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8 Lessons to Get Your Business Off the Ground

By: Michael Feuer
Posted: September 29, 2011, from the October 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Entrepreneurial success isn’t rocket science; it requires a great idea, the chutzpah to pull the trigger, and the determination and discipline to create and stack the building blocks needed to get from point A to point B—and from point B all the way to Z. You’ll need to rule your start-up like a benevolent dictator, being focused on doing the right things for the right reasons for all stakeholders, and recognizing when debate, conversation and analysis can’t take you any farther. Being a benevolent dictator provides the critical leadership necessary to take an idea and transform it into reality as fast as possible. Following are eight tips for getting a start-up business off the ground.

1. If you don’t ask, you won’t get. Whether you’re asking an employee to go the extra mile or asking a vendor for a discounted price, you have to be willing to put yourself out there. Though most entrepreneurs don’t like asking others for help, they must learn to live with the process, because it’s a stark reality of growing a company.

2. “No” means “maybe.” Hearing “no” may simply mean that you haven’t effectively or passionately explained what you need—or adequately expressed how your success will translate to their success—whether it be a client, an employee or a vendor.

3. Always look at a new idea through your clients’ eyes. Today, clients have the power. No longer do they have to accept inferior products and dismal service. It’s imperative to listen to what your customers are really saying when they tell you what they want from your business.

4. The journey better be as much fun as the destination. Burnout commonly boils down to too much focus on the final outcome and an inability to enjoy the day-to-day elements of being an entrepreneur. In short, you have to enjoy the journey as much as you enjoy reaching the destination. If you don’t, you might make it there, but you won’t last long once you get there.