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Start Your Business Entrepreneurs

10 Entrepreneurs Share Must-Know Tips for New Founders

10 Entrepreneurs Share Must-Know Tips for New Founders
Credit: Gajus/Shutterstock

When you're getting ready to start a business, you may think all you need is a great idea and the cash to make it happen. This is a good place to start, but there are so many other elements to startup success that entrepreneurs tend to overlook when they're caught up in the excitement of a launch. Ten successful startup founders and executives shared the best tips they believe every aspiring entrepreneur should know before starting a business.

"Commit to mastery, to becoming a learning machine.You don't need only one tool or skill to build a house or building. You don't need to be the best at all of them, but you need to understand them." — Ney Torres, CEO of CarFootprints.com

"The real number-one skill is raising money. It is a risky and ill-advised plan to use all your own money and credit on a new venture. Hot on the heels of fundraising is sales skills, particularly the willingness to ask for the order. Without sales skills, personal and business, the venture will go nowhere, and not much capital will be raised, either." — Anthony Humpage, CEO of Rich Dad Education [Beating the Odds: 4 Steps to Startup Success]

"Most small businesses require the same functions to be done as a large company. It's just the entrepreneur who plays all the roles. That's why it's so important to take an inventory of the specific business processes that are not critical to your business's core competencies, like bookkeeping and financial reporting, and consider outsourcing them to an outside firm. This gives entrepreneurs more time to focus on the things that matter to them the most — growing their business."Keith Mueller, CEO of BookKeeping Express Enterprises

"Know the laws, industry standards and guidelines, and competitive market in the business that one is opening." — Stan Bril, founder and CEO of MCG

"Entrepreneurial success demands the same discipline, grit and vision needed to be a world-class athlete. Confidence is the key to all locks. The critical step after that is taking action. Successful athletes and entrepreneurs do not overanalyze, nor do they have time to wait. They take action. Our five steps to success are focus, accountability, persist without exception, exceed results and have a true sense of urgency." — Steve Saunders, founder and president of Power Train

"The most important thing a person needs to know before starting a business is, 'If I build it, will anyone buy it?' In other words, does a market exist — or will exist in the near future — for what you intend to sell? The most common cause of startup death is running out of cash, but this is only [a] symptom. The root cause is you've made something no one wants, and as a result, you cannot grow using cash flow or raise funding for your business. The best way to find out if a market exists is to test the waters before committing to a full build. This can be done ... by polling potential customers, collecting preorders or indications of interest, [or] crowdfunding." —Nathan Beckord, CEO of Foundersuite

"Know who your customers are and how you plan to reach them. All too often, would-be entrepreneurs create companies without thinking about if there is an audience or a need. If there is a demand and market, be prepared to spend twice as much and twice as long to reach them as you thought it would." — Brett Jacobson, CEO of Lottolotto

"A business exists to deliver value for a segment of society while creating returns for its shareholders. The best measure of how well a business does [in achieving] that goal is net income. Ensure the basics, that is, revenue to expenses, will give you healthy profits. Forecast it, measure it, ensure it." — Aamir Baig, founder of Bryght.com

"Be prepared for your business to take twice as long as you planned. Remain open-minded to facing challenges that you never saw coming, as perseverance is the hallmark of a successful entrepreneur." — Ben Kusin, co-founder of Reviver Clothing Swipes

"I believe that the most important thing to know before starting a business is to identify an opportunity and have passion, as well as determination, for what you do. One must have an outstanding level of commitment and consistency."— David Ben-Zikry, co-founder of Spring Step Shoes

Nicole Fallon
Nicole Fallon

Nicole Fallon received her Bachelor's degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the assistant editor. Reach her by email, or follow her on Twitter.