Inspiration, Productivity

10 Top Tips from Successful Entrepreneurs

By Danielle Newnham

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I consider myself very lucky to have interviewed more than 300 entrepreneurs, founders and innovators and I am always amazed by their stories. From how they got started to the grit it took to succeed; their journeys are always different but they often face similar struggles. And what I take from each interview can be passed on to other innovators and entrepreneurs so that they are better armed on their own entrepreneurial journey.

So here are some of my favourite lessons from ten incredible leaders — I hope you find them as useful as I did.

The number one determinant of entrepreneurial success is persistence. If you are not prepared to go to superhuman levels that are beyond rationality to realize your dream, then your chance of finding success is virtually zero.
Chris Barton, Shazam

 
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Starting in high school or college, I have lived my life according to what I call Verbally Stated Goals (VSG). At each major juncture, I focus on the most core emotion at that time; I crystallize it into words forming a mission statement; and then I tell everyone I meet that this is what I am doing. Telling people my Verbally Stated Goal does two things: first, by declaring it in front of many people, this commits me to achieving the goal; second, when people know what I’m trying to do, they find ways to help me.
Adam Cheyer, Siri  
We waste too much time being afraid, when what we should really fear is wasting time.
Dame Stephanie Shirley
 
The funny thing is the lessons I learned from both Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos are very similar — but the motivations were different. In Bill’s case, there was a stronger focus on out-foxing a competitor; in Jeff’s case, the focus was more on blowing away customers. Both strategies work; they’re just products of different people and different market dynamics.
David Risher, Worldreader
 

Everyone will tell you “No.” You have to believe in yourself and your brand and climb over any obstacles. Let go of your weak links. It’s your business so don’t be afraid to make the hard choices of letting someone go. Any time you are faced with opposition, it is important to stop and reassess. You can overcome any obstacle if you are willing to reevaluate your strategy.
Lauren Napier, entrepreneur and makeup artist, creator of CLEANSE

 
I learned that when things are working, you’ll know they’re working, so I began to shift ideas quickly. In the beginning, it was like a labor of love, and I believed the normal business spiel of never giving up. It was easier to know when something was working than when it wasn’t. Like, when you’re pushing a boulder uphill, and then it runs downhill, you can feel it. But I think the people who have never experienced the downhill, even a little bit of downhill, don’t know. They think things are supposed to be that hard, and they are not. It shouldn’t be that hard to get the market to adopt or adapt to your product, if there’s a fit for it.
Omar Hamoui, AdMob
 
Your personal brand is everything — build a reputation, credibility and (reciprocal) relationships. Remember people buy into people. Networking is crucial in business and in a career… speak to everyone, accept every opportunity and event (in the early days before you become discerning), be the best you can and don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Bianca Miller, serial entrepreneur and author
 
There is zero value, literally zero cent value, in your idea and there’s 100% value in your ability to execute your idea. So you should be shouting your idea from the rooftops because all that is going to happen is that you are going to get feedback — some of it bad, some of it different, some of it good, which is going to help you further refine your idea and help create more value for it.
Brendan O’Driscoll, Soundwave
 
Never compromise on your truth to fit. It’s a lesson which if left unlearnt will keep coming back for you. As relevant for our professional lives as for our personal.
Jessica Huie MBE
 

Sinx and I always believed we could put our minds to anything — you have got to be adaptable, willing to change, willing to admit when you make mistakes and learn from them. Never try and be a dictator to staff but enable them to grow and let them do great work.
Mills, ustwo

 Danielle Newnham is co-founder of F =, an online store and empowerment platform for women and children which recently launched the Our Stories Matter campaign.

Danielle is also founder of The Junto Network which hosts networking dinners for tech entrepreneurs and was on the founding team of ubinow, a mobile apps agency in London which sold to Havas.

Danielle has authored two books – the latest being Female Innovators at Work: Women on Top of Tech.