Advice for Startups from 13 Successful Entrepreneurs

By Tom Egelhoff

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

Success doesn’t happen overnight. Being fast or first is not enough. Entrepreneurial success depends on good foresight to make the best decisions.

Here are some amazing pieces of sound advice from those who have already faced and beaten the odds in this competitive business arena.

Sound Advice for Startups from 13 Top Entrepreneurs

Here are 13 pieces of advice from the top entrepreneurs of the biggest business industries today.

Learn from these timeless insights and see how you can also sustain and stay ahead in your business amid its ups and downs.

1. Take Mistakes in Stride – Tim Cook, CEO of Apple

“Let’s see what we can learn from it. We’re not going to bat a thousand. And we’re going to keep betting on great technologies for our customers.” 
Apple CEO Tim Cook famously said this when his company met an investment problem in 2014.

2. Being Comfortable is the Enemy – Sara Rotman, Founder of MODCo

Sara Rotman, the founder of ad agency MODCo, learned early in her career that to “stay hungry” is better than to stay comfortable. According to this advertising entrepreneur, whose clients include Vera Wang, True Religion, and Tory Burch, she found out that to stay proves “to be an incredibly important motivator during my entire career.”

“Being comfortable is the enemy. Staying hungry forces you to push yourself to continue to survive, grow, and evolve,” she says.

3. Don’t Give Up – Scott Adams, Creator of Dilbert

This may sound cliché but it really works when you talk about surviving in a cutthroat business like yours.

Ask Scott Adams, the creator of American satirical comic strip Dilbert, and you’ll find how not giving up on things that you are passionate about will ultimately pay off in the end.

“It required that one extra attempt, and that wouldn’t have happened without the best advice anybody ever gave me, which is don’t give up,” Adams says.

Today, Adam’s Dilbert comic is published online and in 2,000 newspapers in 25 languages around the globe after it had its debut in 1989.

4. There are No Shortcuts – Mark Cuban, Owner of the Dallas Mavericks

“Do the work. Out-work. Out-think. Out-sell your expectations. There are no shortcuts.”

This advice could be overwhelming, but since this came out from no less than billionaire businessman Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks, you can be sure that this is something you’d want to hear.

According to Cuban, he learned this advice from his father who also managed a car upholstery business way back in his high school years.

5. You are Who You Associate With – Tim Ferris, Author of  “The4-Hour Workweek”

“The best advice I ever got is: You’re the average of the five people you associate with the most,” says entrepreneur and author Tim Ferriss.

Ferriss says that he has taken this advice to heart and has his former high school wrestling coach to thank for it.

“I use it always, whether it’s choosing startups to invest in, choosing investors, sports teams to join, or people to have dinner with. Constantly, I think about this,” says the author of the best-selling book “The 4-Hour Workweek.”

6. Get into a Business Where You Can be a Big Fish – Marcus Lemonis, CEO of the Camping World

This idea is very simple, according to Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis.

He says that if you get into a business, make it sure that it is a kind of venture “where you can be a big fish, not the little fish.”

“Get into a business where you can be a change agent, where you can make a difference.”

Lemonis says that this formula “worked well” for him after learning it from the known American automobile executive Lido Anthony “Lee” Iacocca who engineered the Ford Mustang and Ford Pinto.

7. My Best Advice was an Insult – Barbara Corcoran, Founder of The Corcoran Group

An insult could either bring you up or down.  In the case of real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran, it can bring you somewhere up above the clouds.

“It’s kind of weird. The best advice was the worst advice,” says the founder of The Corcoran Group, New York’s largest real estate company.

“It was from my boyfriend and partner in my first business when he told me I would never succeed without him. I was injured, no doubt. But thank God he insulted me because I would not have built a big business without that. It kept me trying everything because I couldn’t give him the satisfaction of seeing me fail. So the best advice was an insult.”

8. See Every Detail of your Business – Jon Taffer, Owner and Chairman of Taffer Dynamics

“See every crack, every detail. I learned to really see and not just look at my business,” says restaurateur Jon Taffer.

This celebrated bar consultant, television host, and author believes that one doesn’t have to look at the big picture alone.  Jon Taffer believes that you also need to consider each and every detail in a business, no matter how tiny it is.

In his case, Taffer always takes a second look at every detail in his business–may it be the setting, light fixture, or even the customer exchange.

9. If You’re Not Being Told ‘No’ Constantly, You’re Not Pushing Hard Enough – CEO of NewsCred

Naysayers may be bad to hear but they are good when it comes to motivating you in pushing your boundaries.

NewsCred CEO Shafqat Islam says that hearing “no” from others is, for him, a good piece of advice for anybody starting a company.

“…If you’re not getting told ‘no’ enough times a day, you’re probably not doing it right or you’re probably not pushing yourself hard enough,” says the CEO of the leading content marketing solution company of the world’s best brands like Pepsi, Visa, Dell, ConAgra, and Hewlett Packard, among others.

“…I think that’s normal, that’s a good thing, that you’re trying to trying to do something that’s disruptive, that’s groundbreaking, that there’s going to be naysayers.”

10. Simplicity is Everything – Dan Horan, CEO of  5 Acre Farms

Simplify, simplify, simplify.

This is how a business model should be.

“It’s got to be simple, and sometimes to make something simple you have to really, really study everything about it. It might turn out to be complex, but you have to present it simply, particularly when it comes to people: when people buy something, they don’t want a lecture,” says 5 Acre Farms CEO Dan Horan.

11. Learn to Say ‘No’ and Focus on What You Do Best – Dane Atkinson, CEO of SumAll

SumAll CEO Dane Atkinson says that “saying ‘no’ to great ideas is necessary to get to the brilliant ones.”

“At every step of the way you have to cut towards one path. It’s such a hard thing to do as an entrepreneur because you don’t really have the confidence in where you’re going yourself.”

According to Atkinson, focus is so critically important in running a business.

12. Your Time is a Precious Commodity – David Lai, CEO of Hello Design

“We all only have 24 hours a day. It’s what we choose to do with that time that defines us,” Hello Design CEO David Lai learned this advice from his father.

Since time is one thing you can never get back, then make the most out of it in building your business today.

13. It’s OK to Ask for Help – Dennis “Chip” Wilson, Founder of Lululemon Athletica

Trusting others is not only critical in your day-to-day living but also for the survival of your business ventures.

Canadian entrepreneur and philanthropist Dennis “Chip” Wilson finally understood what this meant when starting work on his now multi-billion dollar apparel company, Lululemon Athletica Inc.

“It took me a long time to understand it, but [the advice was] to ask for help and that I don’t know it all,” Wilson says.

“People love to help. I don’t have to be insecure and know it all.”

The bottom line: Don’t let a mistake or a problem hinder your long-term goal.
Enjoyed what you read? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments below, and make sure you sign up for the 21 point business startup checklist.

Share this post