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59 Responses to “What’s the Best Business Advice You’ve Ever Received?”


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In preparation of National Small Business Week (May 4-8, 2015) we recently reached out to a collection of people whose advice we really admire.

We spoke to founders, CEOs, authors, entrepreneurs, and small business experts to ask one simple question:

“What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?”

Here’s what they had to say.

59 Responses to “What’s the Best Business Advice You’ve Ever Received?”

  1. #ctctsbw© Constant Contact 2015 59 Responses to “What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?”
  2. #ctctsbw you heard something that really stuck with you. Take a minute and think about the last time
  3. #ctctsbw Something that made a lasting impression and changed your outlook.
  4. #ctctsbw What was it?
  5. #ctctsbw Where did it come from?
  6. #ctctsbw How did it impact your life?
  7. #ctctsbw How did it impact your business?
  8. #ctctsbw We recently reached out to a collection of people whose advice we really admire, with one simple question.
  9. #ctctsbw We spoke to founders, CEOs, authors, entrepreneurs, and small business experts to ask...
  10. #ctctsbw What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
  11. #ctctsbw Here’s what they had to say... #ctctsbw
  12. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw Denise Attwood Founder, Ganesh Himal Trading @ganeshhimal Wake up every morning and remember why you started your business, not what you do but why you do it. If you remember every day why you started you will stay focused on the bigger picture and make it through all of the tough times, the times people doubt you, and the times you feel you've made a mistake. 12 #ctctsbw
  13. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw Matt Ward President/CEO, inConcert Web Solutions @webresults Make quick decisions... right or wrong. Being agile is a requirement for small business! 13
  14. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw 14 Peg Fitzpatrick Co-author of The Art of Social Media, speaker, social media strategist @PegFitzpatrick Focus on your core. Learn how to outsource the tasks that you need to so you can do the things that make you money. Hire talent to do the things you can't, like email marketing, design, or web work.
  15. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw 15 You have two ears and one mouth for a reason – listen twice as much as you speak. I've always kept this in mind when meeting new prospects or dealing with clients, and it's helped me grow BJC Branding to where it is today. Bryan Caplan Owner, BJC Branding @bjcbranding
  16. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw When someone makes a mistake or if you have a disagreement and the other person is backed into a corner try to give them an out. Julie Niehoff Constant Contact Director, Education & Field Enablement @julieniehoff 16
  17. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. Heather Jackson Constant Contact Regional Development Director New England @heatherkjackson 17
  18. #ctctsbw Vanessa Cabrera Founder, Your Social Media Mentor @vanessacabrera Work Less and Make More. Most people have a tendency to work more and make more, however this philosophy is not good for family life and your mental or physical health. Delegate your tasks and responsibilities. 18
  19. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw Do what you do and do it well ... always follow your own vision of what your business should be. Dawn Noble Owner, La Provence @LaProv 19
  20. #ctctsbw Chris Litster SVP, Sales and Marketing, Constant Contact @cmlitster Success comes from running to, not from, your next great challenge or opportunity.
  21. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw Jennifer Smiga Owner, inBLOOM Communications @inBLOOMbuzz Businesses focus on acquisition more than customer retention, even though it can cost 7x more to acquire new customers. It's crucial to maintain good customer relations, and even more important to exceed a customer's expectations. Referral marketing is gold. 21
  22. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw Maria Elena Duron Constant Contact Authorized Local Expert @mariaduron Focus on your strengths. It's a mistake to focus on your weak areas. It distracts from your strengths and makes you a mediocre person. 22
  23. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw Even when you’re starting out and are still very small...give the appearance of mass. If you pay attention to detail and look big/professional, your business will grow into the space you’ve created. Ron Cates Constant Contact Director, New Market Development & Southwest Region @roncates 23
  24. #ctctsbw People do business with people they know and trust. Allen Smith, IOM, CCE, President and CEO, Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce, SC @spartanchamber Know them. Build their trust. Win their business.
  25. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw The key to building relationships is: 25 Eric Groves Founder and CEO, Alignable, Inc. @E_Groves Listen, Observe, Listen — then Speak
  26. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw The only way to get better and be the best is through failures, lots of failures. Arlet Koseian Owner, extendYoga @extendYoga 26
  27. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw When Celia and I launched Dudley & Nunez Communications, my mother advised us to always under-promise and over-deliver. We've helped dozens of clients since then, and I attribute much of our success to that wise tip. Maureen Dudley Owner, Dudley & Nunez Communications @MaureenDudley 27
  28. #ctctsbw Fake it 'til you make it! Barry Eichner Owner, Barry Eichner Consulting @BarryEichner
  29. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw I think about that often when I’m kind of tired and thinking of skipping an event. 29 Marianne Virgili IOM, CCE, President and CEO, Glenwood Springs Chamber, Colorado @gwschamber Tom Alee, former Director of Sales for Frontier Airlines, once told me... “Don’t ever miss a cocktail party. You never know who you might meet.”
  30. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw 30 Happy customers are the key to a successful business. Be honest and fair, and make sure the customer’s opinion is always heard and honoured. Cynthia Lee Community Manager at Dominelli School of Music @dominellimusic
  31. #ctctsbw Gail Goodman CEO, Constant Contact @Gail_Goodman Listen to your customers. Feedback is a gift.
  32. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw 32 Matt Pivarnik Executive Vice President & COO, Tulsa Regional Chamber @TulsaChamber The unexamined life is not worth living, the unexamined career is not worth having, and the unexamined business is not worth running.
  33. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw I received advice early on to pick work I loved and felt passionate about. With the amount of time spent on a career or job, you’ll burn out and hate your life if you don’t do something you care about. Staying true to that and gaining the necessary skills required to do what you love will guide you to the right thing. 33 Corissa St. Laurent Regional Development Director - Pacific Northwest @Corissastl
  34. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw Have a business plan and keep it updated, but don’t obsess on making it perfect. 34 Hal Shelton Author The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan It is about direction and not absolutes. Your business continually changes and so will your plans; seek advice and counsel from others.
  35. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw “Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” Some of the most successful businesses followed that model, ignored the naysayers, took a leap of faith, and are all the better for it! Jeremy Arthur IOM, President and CEO, Business Council of Alabama @bcatoday 35 Small business owners and entrepreneurs are some of the bravest folks I know. It takes courage to forge your own path. It reminds me of a quote from To Kill A Mockingbird...
  36. #ctctsbw Never ask anyone to do what you won’t do yourself. Terri Schulz President, Waupaca Area Chamber, WI
  37. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw Sue B Zimmerman Founder, Insta-Results @SueBZimmerman “Be hyper-focused in your market niche so you can stand out and give value.” 37
  38. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw In your marketing strategy, it is absolutely imperative that you forget about your dreams, forget about your visions, forget about your interests, forget about what you want… forget about everything but your customer! It’s what your customer wants that matters. And what your customer wants is probably significantly different from what you THINK they want. 38 Danny Hearn IOM, CCE, President and CEO, Catawba County Chamber, NC @catawbachamber
  39. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw 39 Do your homework and find out where the gap in the marketplace is and understand the unique selling proposition that your business will bring to the table. Dan Plouffe and Julie Card Founders, SuiGeneris Marketing and @MYCOLLINGWOODca
  40. #ctctsbw The key to success is to follow up. Tate Hill President and CEO, Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce @fresnometrobcc
  41. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw “Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” –Andy Warhol 41 Kit Cramer President & CEO, Asheville Chamber, NC @kitcramer This isn’t really advice, but I have it pinned up on my cork board in front of my face at work and try to remember it:
  42. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw Beth Kanter Co-author The Networked Nonprofit and Measuring the Networked Nonprofit @kanter “Follow your curiosity and the money will follow.” 42
  43. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw 43 A bit of old-style sales advice: Never end your day before it is completely over. Marlene Panoyan Director of Communications/Social Media, Hollywood Chamber @hollywoodarea
  44. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw Pamela Wilson Vice President of Educational Content at Copyblogger Media, Owner Big Brand System @pamelaiwilson "Patience, persistence, and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” –Napoleon Hill That boils down to: don’t expect immediate results; don’t give up; and be willing to work hard for what you want to achieve. That approach has served me well through many career transitions. 44
  45. #ctctsbw You can't be everything to everyone - PRIORITIZE! Ryan Evans, VP of Business and Community Relations, Salt Lake Chamber, Utah @ryan_t_evans
  46. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw The best business advice I received is to invest in help before I thought I could afford it. Hiring someone to help me with my website and newsletter freed me to create the content that grew my business rapidly. 46 Alyson B Stanfield Owner, @abstanfield
  47. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw I was fortunate enough to have Jr. Cellucci, Governor Cellucci's Dad, work in my office for 3 years. Two pieces of simple advice that he gave, that I adhere to are: 47 Sarah Cressy President & CEO, Assabet Valley Chamber, MA @AsVaCc 1. Always return phone calls and emails within 48 hours. 2. Always be nice!
  48. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw I learned this from the Dale Carnegie course: 48 Thomas Jennings President, Barrow County Chamber, GA @barrowcountycc "The sweetest words to any person's ears are the sounds of their own name." That has served me well.
  49. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw Sean D'Souza Owner, PsychoTactics @seandsouza follow-up. follow-up. follow-up. follow-up. follow-up​ and follow-up. The best business advice I have got is this... 49
  50. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw 50 Treat every person like they are the first call of the day! Kimi Gobi Administrative Assistant, Hardin County Chamber, TN
  51. #ctctsbw 51 The best marketing advice I ever received is simple: Henry Florsheim President/CEO, Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce & Industry @chamberWF Don’t be boring.
  52. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw As business owners and entrepreneurs, you have a lot of people tugging at you. Everyone has "just one question" or needs "one minute of your time." It's easy to get caught up in people pleasing mode as you're building your business. But the reality is, a yes person (someone who agrees to everything) will never scale their business. Stop saying yes and realize that "NO," when said in a polite manner, is a complete sentence. 52 Rebekah Radice Digital Marketing | Social Media Business Consultant, Rebekah Radice LLC @RebekahRadice "No.” is a complete sentence.
  53. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw John Paul Aguiar Pro Blogger and Social Media Trainer, @JohnAguiar “Just because you love it, doesn't mean you should execute it.” 53
  54. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw Donna Moritz Founder, Socially Sorted @SociallySorted The best business advice I ever received was to start a blog and to blog consistently (you don't need to blog every day as long as it's consistent). I blog weekly, and it has changed my business. In fact, my blog is no longer a marketing tool for my business, it's the core of my business - underpinning everything else I do. 54
  55. #ctctsbw If something isn't being done, do it yourself! Create your own career. "Write your own part." - Mindy Kaling Julia Campbell Founder, J Campbell Social Marketing @JuliaCSocial
  56. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw 56 Tamsin Fox-Davies Constant Contact Senior Manager UK Development @tamsinfd Be yourself, as the clients that want to work with you will be attracted by your personality and business brand – and those that you won't like anyway will be dissuaded.
  57. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw 57 It's okay to have too much fun. Lani and Allen Voivod Owners, Epiphanies, Inc. and Founders of A-Ha! Summit @EpiphaniesInc
  58. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw Luke Brynley-Jones Founder, Our Social Times @lbrynleyjones “The world won’t stop turning if you take a day off.” When you’re super busy you imagine your business will collapse if you take a holiday. In reality what you’ll find is nothing much changes, people will wait for replies to emails, and you can pick up refreshed when you get back. 58
  59. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw 59 Dean Montandon Digital Marketing Manager for Red Website Design @Red_Web_Design Do something you love to do... it makes the hard work and sacrifice worthwhile.
  60. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw 60 Emma Davidson Co-founder Gecko Clothing @Emma_TheGecko Be persistent! It's not the same as nagging. If someone hasn't told you they're not interested, they more than likely just haven't heard your message yet. The world is full of busy people and you have to be tenacious to get your idea out there.
  61. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw 61 Always agree on a price in advance. Never do the work first and then give a client the price. Vee Smith Constant Contact Authorized Local Expert @biztechwiz
  62. #ctctsbw Always provide value. Rebecca Coleman Owner, Rebecca Coleman, Marketing and Media Relations @rebeccacoleman
  63. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw Know your numbers. From your website metrics to your finances. But more importantly do something with them. Understand how your website is performing… having large volumes of visitors doesn’t mean anything unless they convert into leads and sales. Equally the saying “turnover is vanity, profit is sanity, cash is reality” is so true and the number one reason why many businesses fail. 63 Lilach Bullock Co-founder of Comms Axis @lilachbullock
  64. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw 64 The best advice I was given was to make sure that I was truly passionate about my business and to do what I love. Evelyn Senyi Owner, Recurve Marketing @EvelynSenyi
  65. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw 65 Clients that value your expertise will ask you what they need more often than telling you what they want. Marc Gordon Founder, Fourword Marketing @MarcGordonDotCA
  66. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw 66 Start as you mean to go, have boundaries in your "work" times, it's too easy to work all hours when you are an entrepreneur, you have to have stop times when you won't take a call or answer email so you can feed your soul and do something else. Sherri-Lee Woycik Facebook Marketing Expert, Trainer and Coach @socialmediamndr
  67. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw Mari Smith Facebook Marketing Expert Author & Trainer @MariSmith "If I were to buy everything you offer, how much would it cost me and what would I get for my money?" A mentor of mine once asked me about 15 years ago, My answer to this question has helped to shape my entire business and revenue model time and again. 67
  68. #ctctsbw Set big, scary, challenging goals. You'll never grow if you set goals that you are guaranteed to achieve. Heather Anderson Director of Marketing, The Little Gym @TheLittleGym
  69. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw Make business decisions from the point of view of the owner of your business. 69 Bonnie Sainsbury Founder, Social Media Smarter @bsainsbury It should be able to function without you.
  70. #ctctsbw#ctctsbw Running a business can be all consuming, especially in the first few years. When we realised that we could create the kind of business that we could enjoy going into every day, everything changed for the better. We still work hard but we make sure we have fun along the way. 70 Luke Hodson Director, Awesome Merchandise @AwesomeMerch
  71. #ctctsbw Now it’s your turn! Share your best piece of business advice with us. Use the hashtag #ctctsbw, so we can follow your responses. Want business tips delivered right to your inbox? © Constant Contact 2015 Subscribe to our Hints & Tips Newsletter. #ctctsbw