6 Things Every New Entrepreneur Should Know

Jun 11, 2014 - Joe Matar
As founders, we learn from our own experiences. But you can’t know everything. If this is your first time starting up, it’s important to seek advice from people who have been there before. Let these six tips become part of your entrepreneur’s credo: (Click here to tweet this list.)

1. Know your differentiating factors

You might not know this right away, especially if you’re in a saturated market like law, but you have to figure it out quickly. The more you can research your industry and understand how you’re different, the better you can set yourself apart. You need to be able to show by example why you’re different. I used to think all lawyers wanted their own firm. It wasn't until I went out on my own that I realized most don't. As lawyers, we’re trained to assess and mitigate risk. We remove ambiguity and attempt to anticipate every possible thing that can go wrong. Lawyers typically have a low risk tolerance, which is generally contrary to the world of an entrepreneur, where uncertainty and risk are a reality. As an entrepreneur and a lawyer, I have a unique perspective that has helped us identify how we’re different and allows us to relate to our clients in a more meaningful way.

2. Keep your head up

Things will not always go your way. As an entrepreneur, every day is an adventure and no doubt you will face challenges along the way. It’s key to be an effective problem solver, learn from your mistakes and don’t let challenges get you down. Figure out how to overcome issues and move forward. Onward and upward.

3. Ask

Simply put, don’t be afraid to ask. Whether it be for an introduction, advice, help or information, if you’re asking, you’re taking steps forward. By asking, you’re becoming more knowledgeable through others’ experiences and expanding your network to create more opportunities. Let others challenge you to do better, to come up with solutions, to improve your business. Most people are extremely helpful and enjoy sharing their experiences. You’d be amazed at how far the right support system and resources can take you.

4. Trust your instincts

You will get a lot of advice along the way, but in the end you have to do what’s right for you and your business. Some people will understand the path you’re taking and others will not. Don’t let the naysayers steer you in the wrong direction. Take an objective look at the situation, get as many informed opinions as needed and then make a decision from there.

5. No doesn’t always mean no

It just might not be the right time. People’s needs change and evolve, as will your business. If you can’t land a particular client or an ideal candidate immediately, aim to form a relationship. Keep a dialogue going and check in periodically to see if there are any opportunities. Take the long view and recognize that success is most often a slow process of building relationships. If you’re always forming and maintaining relationships, you’ll be paving the way to greater success down the line.

6. If you can’t get a door open one way, look for other ways

While there are many people who will help you along the way, every now and then you’ll come across someone who won’t or can’t. That doesn’t mean you stop there and give up. Keep looking to find the person who is willing and able to help you, and don’t forget to return the favor. The defining characteristics of a successful entrepreneur are passion and persistence. Success is difficult but not impossible if you know who you are and what you’re after, and maintain the ability to ask for help when you need it. Tricia Meyer is managing attorney of Meyer Law, a forward-thinking boutique law firm with clients in technology, telecom, financial services, real estate, advertising and healthcare. Learn more at www.MeetMeyerLaw.com and follow us on Twitter @Tricia_Meyer or @Meyer_Law.