I have always been driven by the entrepreneurial spirit and fascinated by the entrepreneurial ability to create value with limited resources. The study of Entrepreneurship as a discipline is what I focused on while studying at Babson College. Since graduating, I continue to learn and follow the massive spread of Entrepreneurship in the US and beyond.
To guide future entrepreneurs to a promising future, I have compiled a list of timeless advice from business experts and writers through the ages. This advice covers five major entrepreneurial topics: Time management, communication, delegation, sales, and driving vision.
Of the basic tenets of entrepreneurship, time management is the easiest to understand but one of the most difficult to master. Entrepreneurs have the same time afforded everyone else; they just need to find ways to make that time as efficient and profitable as possible. Consider the following quotes and advice when trying to plan out your day.
“Managing multiple projects is like being the parent of a large family that you have to feed. Each aspect of your job can be like another child that needs nurturing. You can’t neglect any one of the ‘children’ and expect to have a healthy family“.
– Peter Turla, Time Management Expert
“Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week.”
– Charles Richards, Canadian Politician
“Start your day the night before. My days start the night before. I outline everything that needs to be done in a small notebook. My day consists of getting calls done in the first half of the day and taking care of all the general housekeeping tasks in the evening. Most of my day entails attempting to put a drop in each of the following buckets: investors, legal, marketing, product development, sales, accounting, and strategy.”
-Eric Schaumburg, CEO of Eventr.io
“Cut out meetings. Shorten them. Skip the small talk, and figure out how to make the meeting last 14 minutes instead of 15. Save everybody time by being efficient. Invest that time in genuine one-on-one interactions, learning, and development. For example, I have a meeting every day that’s scheduled for 15 minutes. Sometimes it’s eight minutes. When it’s eight, I think about how I could have made it seven minutes. There are six people in the meeting. Shortening the meeting by two minutes per day adds up to an hour saved every week.”
– Andy Barkett, CTO for the Republican National Committee
“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”
– H. Jackson Brown, Jr., Bestselling American Author
A leader who doesn’t inspire or galvanize his or her employees isn’t much of a leader. No one can pilot a business alone, and it’s integral that an entrepreneur be able to clearly communicate in the work environment. Practicing proper communication skills is key to creating a business that functions as a coherent organism; not doing so leaves the business a scattered mess.
“If you have nothing to say, say nothing.”
“Open, honest communication is the best foundation for any relationship, but remember that at the end of the day it’s not what you say or what you do, but how you make people feel that matters the most.”
“Precision of communication is important, more important than ever, in our era of hair trigger balances, when a false or misunderstood word may create as much disaster as a sudden thoughtless act.”
“Really pay attention to negative feedback and solicit it, particularly from friends. …Hardly anyone does that, and it’s incredibly helpful.”
One integral aspect of entrepreneurial communication is delegation. Managing a venture is an exercise in tasks both large and small. Don’t sweat the small stuff; that’s what your team is for. Knowing how and when to trust your co-workers for various tasks is vital. Otherwise, you may very well miss the big picture.
“Lions cannot afford to hunt mice because they literally will starve to death, even if they catch them. Lions and all large carnivores have to hunt game large enough to justify the investment, so they have to hunt antelope and zebra. Why is this important? Because most senior executives are really big on chipmunks.”
“I find that many entrepreneurs are trying to do everything when it would be cheaper and more time-efficient to delegate, even if there are monetary costs associated with that.”
“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”
“As all entrepreneurs know, you live and die by your ability to prioritize. You must focus on the most important, mission-critical tasks each day and night, and then share, delegate, delay, or skip the rest.”
“As much as you need a strong personality to build a business from scratch, you also must understand the art of delegation. I have to be good at helping people run the individual businesses, and I have to be willing to step back. The company must be set up so it can continue without me.”
A business without sales likely won’t be in business for long. Although there are many great measures for the value of a business, including its cultural impact and the benefits for local communities, the most basic — and arguably the most important for longevity purposes — is sales. Knowing how to create and foster relationships with customers is key to high sales, as many entrepreneurs will attest.
“For every sale you miss because you’re too enthusiastic, you will miss a hundred because you’re not enthusiastic enough.”
“The key in mastering any kind of sales is switching statements about you and how great you are and what you do, to statements about them, and how great they are and how they will produce more and profit more from ownership of your product or service.”
“Learn to sell. In business you’re always selling – to your prospects, investors, and employees. To be the best salesperson put yourself in the shoes of the person to whom you’re selling. Don’t sell your product. Solve their problems.”
“You don’t close a sale; you open a relationship if you want to build a long-term, successful enterprise.”
– Patricia Fripp, Sales Presentation Trainer and Public Speaking Expert
“Make the hard call first – the one you are most afraid of. It’s the secret to working most efficiently and avoiding procrastination.”
– Sander Flaum, CEO of Flaum Navigators
“Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make me feel important.’ Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.”
-Mary Kay Ash, Founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics
No one expects an entrepreneur to have a complete and unerring master plan plotted out, but people should expect him or her to have a core set of moral and philosophical values. What is the purpose of this business? What value does it bring? And why does it matter? Having the answers to these questions is a surefire way to guarantee vision.
“If you just work on stuff that you like and you’re passionate about, you don’t have to have a master plan with how things will play out.”
“There’s lots of bad reasons to start a company. But there’s only one good, legitimate reason, and I think you know what it is: it’s to change the world.”
“No one is less ready for tomorrow than the person who holds the most rigid beliefs about what tomorrow will contain.”
– Watts Wacker, Business Adviser and Bestselling Author
“You have to find a way to keep track of all your thoughts and tasks. For me Wunderlist is a key tool for this. I try to go through all my entries in my Wunderlist at least once a week in the morning hours in order to prioritize or delegate tasks. I track new tasks, ideas, and also comments from my team directly in my Wunderlist, should I be working on something different that moment. As such I can continue to focus on what I was doing before the interruption”.
– Christian Plagemann, Founder of Classic Trader
“Always take time to reflect on the day or what’s to come. Some call it meditating or praying. However you label it, it’s during these quiet times that you can really meld vision and purpose.”
– Charles Cantu, Founder of Huddled Masses
Do you have a favorite quote that helps you stay motivated? Please share in the comments section!
- Mark Twain: Photo by A.F. Bradley, New York (steamboattimes.com) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
- Tony Hsieh: photo credit: Tony Hsieh via photopin (license)
- James Thurber: Photo By Fred Palumbo, World Telegram staff photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
- Elon Musk: photo credit: OnInnovation Interview: Elon Musk via photopin (license)
- Newt Gingrich Photo Credit: Newt at the Stamford Real Jobs Summit via photopin (license)
- James Altucher: Photo by JamesAltucher [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- General George S. Patton: Photo by U.S. Army [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
- Jessica Jackley: Photo by Michael Dayah at en.wikipedia [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsMichael Dayah at en.wikipedia [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- Sir Richard Branson Photo Credit: Richard Branson via photopin (license)
- Zig Ziglar: Photo by BrokenSphere (Own work) [CC BY 1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- Jeffrey Gitomer Photo Credit: With Jeffrey Gitomer via photopin (license)
- Mark Cuban Photo Credit: 2008-09-09_17-33-39 via photopin (license)
- Mark Zuckerberg Photo Credit: 151893386CF005_TechCrunch_C via photopin (license)
- Phil Libin Photo Credit: LeWeb11 @ Les Docks Paris via photopin (license)
- Featured image: Andrey_Popov via Shutterstock