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Lessons From Entrepreneurs

by GeneGeiger on July 8, 2012

Prepare to Suffer – and Other Lessons of Small Business Entrepreneurship

By Chip Morrison, Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce

At a recent Trade Show Breakfast, four local business entrepreneurs shared their secrets of success.  Panelists were Eric Agren of Fuel, Kathie Leonard of Auburn Manufacturing, Scott Riccio of Northeast Charter andTours, and Peter Rinck of Rinck Advertising.

While they came from vastly different business sectors, their thoughts about business success had many similarities.  One Chamber member commented after the breakfast, “I spent six years getting my MBA and may have learned more in a half hour this morning.”

20 Points for Business Success

  1. Search Deep For Knowledge.  As you get started in your business, learn all you can about your business, the general field and your specific niche.
  2. Ideas Are Everywhere.  Be open to new ideas.  They can come from everywhere.  Particularly learn from children on technology issues
  3. What Do Customers Feel?  Focus on your customers’ experiences
  4. Capital First.  Get the capital you need before you expand
  5. Flexibility.  Be nimble
  6. Roll Up Your Sleeves.  Do what you need to do.  In the beginning you will be alone and will need to do it all
  7. Relationships.  It’s all about relationships — with customers and employees
  8. Action Bias.  You can plan forever and be paralyzed by the process.  Have a bias for action!
  9. Connect With Community.  Build relationships with the community – people support those who support them
  10. Roles/Skills.  Learn what roles are needed for your business to succeed and make sure you have them covered
  11. Customer Needs.  Constantly be in touch with your client’s needs
  12. Technology.  Keep up with (and ahead of) technology
  13. Test, Then Full Steam Ahead.  Vet new ideas widely before you try them.  Then implement, and then don’t listen anymore.
  14. 100% Commitment.
  15. Long Hours. There is no substitute for hard work.  You will put in lots of hours!
  16. Measure.  Measure constantly what you do and how it is being received by the customers
  17. Passion.  Passionate leaders inspire followers
  18. Do What Must Be Done.  There is no job description for small business owner (See #15 above.)
  19. Do What You Love.  The money will follow.
  20. Accept The Pain.  Prepare to suffer!  It’s lonely, there are not enough hours, there’s not enough money, and everybody is very willing to give you advice on how to do it better.