Sage mushrooms for the entrepreneur

E. C. MCKENZIE once said – “Advice is like mushrooms. The wrong kind can prove fatal.” As an entrepreneur, you cannot go it alone. You need to have mentors and guides to help you along and advise you. The correct advice can save years of struggle and fortunes in mistakes.

The internet is a fantastic tool that can pick the brains of the greats like Richard Branson and Oprah. We can soak up their wisdom and apply it. We can even get into the mind of the greats of the past like Winston Churchill or Abraham Lincoln. But there is an overload of information on the internet. To find sage advice one has to sift through mountains of quotes and blurbs that are often repetitive in some and omitting in others.

So after trawling the web, analysing the abundance of messages created to help the entrepreneur succeed we have whittled the advice down to a few focuses with the most repeated first. A few quotes have no known authors but have been included as they remain sound advice.

Follow what you love

“Find what you’re truly passionate about and go for it head on.  Your passion driving you on your entrepreneurial journey. And understand there is NO Such THING AS BALANCE when you’re building your empire. There are things entrepreneurs do that others will not.” – Katerina Gasset

“Learn to love the journey. Enjoy the slow steady movements toward what you dream of. And take refuge in the simple comforts of loving relationships, dear friends and your creative vision. Remember to smell the flowers often, listen to the birds, befriend fear. I’ll say that one again, befriend fear because it will likely be a constant companion. Nothing wrong with that, as a teacher told me, fear means: Prepare to Grow!” – Ahava Shira

“Be true to yourself. If you follow that principle, a lot of decisions are actually pretty easy.” – Tony Hsieh – Founder / Zappos

“Do what you love, and the rest will come.”- Dennis Crowley, CEO, Foursquare

“I asked a friend, who made more than 30 million dollars by the time he was 30, why he thought he was successful. His response: “there’s all this money out there, someone’s going to pick it up, it might as well be me.”

“The joy is in the getting there. The beginning years of starting your business, the camaraderie when you’re in the pit together, are the best years of your life. So rather than being so focused on when you get big and powerful, if you can just get the juice out of that… don’t miss it.” – Barbara Corcoran – Investor / Corcoran Group

“Remain authentic to yourself and your values as you build your business. Stand for something — never sell out for a quick buck.” – Cherylanne Skolnicki

Be of service

“Be of service; give value. Rather than thinking “how can I make a living and make money”; think” how can I serve and truly add value to people’s lives? How can I make a difference?” This is what Oprah and Deepak Chopra say is their driving mission.” – Rena Hedeman

“Approach your business from a place of service; how can I help my audience be more successful at what they’re doing. Before you write a blog, write a newsletter, shoot a video, present a proposal be still for a moment and ask for the knowledge of what your audience needs from you right now rather than to look for a way to “win someone over.” Come from a place of how to fill someone else’s cup rather than your own. Oh yeah and build a freaking list!” – Susan Garrett

Help people. Help when you’re happy. Help when you’re tired, and even help without attachment to getting anything in return. Keep on helping people towards a better life, straight through to your marketing. If you do this, you’ll create a marketing approach that’s based on “help marketing,” and you’ll have a business that’s never short on customers.” – Forest Linden

”Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and never ignore the reality of your situation. Always be honest with yourself before you criticize others. If you can’t truthfully manage yourself — you don’t have a chance of effectively managing others.” – Jason M. Aubrey

The Power of Connections

“Network! Make connections and keep a record on each person you meet. Ask for their advice and help. Keep in touch with them along the way and build your network before you need it! Quality relationships are the keys to the kingdom.”

‘Choose your friends wisely – you are the average of the 5 people you associate with most.’

‘Your network is your net worth’

“Surround yourself with great mentors. They help when you reach a plateau in your business cycle and can shave years off your business development and growth through advising from their mistakes and successes.” – Thalej Vasishta

“Do not let the naysayers and dream stealers turn your dream into a nightmare. There are so many people that will tell you no — you can’t do this. If you are surrounded by those who do, then it is time to make new friends.” – Katerina Gasset

Unique Positioning is Everything

“Sell what people are already buying – in your own voice.” – Barry Friedman

“A common mistake I see many startup founders making is they aren’t solving a real problem. You should try to solve a real problem that people have or identify a much better way for people to do things than they’ve historically done before. That is often a good place to start…That’s why the motto of Y Combinator is: ‘Make something people want.’ If you can do that, you’re probably onto something.” – Alexis Ohanian – Founder / Reddit, Hipmunk, and Breadpig

“Having first mover advantage is over-rated. MySpace was a first mover. It’s more important to have an idea BEST than have it FIRST. There is always room for disruption. Constantly better yourself to stay ahead of the game.” -Jack Dorsey – Founder of Twitter and Square / Twitter

“Pick a good market. The idea for approaching that market may change, but find a meaty problem to solve. You can try to attack it a bunch of different ways. Don’t be too narrow.” -Caterina Fake – Founder / Flickr


“Focus on ONE NICHE! And become the expert guru in that niche with your brand. Don’t get greedy! It’s the reason most quit by spreading themselves too thin.” – George Shepherd

“Solve a real problem that creates real value in the world. Focus on the problem --> solution --> value --> profit chain of events, and try to make a pass through this sequence sooner than later. Also, be strategic. Find a competitive advantage. At Dribbble, we stumbled into ours – we were just building a side project, but it was a site for designers, and Dan is a designer with lots of recognition and credibility. As a result, we attracted a great set of initial users who posted incredible work. Things snowballed from there.” Rich Thornett – Co-Founder / Dribble

Stop doing anything else until you can say you’ve mastered the ability to sell what you offer. Everything is easier when you develop the ability to find a need; fill it and then be paid well to do so.” – Ken Foody

Right people in the right places

“A great entrepreneur can take a bad idea and turn it into something incredible. This means that while ideas are important, it’s even more critical to have the right people in the right positions to execute them.” – Peter Relan, founder, 9+

“Your team is one of your most important investments, and if you are careful about hiring only the best people, it will pay dividends.” -Sheila Johnson, founder and CEO, Salamander Hotels & Resorts

“There are countless risks associated with being a small-business owner, and one of the biggest is staffing. Nobody is going to love your business as much as you do, so you have to protect it. Keep in touch with people you didn’t hire but you really liked; you never know when you might need to call upon them to help you out.” – Melinda Emerson, founder and CEO, Quintessence Group

Failure is good

“Look forward to failure. This is how you learn to succeed. There is plenty of time to get it right —  so go ahead and just do it — and get it wrong.” – Graham Phoenix

“Don’t be afraid to fail. My dad encouraged us to fail. Growing up, he would ask us what we failed at that week. If we didn’t have something, he would be disappointed. It changed my mindset at an early age that failure is not the outcome, failure is not trying.” – Sara Blakely – Founder / Spanx

Take risks

“Take small and medium size risks consistently.  Test your results and focus on what works. Taking action will make you feel alive. It’s where you personally grow.”

“When you prepare against catastrophic downsides (avoid “betting it all” or “mortgaging everything”) it allows you to create a culture where you can take lots of small to mid-size risks, learn and build.” Put simply – it’s exceedingly rare that greatness comes from a single blind all-in swing or a brash act. Boldness is required but the boldness that sticks around to experiment regularly, to fail small and often, and cultivate a culture of risk taking is what generates the most big wins in the end.”

“Don’t wait for everything to be perfect before you make your first step. Dive in and learn as you go!” – Chris Beatty

Invest in great Marketing

“The best business advice I ever received came from a simple quote from John D. Rockefeller. He said, ‘next to doing the right thing, the most important thing is to let people know you are doing the right thing.’ Right now, we live in an overcrowded world, and if you’re not out there promoting yourself, you’ll NEVER make an impact. That’s why this quote is so important. Do good work and promote the heck out of it.”

Know your customers

Listen to your customers (while you still have the chance). As long as people are complaining, they still want to do business with you. When they stop complaining is when you need to worry.’

Know your customers “I’ve learned to really think about who I actually want to sell to, instead of some generalization or profile of who might buy from me. Every time I’ve named individual people and created content with them in mind, those people have actually worked with me. No solicitation, just genuine connection by tailor-making what works best for them. Of course, I’ve also met many other amazing people who needed the same things.”

Never stop learning

Every time you think to yourself, ‘I already know this’ or ‘This isn’t for me,’ try turning it around by asking, ‘How can I make this work for me?’ This instantly puts you into a learning mindset and helps you see opportunities everywhere. I learned this from Marie Forleo and it has fundamentally changed how I approach my business life.”

Be flexible

Learn to pivot. Resist falling in love with your initial idea so you can discover what the market actually wants and is willing to pay for – and then give it to them!” –Cherylanne Skolnicki

Stay humble

“Don’t Drink Your Own Kool Aid – There is a hype curve in any company. Press, journalists, analysts, friends and family can reinforce the sense that you’re “killing it.” As Public Enemy says…Don’t Believe the Hype. The only way to build a sustainable customer is to listen to customers, partners, suppliers and employees.”- Mark Suster-Founder/Investor / Upfront Ventures

But as any great achiever will advise you, listen to advice but follow your instinct and heart.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Contact us and we will help guide you and grow your company with expert advice, specifically for small to medium enterprises!