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21 Tips to Make You a Successful 21st Century Entrepreneur


By:     Topics: Entrepreneurship

Today’s guest post is by long time Retire@21.com reader Jack Dawson of RemoteDBA.

Jack is a web developer and UI/UX specialist. He likes to share knowledge and points of view with other Oracle developers and consumers on platforms.

Take it away Jack…

Are you a budding entrepreneur and/or do you feel like you have what it takes to make it in the volatile world of business?

You most likely said yes and, this is understandable considering nearly everyone wants to own a business and become the next billionaire on Forbes.


If this a simple task, why is everyone not creating a tech startup and moving on to becoming the next Zuckerberg or Larry Page? The cold truth is that succeeding as an entrepreneur is tough.

The United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (U.S SBA) reckons over 66% of startups fail within the first year of launch. What’s more, Entrepreneur’ Organization (EO) says over 50% of startups started in 2014 will not survive this tumultuous business environment up to 2016.

In order to survive then, you have to be open to failing and learning new things every day.

Over the last decade I’ve made note of the most important lessons I’ve learned on the way to entrepreneurial success and outlined them here.

From tips by the best in business, such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, to entrepreneurial bodies such as Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO), Forbes, U.S SBA® and Entrepreneur’ Organization (EO), among others, the list is an invaluable comprehensive handbook.

Here you go:

21 Tips to Help You Chart Success in Enterprise

#1. Ask For Advice

Are you usually the smartest guy in the room? If so, you’re in the wrong room.

If you look at the most successful 20th century entrepreneurs, it might seem like they are lone rangers but they aren’t. From Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, the late Steve Jobs and Victoria Beckham to Michael Jordan, mentorship is a fact they all mention and is what enabled them to get where they are. You can get advice from financial institutions, professionals and industry gurus, among others, but the bottom line is the fact that you have to seek advice before making major moves.

#2. Get Others To Do The Work For You

Just about every successful entrepreneur on earth utilizes the skills and knowledge of others in order to accomplish goals. An easy way to get other people check things off your to do list for you, is to hire a virtual assistant.

Here are the top sources to hire a great VA:

What’s more is that just about every successful business in the 21st century has a web presence, even if it’s just a simple landing page.

If you need to establish your brand or simply improve your current website, hire the best developers and designers who could’ve started yesterday from AwesomeWeb.com!


#3. Admit Mistakes and Move On

To err is human, and as an entrepreneur, do not expect to be infallible. Successful entrepreneurs that you admire today made major mistakes in the course of their journey. What sets a successful entrepreneur apart from the rest is the fact that they are willing to admit a mistake and build on the lesson to become even better. SeaBear once outsourced its customer care and Mondello the owner had to cancel the deal after millions of complaints.

#4. Do Not Settle

Pete Cashmore of Mashable credits past mistakes for the success of the web-oriented news platform. When TechCrunch sold to AOL, Cashmore decided to hang on and today who is bigger between the two? Success in entrepreneurship doesn’t come if you want overnight success, even Zuckerberg had to ward off hundreds of mouthwatering offers; but just look at Facebook today.

#5. Keep A To-Do-List

Sounds easy enough, but before moving on, just ask yourself what you’re going to do in the next two weeks within your enterprise. If you have no idea, then your venture is fast hurtling towards failure. Planning isn’t easy as you have to analyze every business situation, research and compile data on what you’re about to do.

When Bill Gates decided to snub Nokia, what many never knew was that this was a decision the company had all along. Today, the company is laughing all the way to the bank with Microsoft Windows phones causing a buzz.

Here are the top 10 to do list managers for entrepreneurs.


#6. Maintain Positive Relationships

When it comes to business, your networking capability will either make or break you. At a glance, you might not think minor relationships matter, but a few down the line, like that supplier you treated badly, might end up as the only one who can bail you out one day.

In essence, make sure you don’t burn bridges as these relationships can open doors. 

“Quality relationships hold the key to the kingdom.”

#7. Maintain A Social Presence Offline and Online

Ever heard of Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger? Most likely not, but you’re likely using their innovative product which is Instagram. Yes, these genius entrepreneurs ensured that everyone could upload photos and share them in an instant and it wasn’t easy.

According to Forbes, their success rests in their efforts to be accessible, available and ever-present online and offline. To succeed today, connect with your community, provide social platform widgets in any resource you have and make sure everyone wants to know about your brand.

Social Media Manager PRO is a great tool to help you build and monetize your social empire.

#8. Improve Your Communication With Customers and Employees

Delightful customer and employee experience is the magic wand you need to succeed in business according to Tim O’Shaughnessy of the LivingSocial phenomenon. Uber’s Garrett Camp also credits their intensive communication campaigns all along the business chain as a major reason for the global success of the taxi app.

Whatever business you’re in, it is critical to ensure there are constant updates and responses to customer issues. Your employees must also be in the know about products and services in order to market them effectively.

#9. Be Kind – It’s a Sign of Strength

Success in entrepreneurship should not translate into coldness and apathy towards society. Just look at celebrities such as George Clooney who dedicate time and money to worthy causes across the globe. 

Your community is the source of your success and giving back is a sign of strength.

#10. Never Procrastinate

If it needs to be done, it has to be done now and there is no other way about it; this is according to David Karp who is the Tumblr entrepreneur. These are words that are repeated thousands of times according to U.S SBA. In all its mentorship programs, the organization says time wastage is cited 94% of the time as a cause of business failure.

#11. Devour Business  Books

Have you read Tony Hsieh’s “Delivering Happiness” or maybe Eric Ries’ “The Lean Startup?” If you think books are a waste of time, just give Bill Gates a call and ask for his opinion. Most likely the billionaire is devouring the latest release by investment gurus, yet he has already made it. Books open your horizon and show you new opportunities even where you thought none existed.

Entrepreneur reading books

#12. Know Your Worth

This is where most startups get it wrong, according to Entrepreneur’ Organization (EO). Your skills are the biggest asset and so are your employees, business goals and all those strengths you listed in your business. As such, make sure you know what you are worth even as you continue accumulating assets and liabilities.

#13. Be A Present Listener

In 2012, Forbes invited readers to ask top entrepreneurs questions on success. From Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi of DropBox, Bill Gates, Larry Page and others, listening skills featured 92% of the time in revealing their main strengths. If you are a present listener, you are bound to learn more than when such information comes to you second hand. Customers also appreciate it more when you listen actively.

#14. Be a Keen Market Student 

Studying competition, marketplace, trends, innovations, global politics and other pertinent issues is an indispensible practice for a successful entrepreneur. It is an ever-ending process that makes you ready for change.

When Facebook snapped up WhatsApp for $19 billion, the market was shocked, but this was a decision Zuckerberg was making after studying the voracious nature of affordable messaging by internet users. It is a sure way to make judgment at the right time.

#15. Give 100% of Your Effort In All That You Do

Passion is what got my business where it is today. These are words from sporting billionaire Michael Jordan, also considered the greatest basketballer of all times. To make it as an entrepreneur, according to Katerina Gasset an online entrepreneur, you have to identify something you are quite passionate about and then go ahead and make it your business.

#16. Take Time Off and Get Sleep

They say all work without play makes Jack a dull boy. Well, in business, you don’t want to be dull in a world where competition is akin to the Amazon Jungle. You must make time for play in order to unwind and look back at where you have come from. 

This time is instrumental in recouping your fortunes and also bonding with family, friends and employees who can give incredible insight on your business. You will always come back more reinvigorated.

Here are 3 unknown tips to improve sleep.

Entrepreneur taking a nap

#17. Pay Attention To Detail

Everything that goes into your business has an impact on your success. As such, make sure you have an eagle’s eye over everything that is going on. When negotiating, ensure you have legal and financial experts to extrapolate technicalities and make things clearer lest you end up in legal murk, which portends failure.

#18. Work In Chunks

Andrew Cravenho, CEO of CBAC Funding argues that an entrepreneur cannot be everything or do all at one time. To make it in enterprise, you have to do things in bits and accept your skills cannot cover the whole organization. Arranging business expansion in systematic chunks, for instance, is a sure way to success as opposed to doing it all together.

#19. Set and Meet Deadlines

Secret to my success? Setting and meeting deadlines even if it means staying awake for days; this is according to Adam D’Angelo of Quora who quit Facebook to start the Q & A platform. If you have no deadlines then you are bound to fail in business as you will be sailing rudderless on stormy waters.

#20. Focus On Helping People Before The Money

“Forget your wallet first” is a clarion call by most successful entrepreneurs including Cathrine and David Cook of myYearBook.com and Trip Adler of Scribd. You should focus on building a customer base, reputation, recognition and loyalty. Money, according to Warren Buffet, follows after.

#21. Get Involved in Your Business

Leaders lead through service, and to succeed as an entrepreneur, be ready to get your hands dirty. U.S SBA® reports over 47% of startups fail when owners rest on their laurels. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg goes to work daily as does Bill Gates of Microsoft, among other successful entrepreneurs. Why should you leave others to run the show?

There you are; all you have to do now is apply these skills and voila! You will be on your path to entrepreneurial success.

If you enjoyed this, than I’d definitely check out the 15 things you should give up to be successful.

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