might attend, or at least have someone else do the coordinating for you so that you just show up, make your appearance, and go.

3. Schedule “Me Time”

Don’t let your schedule get so full that you do not take care of yourself. The winter might be flu season for lack of sunshine and such close proximity indoors, but it likely also has something to do with stress and a lack of self-care.

As you plan your schedule, be sure that you also:

  • Get plenty of sleep, or make up for it soon after having to go short
  • Get regular exercise
  • Eat well and drink plenty of water
  • Refrain from excessive (or any) alcohol
  • Schedule time to relax

4. Stay on Budget

Part of your planning for the holidays will need to be your financial planning. A holiday budget is a crucial part of surviving the holidays since overspending can take months or more to recover. Ideally, you plan ahead and save a little at a time, leading up to the holiday season, so that when you go to give holiday bonuses or buy gifts, that money is already there. In some businesses, you can also boost holiday sales, making it easier to meet the financial demands of the season.

Whatever your plan, be sure that it includes staying on budget.

5. Learn How to Relax after Stress

Be it the stress of the end of the day, or the stress of an entire season, it’s important to learn healthy ways to unwind after work. Too often people equate relaxation with vegetating on the couch watching television, scrolling through social media, or having a drink to relax, but those methods are not how to relax after a stressful day at work since, in the long run, they can increase your stress (physically and emotionally).

Here are some other ideas to consider:

  • Go for a walk
  • Get some other form of exercise
  • Talk to a friend
  • Sit at the table and do a puzzle with family
  • Participate in a paint night
  • Walk through a small town and window shop
  • Listen to carolers
  • Drive around looking at holiday lights
  • Take up a new hobby
  • Start back at a former hobby
  • Write in your journal
  • Read a book
  • Cook the favorite dish you ever had at a restaurant

There are really countless ways to unwind after a stressful day. Put your plan on your schedule and then stick with it. If you make these tips part of your holiday plan, you may find yourself not only surviving the holiday season unscathed but also enjoying yourself and the merriment much more.

5 Ways to Find Investors Who Support Entrepreneurs in Recovery

Recovery involves so many changes, from health and lifestyle changes, to how we spend our time; it’s not unusual for someone to channel all of that change and energy into starting their own business. If you’ve ever dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur, you are ready to be your own boss, or you have an idea for a startup business, your next step might be to secure financing.

Here are 5 ways to find investors who support entrepreneurs in recovery.

1. Get Social

Professional networking can help you meet potential business partners, mentors, or other valuable connections, such as investors. Put yourself out there, and you might find that there are investors seeking someone just like you.

  • Attend local Chamber of Commerce events to meet other business owners in your community.
  • Get on LinkedIn and other professional social media sites.
  • Have a webpage, a Facebook page, and start blogging weekly–get data about your business and your business idea out in the digital world.
  • If there are trade shows for your business, start attending and meeting peers and professionals in that way.

Professional networking will help you develop a reputation, not as an “addict in recovery,” but as an entrepreneur–be known for what you want to be known for and get noticed. Develop your personal brand while you grow your business.

2. Family

The idea of borrowing from family can go either way–some people love the idea and others find it abhorrent. Here’s how to find the balance.

You don’t want a loan for your business to cause stress to a family relationship, and yet your family might be the ones who believe in you most. So, if you decide to approach family members for a business loan, make sure that you treat them the same way you would any investor: present your business model and strategies, have clear investment and/or loan repayment terms, and, if it is an investment, make it clear that they could lose their money.

If you are fortunate enough to have family members with the resources and the faith in you, they can be excellent first investors.

3. Crowdsourcing

Crowdfunding and crowdsourcing for small businesses have really taken off in recent years. There are many sites to choose from–Indiegogo, Kickstarter, RocketHub, OurCrowd, to name a few–each with a different focus. With each site, you’ll also pay a percentage of what you raise to the site itself (with some exceptions for non-profits), so you really want to check out each site and find the one that suits your business model best.

Crowdsourcing lets investors choose their level of support, no matter how small.

4. Small Business Loan

Investors generally want a stake in your business, but loans need to be paid back. Each has advantages and disadvantages. If you would rather borrow money and pay it back, instead of relinquishing control of some part of your business, a small business loan may be the way to go.

Loans for businesses often require collateral, and you also want to understand the terms and how they affect both your business and your personal finances.

5. Incubators and Accelerators

Some types of investors, known as incubators and accelerators, focus on growing startup businesses. Many of these opportunities, in larger cities or even online, give you access to mentorship and support, as well as the finances to get going and get growing.

How to Be an Entrepreneur

Being an entrepreneur can be challenging. There are days when you’ll question everything about your business. There are times you’ll have 100 asks for every 1 “yes.” But persist. You’ll find the support and resources to keep going and be an entrepreneur.

Small Businesses: How to Use the Fall Season to Drive Your Holiday Sales

Autumn is here. For many parts of the country, that means leaves change color and temperatures cool. For others, it means palm trees, but perhaps less sweltering temperatures. For some, fall means pumpkin spice everything. For others, those words induce sniggers (or shivers down your spine).

For some small businesses, autumn is the busiest time of year, and you can capitalize on that to ride a tide of success through winter. For others, fall is slower.

So whether or not you are the type of small business owner to enjoy pumpkin spice Jell-O and Pop-tarts, you can use the fall season to drive your holiday sales.

If Fall is Super Busy

For many businesses, fall is the most hectic and busy time of year. Summer can mean changes in schedule and business habits, kids out of school and vacations, but with September oft comes a return to routine–including spending.

If fall is when both your employees (if you have any) and customers are ready to return to work and business, you can maximize the season to drive your holiday sales.

  • Communicate to customers – Send out an hours reminder, a “welcome back to school” notice, an end-of-summer stock sale, or other communication to your client base. Just because sales are going up, doesn’t mean it’s a time to hunker down and neglect communicating to others who might just be looking for that little nudge to bring them in the door.
  • Stay on top of details – Staying up-to-date on your bills, reaching out to suppliers about upcoming holiday inventory, even still opening your mail, can get a little challenging in a busy time of year for a small business. Keeping up with the details, though, will help you continue to prosper through the holiday sales season, instead of getting overwhelmed when those piles stack up.
  • Prepare for a rainy (or snowy) day – If fall has really picked up sales, it’s tempting to start paying down credit cards or loans, giving yourself a quarterly bonus, or otherwise spending. Spending when sales first go way up is actually a great idea, if that spending is paying off where you owe. But don’t forget to also invest in that snowy day.

If Fall is Slower

If things start to slow down for you in the autumn season, it’s a great time to drive up sales, that may come in over the next few months. Get busy, take action! Some common ways to drive small business revenue in the fall include:

  • Networking – Attending community events, taking a client out for a lunch, attending trade shows, and otherwise getting busy in your client relations and networking opportunities can help drive up winter sales.
  • Marketing – Develop and start implementing your holiday marketing strategy. Just as retail stores started putting out Christmas inventory as soon as Halloween ended, getting your holiday plans together now and out at the right time can help bring in that revenue earlier.
  • Stay busy – Relaxing after a busy summer or a rest in anticipation of a busy winter can make fall the start of a disastrous holiday sales season. Take a good look at successful strategies from past years. What were your best fall plans that led to successful holiday sales? It’s time to stay busy by re-implementing what worked and keeping you and your team (again, if you have one) productive.

Have the Best Holiday Ever

Small changes can make a big impact. So take a look at what works (and has worked) for your company, capitalize on the sales and experiences you have during autumn, and you can use the fall season to have the best holiday sales ever.

Signs of Complacency in Employees

Do you feel like your employees might be becoming complacent?  Do you feel as though your team is not performing as well as it could be or as well as they have performed in the past?  Does your staff seem a little bit underachieving at this time?

This blog post will talk about the phenomena of complacency in employees and will go over the various signs and manifestations of complacency in your staff.  We will discuss the different signs of complacency on a team, and we will also touch on ways and means for addressing complacency in a team of workers.

Complacency in the Workplace

Complacency in the workplace.  This is every manager’s, foreman’s, forewoman’s, supervisor’s, boss’s, CEO’s, and head honcho’s number one fear in the workplace.  Complacency and an unwillingness to give it your all.  More so than anything else this right here is the death note of any business.  As soon as employees start to get complacent, business statistics plummet, sales drop, morale drops, revenue goes down, and risk factors for layoffs and terminations go up.  Another thing that happens when employees get complacent is that the competition then just jumps ahead and takes up more market space and more potential business from you and from your company.

So how do you handle complacent employees and workplace complacency?  The answer and the way out of this troubling crisis is a simple one and an important one.  To address workplace complacency, you want to do things like:

  1. Provide incentives within the team to increase production.  In the sales offices of any of the businesses that I own, one of the things that I like to do to address complacency and to get rid of it is to provide incentives and fun games and projects to increase my sales’ staff morale.  This always works.  When I see the morale starting to go down, I will start a bonus game and give out bonuses to staff who make certain targets.  This always gets the morale up and removes complacency from my team.
  2. Another way that I address complacency is by going over our products and services with our employees, and sort of giving them a morale booster on why they are there selling and providing those specific products and services.  A lot of times, people need a reminder of why they are in some organization or why they are doing what they are doing.  A little friendly boost in this direction goes miles towards helping to remove complacency.
  3. Yet another way to address complacency is a little more tricky.  What I have found nine times out of ten is that complacency comes from a specific person, not from the whole group.  Nine times out of ten, there is or are one or two people in the entire group that get complacent first, and then that complacency spreads and these individuals sort of bring everyone else around them down.  So if the above techniques are not working, I will often simply address the one or two individuals who I view to be the source of it all and I will confront them personally about it.  I will very kindly but very firmly demand that they change their attitude for the better.  This usually works and the whole group ends up benefiting as a result.

These are just three of my tips and tricks for addressing complacency.  This is not something that any workplace should have to deal with and it is a real shame when it does come up.  But follow the above tips and you will do fine.

5 Tips for Coping with Criticism in the Workplace

The workplace is a tricky factor of American society.  This is a place where people sometimes do really well, and sometimes they struggle.  The workplace is without a doubt one of the most important aspects of American society, and it is something that we can all work on more.

One of the factors of the workplace that I would really like to see change is criticism in the workplace.  I get that work can be stressful sometimes, but that is no reason to be critical towards others.  In fact, criticism in the workplace, no matter who it is delivered to and who its source is, has absolutely no value or merit of any kind.  I strongly come down hard on criticism in my businesses, and I would love to see criticism totally removed from all workplaces.

Now, this is not to say that I do not believe in correcting wrong actions, or that I do not believe in addressing a negative situation and in using disciplinary actions when it is necessary to use them.  I do believe in that.  However, criticism is totally unnecessary.

Let’s take a look at the definition of criticism as the dictionary puts it:

  • “The expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes, or the act of finding fault; censure; disapproval.”

How does that fit in at the workplace?  If an employee is doing something wrong, you point out the wrong action, show them how to do it correctly, and politely ask them to start doing it correctly.  It’s as simple as that.  Being critical towards people has no place, merit, or really any kind of standing when it comes to helping people do a better job in the workplace, or even when it comes to addressing a non-optimum condition within the workplace.

Five Tips for Pushing Past Criticism

Let’s say that, despite your efforts, you still cannot seem to totally remove criticism from the workplace.  Here are some tips for succeeding in this process:

  1. Don’t be defensive about it.  If you truly create belief in the idea that criticism has no place in the workplace, then your focus needs to be on removing the criticism, not defending yourself from it.  Seek to tackle the person on the subject of criticism, or go to their boss.  If the person you are getting criticism from is your boss, then go talk to their boss.  If your boss is at the top of the food chain, then tackle them on it.  If that doesn’t work, then quit and go get a different job.  It’s just not worth it to accept criticism into your life.
  2. Maintain a positive attitude and focus on forward thinking, not negative thinking.  A positive attitude breeds positivity, and a negative attitude breeds negativity.  Be positive, and criticism is less likely to follow you.
  3. Just don’t acknowledge it.  If you aren’t up to tackling someone on their criticism, then just don’t even acknowledge it.  Don’t grant it recognition by talking to the person about it, even defensively.  Ignore the person’s comments.
  4. Bring it to the attention of the higher-ups.  If you are being criticized by a co-worker, then bring it the attention of the boss, who’s responsibility it is to reduce criticism in the workplace effectively.
  5. Don’t be critical yourself.  This might seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes we can be critical without even realizing it.  Be sure that you yourself are not in your own way being critical.

At the end of the day, the goal needs to be a total removal of criticism from the workplace.  If you want to talk about other ways to get rid of criticism, message me at my Per Wickstrom Facebook account.

6 Tips for Increasing Your Wealth Without Jeopardizing Your Health

Most of us want more in life.  It is pretty common, especially for business owners and entrepreneurs to want to get more or to want to achieve more, to want to accrue more wealth, and to want to succeed more and get more out of life.  And there’s nothing wrong with this either.  There is nothing wrong with not being satisfied with the status quo and with insisting on getting something better out of life.  That is totally fine I feel, and I, in fact, myself feel this way every day.

It is my sincerest belief that everyone out there should try to get more, should try to succeed more, and to try to take their lives to the next level, no matter what their goals are or what they are personally trying to accomplish in life.  I think it is a very worthy endeavor for people to work hard and to try to engage themselves and to try to get more out of life.  I think this is a natural response in human nature to try to and to want to get more out of life and to excel to greater and greater heights overall.

I do agree that there is such a thing as overworking, though I tend to disagree with most people on the subject of what is considered to be too much work and what is not too much work.  The way I see it, rather than working more or less, one simply needs to work smart and to do the smart thing when trying to engage themselves in a specific avenue or course of action.

How to Achieve Greater Wealth in Life Without Putting Your Life at Risk

Everyone wants to know how to make more money.  I’m pretty sure that that goes without saying.  More money is the desired concept here, and more and more people want that very badly.  To say the least, getting more money should be everyone’s goal, so they can provide more financial security and safety to their lives and to the lives of those who they care about.

Here are a few quick tips for how to make more money without jeopardizing your health:

  1. Get help from other people.  You have people who care about you, why not ask them to help you build your wealth?  Be it helping with a project, investing in an idea, or helping you with a physical project, your family is there to help you.
  2. Start working on it now.  Never procrastinate when you want to accomplish something.  Start working on making more money now.
  3. Revisit your taxes.  A great way to increase wealth is to simply pay fewer taxes.  As crazy as it sounds, re-looking at your taxes can save you thousands annually.
  4. Make your money work for you.  Make your cash actually earn you more cash, and do this by making wide investments in things that you know.  Never invest in something that you do not know.
  5. Take care of your health.  Your health is your number one priority.  Without it, no other area of your life will be able to survive very well.
  6. Rethink the future.  Really look into the future and figure out, by doing the math, how much money you need to make every month, week, day, etc. to make a certain amount by a certain time.  Putting it all on paper and actually doing the math will really help you figure out the details in the long run.

Ultimately, your decision is your own, and you can work towards more wealth in whatever way that you choose to do so.  Ultimately, this is the goal that you need to strive for, but you can strive for it however you see fit personally.

Stress at Work: How it’s Affecting Your Home Life

I’ve done a lot of thinking about the elusive “Work-Life Balance”.  How is it that a scant, five to ten percent of American workers seem to be able to shuffle a huge amount of work and still have great personal lives?  In my experience, the majority of American workers fall into one of two categories:

  1. Focuses on work, work, work.  Excels in work.  Climbs the corporate ladder and makes big money.  Fails to have a really great social life.  Family life is fair to midland at best.  Doesn’t have a phenomenal relationship with kids and bond with a spouse is just “functional.”
  1. Great family person.  Has a wonderful relationship with the kids and the spouse.  Involved in many community activities.  Has hobbies.  Goes on trips and spends time with family and friends.  Barely makes it in the business world though.  Middle-class income level at best.  Punches a nine to five and doesn’t really do much more than that.  Makes enough money to provide for the family’s basic necessities and that’s all.

Why does a person have to choose between one or the other?  Why can’t someone do both?  Why is it that when a person works really hard and tries to excel at work and gets stressed out does it then come back and bite the person when they are at home?  Why does a person suffer or not advance at work, simply because that person is so focused on spending time with their family?  I don’t like nor do I approve of this arrangement at all.

How NOT to Get Stressed Out

I don’t want you to be stressed out at work.  I don’t want you to be stressed out anywhere.  I have some tips for you and perhaps some things that you can apply to your day to day life that will make your work a little less stressful, and that will thusly make your home life a little more enjoyable too:

  • When you are work, work.  Want to know the single most important tool that the really successful people do that makes them so successful?  They work so hard.  They don’t just punch the clock and “get through the day.”  Oh no, when they are at work they are always working, finishing projects, moving quickly, working while they eat, working while they commute, work, work, work.
  • On the same token, successful people do not become totally engrossed in their work 24/7.  Don’t take your work home with you!  Focus on not how many hours a week you work, but on how much you actually get done in those hours.
  • Successful people engage their free time in exciting and exhilarating activities.  Successful, stress-free people go to the gym instead of watch TV.  Successful and stress-free people get out and about and go for walks with their families rather than play video games.  Successful people take day trips on the weekend instead of stay at home.  Successful people work on home improvement projects in their free time instead of sitting around.  Being active in your home life is a key to not only beating stress but to also feeling more energized and more pumped for when it does become time to get back to work again.
  • Successful people and stress-free people do not get distracted easily.  When they are at work, they work.  When they are at home, they are at home with their families and loved ones.  Keep the two separated.  That is key.  Stress comes from dragging your home life into your work, and your work life into your home.  Just keep them separated!

A More Successful, Happier Life

Get your family to support you.  Get your co-workers and superiors to see you as a valuable asset to the business.  Do these things and you will be successful in the long run.  Just make it go right to really excel in the things that you do and you will be quite ready and quite capable of winning time and time again in both your life at home and in your life at work.

4 Must-Do’s When Dealing With a Negative Employee

According to Gallup Poll, 70 percent of Americans dislike their job. This means a lot of employees are unhappy and unfortunately, this unhappiness can get taken out on you, their boss or supervisor. However, despite their attitude, you have to keep your cool and set a good example. Here are four things you should do when you have to deal with a negative employee.

Communicate Clearly and Effectively

Every workplace and environment has that one employee that nobody cares for because of their constant negativity. They may criticize everyone and everything. When that employee does something you do not like or appreciate then make sure you convey your message to them clearly and concisely. Communication is the key to nipping this problem in the bud. Do not dance around the issue and do not take a joking or nonchalant attitude. It sends the wrong message. Be clear, concise and straight to the point.

Keep Your Conversation Private

When you have to speak to an employee about their negative attitude, you need to keep your conversation private. Take them into your office or a private conference room. Talking to them within ear shot of others is unprofessional and can make the employee feel belittled and ashamed, which will do nothing to help their morale.

Get to the Root of the Problem and Make a Genuine Effort to Resolve It

If an employee is being negative, there is something about their job that they dislike or that is bothering them. Get to the root of the problem and figure out what the issue is. They may feel unappreciated, be improperly trained, or may feel undervalued. Regardless, letting them air their issues and genuinely making an attempt to fix anything that you possibly can should help to resolve their attitude, improve their work efficiency and improve office morale.

Document Everything

Unfortunately, despite your best efforts to change a negative employee, the employee may simply not want to change. If it is bringing the office down, you may eventually have to let them go. As such, anytime you have to talk to them about their attitude or behavior, be sure to document it. This ensures that should you have to let them go, there is documentation to support your decision, and decreases the likelihood of them filing a lawsuit for improper work dismissal or harassment.

As a boss or supervisor, it can be challenging to deal with a negative employee. Sometimes you may feel like yelling back at them or pounding your head against a wall. However, no matter how difficult they are, you have to keep your cool when dealing with that person. Learning to communicate clearly and effectively, dealing with the employee in private, getting to the root of the problem and documenting everything in case you have to let the employee go helps you deal with this touchy situation.

How to Remain Focused in a Hectic Work Environment

Most people encounter a time during work when the situation becomes too chaotic to handle normally. There may be too much work, not enough time to complete it comfortably, too many people present to work or too much noise and movement. Fortunately, there are many ways workers can escape the burden of a hectic work environment.

Keep Your Final Goals in Mind

One of the easiest ways to be taken off track is to lose sight of the purpose of your current task. Reverting back to the mindset you had before engaging in the task can help put things into perspective. It may help to remind yourself of the goals you are out to achieve even when the surroundings are disorganized. Some people go so far as to imagine the feelings of fulfillment they will have once a project is complete. Closing your eyes and smiling at the thought of completion can help reduce some of the stress surrounding the situation.

Isolate Yourself if Necessary

Being in the presence of others can make completing a task that much more difficult. Find a hidden corner or unused quiet area and go to work. Acquiring private space isn’t always possible in some situations, but solitude can be the best motivator during a project when available. Though the environment may be hectic, you do not have to be subjected to a congested workspace flooded with co-workers. Even in crowded space, something as simple as a partition on your desk can help you avoid the extra tension or distraction others bring to the environment.

Set Deadlines for Yourself

Any project you undertake likely has its own deadline for completion set by your superiors. To meet those deadlines in a more efficient manner, consider creating your own checkpoints along the way. Setting smaller deadlines for each part of the task helps to progress through the overall project more fluidly. You will feel accomplished each time you reach a goal before your determined deadline, and this will likely make you feel more confident about your ability to finish the entire task.

Split Big Tasks Into Smaller Chunks

In order to set mini-deadlines, you must be able to see the task being broken up into smaller bits. This can take some of the pressure off while also boosting your confidence. By accomplishing one “bit” at a time, you can finish a task sooner than you expect. Make a personal acknowledgment every time you overcome one of these smaller portions to add relief. Feeling stuck in a project often comes after not having a detailed plan of how to start it or how to get from one step to the next. If you feel unproductive, this may discourage you and further hamper your progress.

Get Assistance From Others

In may be a good idea to ask for assistance from other people if a project seems too difficult. Many people feel less confident when assigned to a task alone, and they fear the consequences of any mistakes for which they will have to take full responsibility. This fear is exacerbated when the worker has little or no experience in the area in which they are assigned. There is no flaw in asking others to come along when necessary. Succeeding with help is better than failing on your own, and your partner may even take joy in the opportunity to learn from the knowledge and skills you are able to bring to the table.

Make Lists

Writing a list is one of the most beneficial ways of staying organized in everyday life. In the workplace, lists make duties tangible. If tasks seem more realistic, you may feel more inclined to find various ways to tackle them. If a task remains only as a thought, it can simply be pushed aside in the mind. Looking at your goals on paper (or a computer screen) helps them pop out at you and make them unavoidable. You will be less likely to waste time or procrastinate when your eye suddenly lands on the list.

Sort Tasks by Priority or Difficulty

Prioritize your tasks to organize them even further. Rank them according to complexity, and choose which method you plan to take to make the experience more comfortable to you. Some people start with the less complicated tasks to boost their confidence. Other people start with larger tasks and work their way down to the simple ones to make the process easier along the way. It has been shown that the first hour at work is the most productive one, so many will benefit from utilizing all of the built-up energy as soon as possible.

Periodically Give Yourself Rewards

Give a reward after each accomplishment. Establishing a personal reward system helps to relieve stress while also renewing your psychological efforts to initiate tasks. Rewarding yourself acts as motivation to continue completing subsequent parts of the work. Decide on which duties need to be completed before a reward is given, and hold out on the experience until all duties for that reward are finished. It takes will power to prolong the access to gratification until each part of the task is complete, but the gratification is well-appreciated this way because it is earned.

Accept Defeat

You may still find yourself unable to successfully complete a task even when motivation and effort are there. Sometimes workers are just not capable of completing the work given to them. You should realize when you are in over your head and accept the reality of the situation. Inform your superior that the task is bigger than you can personally handle, and she or he will likely understand and match you to a more suitable task.

Chaotic moments are inevitable in any career, but they do not have to be a disruption in productivity. While remaining focused in the midst of busy surroundings is normally quite difficult, it is not impossible if you analyze your unique situation and plan accordingly.

10 Most Valued Pieces of Advice for Entrepreneurs

The path of the entrepreneur is a notoriously difficult one. It is not easy to build a successful enterprise and no one does it without help. That help often comes in the form of good advice. The key to success often comes from being willing to recognize and follow that good advice. Here is some of the most valuable advice for entrepreneurs from some of the world’s most successful business people:

Remember the Importance of Time

Time is your most important resource, which means that you will have to give it careful consideration. Consider how you are managing your time and how your staff is managing theirs. Do not waste their time or the time of your customers. Time management includes knowing how to delegate so that you can find time away from work. According to Elizabeth Gore of the United Nations Foundation, you should figure out which tasks only you can perform and let someone else do all the rest. Remember just how short each day is and that wasted time is the one thing that you can never get back.

Focus

Avoid distractions from your path. To be successful, you will have to stay on track and concentrate on what you do best. This can mean finding the one area where they are most likely to succeed. It is very easy for smaller companies to fall into the trap of trying to do too much, especially since their leadership may not be confident about where the company is going. According to CEO of 5 Acre Farms Dan Horan, simplicity is everything. Instead of trying to please everyone and spreading yourself too thin, find a simple formula and stick to it.

Stay Scared

Sara Rotman of MODco says that you should stay hungry and avoid being comfortable. Comfort is the enemy of success. It is a good idea to only keep enough cash on hand to barely get by, that way you stay hungry and stay scared. This is important especially in the beginning. Fear can force you into making greater strides towards success and growth. Use your fear to help you to prepare better and to take action.

Seek Out Mentors

Richard Branson says that you should find yourself a mentor. Seek out the best mentors and surround yourself with them. The right mentors can help you through every stage of your career. They can speed up the growth of your business considerably by helping you to avoid mistakes. They can also help you to understand the challenges that you will face. Remember, there is nothing wrong with asking for help. You can find a mentor by looking for someone who is older than you are and whose business acumen you respect. The age is important since it allows you to benefit from that person’s experience and perspective.

Hire Well

While it may be tempting to hire friends and family, this is something that should be avoided. Virgin’s founder Richard Branson has said that nepotism is potentially “a serious mistake.” If they fail to perform well, asking them to leave will strain your relationship outside of work. Hire people who share your vision and who can take on some of your responsibilities. These should be people who you know will manage those responsibilities as well as you would. Fill positions with qualified experienced people who you can trust to maximize productivity and give your business its best shot at success.

Being First is Not Necessary

Many new entrepreneurs think they need to be first to win; however, companies like Facebook and Google have shown that this is not necessary at all. Twitter founder jack Dorsey says that being the best is more important than being first. The fact is that if you are too early in the marketplace, you leave the door open for someone else to come in and improve upon what you have done.

Forget “Luck”

David Friedberg founded the Climate Corporation; he says that you should avoid luck. When you “get lucky,” it is because you gambled. You had no idea what was going to happen and therefore the outcome was uncertain. When you plan properly, then you know what the likelihood of a certain outcome is and significantly lower the risk. Success is the product of proper planning, of learning and of thinking ahead. It is not possible to predict the future all of the time, but it is possible to mitigate potential bad outcomes.

Focus on What You Love

It may sound cliché but successful entrepreneurs from Oprah Winfrey to Daymond John of FUBU have emphasized the importance of focusing your career on the things that make you happy. Pursuing what you love ensures that you put the required energy and time into your work. Working on what makes you happy forces you to form your own priorities and not work on what others think is important.

Become a Workaholic

The old Thomas Edison quote about genius being one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration is not wrong; in fact, it was exactly right and still holds true today. Hard work is what will make your company successful. Ultimately, being a workaholic is one of the more telling indicators of future success. It is common to hear people say “work smarter, not harder.” As an entrepreneur you have to do both, work smarter and harder.

Listen to Learn

Terry Reiser of TAG Creative says that the best advice she ever received was to listen. Listening helps you to learn what people really think and really want. This allows you to move forward with the confidence that you are doing the right thing. Never assume that there is nothing more for you to learn. Listen to your customers and to your vendors as well as to your employees.