25 tips by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs

Ready to leave your job behind and become your own boss? It takes a certain kind of person to make it through the first few years. To help you along, we’ve culled the best tips from our own members – people with years’ of experience in running their own businesses.

  1. Don’t work for less than you can afford to, but do offer a discount to customers or clients who sign contracts with you.
  2. Find people who will refer jobs to you. If they send you nightmare jobs, make sure they’re balanced out with rewarding (profitable!) ones.
  3. Surround yourself with supportive people and don’t be discouraged by anyone. If your idea is good and you’re determined to stick with it through the first few difficult years, your chances of success are great.
  4. Be flexible in your thinking. Prepare to change the way you work, the products you use and the services you offer, in order to meet the demands of your customers.
  5. Admit your mistakes, correct them and carry on.(For example, if you purchase a piece of equipment that does not meet your expectations, send it back, sell it or exchange it!)
  6. Develop a good relationship with your bank manager and creditors. Show a genuine interest in solving problems. Pay as much as you can afford to, to everyone to whom you owe money.
  7. Get trained! You’ll be spending a lot of time doing things that have nothing to do with your area of expertise, like bookkeeping, marketing, and IT support!
  8. Avoid isolation. Even if you work closely with your clients, you won’t be part of a gang anymore. Develop your own network of entrepreneurs that you see regularly and bounce ideas off. Ideally they’ll allow you to vent your anger and share your successes.
  9. Separate your work and personal life. Set your working hours and stick to a strict timetable. When you’re not available to clients, leave a message on your answer machine letting them know when they can expect a reply from you. Let them know how to reach you in an emergency.
  10. Plan some ‘thinking time’ into every day. If you pack your diary with back-to-back activities, your business will never grow.

See full list >

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