When an entrepreneur brings on a business advisor, they often do so with the intention of gaining sound insight and advice—finding that “second opinion” that can help steer their business in the right direction. But, many times, an advisor turns into something more: a true mentor who can offer guidance, support, motivation and understanding when times get tough, as well as the advice needed to help get you back on your feet.
When thinking about the advice from their own business advisors, the members of Young Entrepreneur Council have a few key tips that come to mind. Below, each member shares one piece of sage wisdom their business advisor gave them, and why they consider it to be one of the best pieces of advice they’ve ever received.
Young Entrepreneur Council members discuss the best business advice they've heard.
1. Create A Business Plan
As a bootstrapped entrepreneur in the digital space, I thought this was the most ridiculous advice. The industry is unpredictable and changes at unfathomable speeds. I listened and did it anyway (after being an entrepreneur for eight-plus years already) and the discoveries were mind-blowing. Going through the process of building a business plan and making projections helped me envision what the company could grow to. Once you have this mapped out, you start to picture what it would take to grow it five, 10 or 30 times. This helps you focus on the right things and fast-tracks your progress significantly. I realized that the No. 1 driver of success for our media company was content output, which led to systemization and faster hiring instead of us tinkering with ads or monetization. - Karl Kangur, Above House
2. Hustle And Network In Order To Succeed
You won't succeed unless you hustle. You may be the smartest person in the room, with the best ideas and work ethic, but if you don't hustle, you won't grow. Prior to this, I believed that working hard was enough to thrive. However, my mentor helped me see that I had to find areas that were challenging for me and work on breaking through those limitations. As an introvert, I find it hard to reach out to people and pitch my product or ask for help. I learned through my advisor that hustling, networking and positioning myself in front of others could only lead to growth and success. -Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker
3. Picture Your Business Like A Workhorse
Although we like to think of businesses as our "babies," the truth is, our businesses are meant to provide for us (not the other way around). Picturing your business more like a workhorse or mule can shift your mindset and transform how you manage the business. You should not be constantly paying into the business to make ends meet or be left starving after expenses. Lack of proper planning or market research often leads to owners launching without adequate knowledge of the time, effort and funds needed to make the business successful. Your business needs to work for you, but you need to put in the pre-work to ensure you're creating (and protecting) a profitable business for the long term. - Lauren Marsicano, Marsicano + Leyva PLLC
4. Listen To What Your Customers Need
One of the best pieces of advice I got early on is to listen to your customers. Making your product stand out in a market that doesn't need it is like swimming against the current: If you do it, your brand will inevitably struggle to grow. Don't try to change your customers' idea of what they need. Instead, listen to them and create offerings that truly solve their problems. - Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS
5. Focus On A Niche Market
We are a professional services firm, and before we found our niche, we were offering a wide variety of services, similar to our competitors. The advice I received was to: 1. Print the list of all your clients that you’ve served in the past year. Review the list and mark those clients that you've enjoyed working with. 2. Analyze what is common between these clients and their needs. What makes that commonality different from the market at large? 3. Design a service package that addresses the unique needs of these clients. Eliminate all other services. Focus on a very narrow segment of clients whom you love serving. Adjust your marketing and service delivery standards to meet their demands and charge premium fees for your services. This strategy did miracles for our organization. - Feruza Djamalova, Sobirovs Law Firm
6. Talk To Those Who Have Done It
Reach out and talk to people who have already accomplished or done that which you are trying to do! I can't tell you how many entrepreneurs I've seen attempt to solve a challenging problem or navigate a difficult situation either by toiling away in silence, grinding it out night after night or by reading every business book they can, not appreciating that many are nothing more than an extended sales pitch. You'll save yourself an unbelievable amount of time, heartache and money by simply picking up the phone. Don't assume successful people are too busy to take your call. Nothing has had a bigger impact on my business life than following this simple piece of advice. - Ben Landers, Blue Corona
7. Ask How You Can Help
Instead of focusing on what you need, get into the habit of asking, “How can I help you?” By asking others how you can help them, you will show that you genuinely care about them and would like to add value to their lives. In return, most people will want to look for ways they can help you. You will be amazed by how much you help yourself by asking others how you can help them first. - Doug Bend, Bend Law Group, PC
8. Think Long Term
The best piece of advice I ever received from one of my business advisors was to always be thinking long term. When you're busy running a business, it's easy to get lost in the day-to-day grind and forget the bigger picture. Therefore, it's essential to always pause and take a step back to think about where your business will be in the future if you choose option A or B. This advice has helped me focus my decision-making, leading to many benefits for my business in the long run—not just in the short term. By always thinking long term, my business has continually evolved and grown, making it an essential element of my success. - Richard Fong, Assured Standard
9. Ditch Perfectionism
“Ditch perfectionism” is the best piece of advice I’ve received, and it has had a great impact not only on my business, but also on my personal life. Perfectionists are slow-paced when it comes to checking tasks off their to-do lists. As a result, things rarely get past the drawing board. Work keeps piling up and you have to deal with higher stress levels. This not only hinders your professional growth, but it also disrupts your work-life balance. The solution? You have to keep the needle moving. This is what that advice taught me, and I haven't stopped since. - Jared Atchison, WPForms
10. Invest In Yourself
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received from a business advisor was to always invest in myself. This meant continuing my education and learning new things in order to stay ahead of the competition. Not only did this advice help me professionally, but it also helped me grow as a person. Learn. Share. Grow. - Candice Georgiadis, Digital Day
Membership is open to businesses and organizations interested in increasing visibility and brand awareness in Westchester County and surrounding areas.