Top Tips to Help Entrepreneurs Succeed in 2013

Entrepreneur, author, business consultant Celia GatesRenowned entrepreneur, author and business consultant Celia Gates, gives her advice and encouragement for entrepreneurs in 2013 on how to overcome the hurdles to starting a business.

It’s been a bitterly cold start to the year and unfortunately, for entrepreneurs, the market conditions don’t seem to be warming up.

Not so long ago I hosted the Global Brainstorm, an online ideas generating session, where our topic for discussion was “what do you need to know in order to succeed in starting a business?” This was asked to a global panel of participants, with the aim of generating simple solutions and easy answers to the challenges and problems faced by an early (or experienced) entrepreneur.

It was a revealing session, with output that should help entrepreneurs along their various journeys over the coming year. Specific insight includes:

Entrepreneurs need to network. Business has always been about who you know.

Building a business can be a lonely journey unless you’re connected to like-minded people whose aims and aspirations support your own. Events such as those delivered during Global Entrepreneurship Week, for example, serve as a superb way to meet individuals and communities with whom you may learn and grow.

Entrepreneurs need to know how to strategically plan and measure their progress.

Often the entrepreneur will hold a huge vision for their future; the sea-view mansion, the speed boats and holidays abroad are evidential consequences of the success they strive for. What’s staggering is how many small business owners lack short term goals and tangible, measurable, achievable targets. The development of any idea or business is iterative. Progress is made in small baby steps. In order to accelerate your growth and progress, you must measure it in incremental improvement. Set achievable benchmarks and assess your progress as you make it. Doing so will prevent delays by driving action, inspiration and the motivation that comes with the incentive of achieving your aims.

Entrepreneurs need to know how to be tech-savvy.

Keeping overheads down may involve a few early investments so for each of these it is important to do your research and get it right first time. For instance, when we were looking to invest in a new printer in our own small office, we found that contrary to popular opinion, an inkjet model from Epson, the WorkForce Pro, was more cost effective than similar laser models, and offered better quality. While printing is a basic office need that you can do in-house, at times it can be more cost effective to outsource supplies or services. Using open source applications or buying into existing components can save you considerable start-up costs. By taking advantage of such technology, a fledgling business can create a platform from which to grow and optimise its products and services successfully.

Entrepreneurs need to know how to bootstrap for longer.

Many new business owners celebrate securing start-up capital as if this secures success too. This is far from true. Too much attention has been given to the importance of cash in order to get a business started when the emphasis should be on the quality of the idea or business concept. If you’re short of cash, concentrate on building credibility and connections. Do this by communicating with your market. Draw attention to the problems you seek to solve and understand how these affect your target customers. Use this information to deliver a service-of-sorts with real, quantifiable benefits. The knowledge you gain from doing so will allow you to answer your customer’s needs. It will also remove much of the risk associated with lending or investing capital in a new concept by making your offering more credible. By bootstrapping for longer you’re more likely to build a lean and efficient business. Innovative ideas will be forced to emerge when buying your way out of a problem is not an option.

Entrepreneurs need to know how to generate new ideas and maintain a balanced mind-set.

Above all, entrepreneurs need to know how to maintain a balanced state of mind when it all feels very stressful. Ideas and action define an entrepreneur’s ability to succeed. Much about being a brilliant entrepreneur is about being able to see the situation laterally. This means stepping out of your habitual thinking style to picture something differently from how it was initially perceived. Such divergent thinking skills reveal the breadth of available opportunities. They give the confidence and understanding needed to act easily and efficiently and enable entrepreneurs to better communicate a vision to a wider world.

If you would like to know more about the social experiment we conducted and the mind-set of the entrepreneur then please visit

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