Helping-MentorIf you are a business owner, ask yourself this question: “What 10 things would have been great to know when I started my business?” Now, find a way to share your wisdom with up-and-coming business people.

The following are some common pieces of advice from an outstanding article by Scott Gerber of (“10 Tips For the First-Time Business Owner,” Sept. 7, 2009):

  1. Focus. Focus. Focus. Opportunities are often wolves in sheep’s clothing. Juggling multiple ventures will spread you thin and limit both your effectiveness and productivity. Do one thing perfectly, not 10 things poorly.
  2. Know what you do. Do what you know. Do what you love. Businesses built around your strengths and talents will have a greater chance of success. It’s not only important to create a profitable business, it’s also important that you’re happy managing and growing it day in and day out.
  3. Say it in 30 seconds or don’t say it at all. From a chance encounter with an investor to a curious customer, always be ready to pitch your business in a clear and concise manner. Less is always more.
  4. Know what you know, what you don’t know, and who knows what you don’t. No one knows everything, so don’t come off as a know-it-all. Surround yourself with long-term-focused advisors and mentors who will nurture you to become a better leader and businessperson.
  5. Act like a start-up. Forget about fancy offices, fast cars, and fat expense accounts. Your wallet is your company’s life-blood. Practice and perfect the art of being frugal. Watch every dollar and triple-check every expense. Maintain a low overhead and manage your cash flow effectively.
  6. Learn under fire. There is no such thing as the perfect plan. Never jump right into a new business without any thought or planning, but don’t spend months or years waiting to execute. You will become a well-rounded entrepreneur when tested under fire, learning from your mistakes.
  7. No one will give you money. There, I said it. No one will invest in you. Scale down and simplify. Find ways to prove your business model on a shoestring budget. Demonstrate your worth before seeking investment. If your concept is successful, your chances of raising capital from investors will dramatically improve.
  8. Be healthy. No, I’m not your mother. However, I promise that you will be much more productive when you take better care of yourself. Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle, not a 9-to-5 profession. Eat right, exercise, and find time for yourself.
  9. Don’t fall victim to your own hype. Impress with action not conversation. Endorse your business enthusiastically, yet tastefully. Avoid exaggerating truths and touting far-reaching goals as certainties. In short, put up or shut up.
  10. Know when to call it quits. Contrary to popular belief, a smart captain does not go down with the ship. Don’t go on a fool’s errand for the sake of ego. Know when it’s time to walk away, and take careful note of mistakes for future reference. Failure is inevitable, but a true entrepreneur will prevail over adversity.