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: Throughout my career I’ve learned what to do and what not to do in Business. Below is a list that I put together, based on my experience, of the Top 10 Tips to Succeed in Business that will help any Business owner run their Business more intelligently. Please read it and reply with your opinion on which tip do you think is the most important one (or challenging) for any Business owner in today’s economy


1. Be conservative and keep your overhead low – Companies that survive volatile economic cycles have low fixed costs and can easily adapt to low sales seasons. Always think twice before investing time and/or money in something – it’s better to think long term and have a steady income than a quick buck.

2. Diversify your products/services, clients and/or markets – Do not rely on a single product or service, client and/or a particular market; “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” – Diversify!

3. Understand your market – Conduct periodic research on your competition (don’t reinvent the wheel) and learn about your client’s purchasing habits, lifestyle etc; your clients are constantly evolving. Stay updated with technology and market trends, study pedestrian traffic patterns (if retail), online marketing, new legislation, new advertising techniques, etc.

4. Be a visionary – ask yourself: what will you be doing in the next year, five or even ten years from now? Also, understand your product/industry cycle (i.e. introduction, growing, maturity and decline). However, don’t grow too fast – some companies have failed because they decided to grow too fast. Be conservative and take “baby” steps and never ignore your main source of income.

5. Hire the right people and take care of them – Successful businesses are built on good teams and happy employees. If possible, avoid family and friends – family and/or friends can limit your ability to run the company efficiently.

6. Provide excellent customer service and always be ethical – If your clients are happy, they will come back and refer customers to you. Also, establish an ethical work environment; from the receptionist to the CEO, when the staff is unethical the customer perceives it and will not come back – this could ruin your reputation and ruin your business.

7. Follow your passion and promote yourself – Successful entrepreneurs work in something they love doing. Never be afraid to promote yourself. Always Be Closing (ABC) – whenever you have the opportunity, market the company and yourself even outside business hours.

8. Create a competitive advantage – Very important – Establish a brand and differentiate your company from the competition. What makes you different?

9. Understand your finances – Completely understand your personal finances and the company’s financial statements (Budgets, Cash Flow, Balance Sheet, Profit & Loss etc.), financial ratios and break-even point. Always be objective and don’t set unrealistic financial goals. Understanding your financial statements can open the door to other opportunities and put you in a good position to obtain additional capital to grow your business.

10. Always have a good Lawyer, CPA and Banker by your side – Legal, Tax and Financing advice can take your business to the next level. Successful entrepreneurs are not “jack of all trades”; don’t be afraid to hire professionals to offset your weaknesses.

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