THE BLOG
01/08/2014 05:11 EST | Updated 03/10/2014 05:59 EDT

25 Big Thoughts for Your New Small Business

Starting a business is easy. You can do it in a couple hours.

Starting a business that will last and grow is far more challenging, but, it's absolutely worth it -- if you are up for the job.

There are no secrets or shortcuts to running a successful small business or being an entrepreneur. There is no manual to read, and there is certainly no online course or expert that can tell you exactly what to do to "have it all." If you are running a small business, or working for an entrepreneurial venture and are happy about it, you've more than likely already ignited your passion, and just need to find a way to do better, maintain your enthusiasm and find the success that you deserve. In your relentless pursuit of a strong bottom line, keep in mind that you are your own best expert, but everyone can use a little perspective, so here are 25 thoughts meant to make you think a little more:

1. Knowledge comes from experience

The best source of knowledge is experience. Get going, you are only waiting on yourself!

2. Use your common sense

Rather than listening to "experts" (including myself), rely on yourself, you know so much more than you think.

3. Give. And then give some more.

It feels good, makes the world go round, and what you put out there, comes back to you.

4. Do stuff.

Your best strategic plan will always be called "Doing Things."

5. Learn the rules and then play better

You have to learn the rules of the game of life. And then you have to play better than anyone else.

6. Change can be very inconvenient -- but the end result is worth it

It's not easy -- if it was everyone could do it. As Einstein said, "It's not that I am so smart, I just stick with problems longer."

7. Don't try so hard to differentiate yourself

Just be yourself, and take the time to learn and be proud of what makes you different. Then flaunt it naturally.

8. Playing it safe is actually risky

Fitting in is failure, standing out and up is success.

9. If you aren't outraged, then you just aren't paying attention

Pay attention, get outraged, and harness that energy to work outside your box -- every day.

10. Your beliefs don't make you a better person, your behaviour does

And, your intentions don't count as much as your actions. As Yoda said, "Do or not do, there is no try."

11. Know that you are making a difference

One way or another, you are tipping the scales. The proverb that I live and work by is, "If you think you're too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a room with a mosquito."

12. Identify the problem AND offer a solution

Stories really matter, tell your story and tell it well, then make sure you have a happy ending.

13. Don't just talk about it. Be about it.

If your business is selling reusable bags, make sure you never use single-use plastic ones. You are your brand, and it matters that you are true to it and connected to it in every way.

14. Motivating the committed outperforms persuading the uncommitted

The lesson that society should take away about all marketing is a simple one. Every time you spend, you are voting for the type of world you want. Know what you are encouraging more of with each purchase so choose your suppliers wisely.

15. Be a leader

Inspire others to do more, become more, and learn more, then you are a natural leader.

16. Read a lot, listen to more, watch all you can

By simply paying attention and being committed to learning more, your ideas that arise will be your best ones to then act on.

17. Build community -- virtually and in person

Exchange ideas. Connect customers. Refer each other. Good people doing good things should stick together.

18. Get busy on social media

Social media platforms allow you to be at a networking event, a party, a trade show, a conference, a farmers' market or anywhere, at any time. Be authentic, be kind, and mingle outside your immediate circles. Remember, these platforms are only tools, but are also your sales, marketing, PR and customer service departments all in one -- because others use them that way -- please use them properly and appreciate their importance.

19. If something isn't working, move on.

Identifying what isn't working is as important as figuring out what is, and what can be. Evolve constantly.

20. Don't cater to the masses, cater to those that you know *need* you

Who are going to be most profitable to your business and celebrate your product or service? Find them, cater to them and turn them into raving fans.

21. Authenticity can be faked, but full transparency is what is important.

When you can fully share your story, you can benefit in so many ways.

22. Don't compare yourself to others (although feel free to be inspired by them and their work)

You have NO idea what is happening behind their beautiful website, or how many copies of their book they really sold, or if they can pay their rent easier than you can. Focus on you, because that is what you know, and can control.

23. Get very comfortable with being wrong

This acceptance will lead to being right more consistently.

24. Be extraordinary

If you can't excite yourself, you won't be able to excite others.

25. Measure your success constantly

Base your success on YOUR progress. Period.

It's truly incredible that you are doing your own thing, pause and appreciate where you've been and where you are going now.

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