Shared Business Wisdom From Fellow Entrepreneurs

People talking and listening through tin cans with a string

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One of the best pieces of advice I ever received came from Tony Robbins, “You better come up with a brand no one else can do better.” The next day, I filed the trademark for the Retail Doctor.

Every entrepreneur's journey is peppered with valuable lessons and insights. I asked my Facebook fans what their best advice was, and they came up with nine main ideas:

1. Fulfilling Promises

"If you tell someone you're going to do something, you had better well do it," writes second-generation entrepreneur Sarah Taylor Marketing. Whether it's promising to call a client later in the day or deliver a project by a certain date, following through is crucial for maintaining credibility and trust. Kevin Mote added, "Never make up an answer or tell a white lie. Be upfront when a mistake has been made and fix it. Always do what you said you were going to do."

2. Value-Based Pricing

I always say that you must know your worth and stop giving people discounts. Otherwise, you have clients who are loyal to the deal you give, not to you. Ken George Roberts agrees, "Never drop your price," while Richard Lewis urges businesses to "Charge what you are worth!" Bob Mullen reminds us that profit isn't about the selling price; instead, it starts with your buying abilities, saying, "It doesn't matter how much you sell it for; it's about how much you paid for it."

3. Efficient Business Management

Effective business management requires goal setting, consistency, and adaptability. Mike Garretson suggests setting daily tasks and goals while ensuring they are achievable. Joanne Smida emphasizes the importance of consistency and recommends cultivating one's own garden. Otherwise, you can go from one marketing idea to another, from one product line to another. That can play havoc with your crew and customers. Similarly, Cynthia Dickerman calls for flexibility, and Connie Nolen Hooper advises, "Done is better than perfect!" I’m guilty of many post-it notes of what I want to do, so I have an assistant who makes me prioritize daily.

4. Customer Centricity

Focusing on the customers' needs and desires is central to any successful business. Brett M. Judd advises that customers are interested in the outcomes your product or service can deliver, not the product or service itself. Brian Victory shares similar sentiments: "1) It's not you. 2) It's not about you. 3) Customer service is problem-solving." Bill Atkins adds, "Always value the lifetime value of the relationship with your customers."  When I was in the coffeehouse business, we pointed out to new franchisees that an average sale is only four dollars. But when you realize they come in every day, that’s about a $2000 customer you’re looking at, not a four-dollar cup of coffee when they first walk in. And that’s $2000 for each friend they refer.

5. Financial Prudence

Regarding finances, Robert Palleja shares advice from his late wife: "If we don’t have the cash, we don’t do it." Several other entrepreneurs, like Holly L. Dominick, Rebecca Watson Schiller, and Danielle Motley, stressed the importance of knowing your numbers, financial planning, and understanding that cash is king. But understanding isn’t what’s needed; it’s making sure you don’t buy what you like but what will sell and then making sure to sell it at a profit.

6. Employee and Team Management

When Debbie Sublett signed her franchise agreement, she was told: "There are people on your team and those who aren't. When you identify those who aren't, you need to get them gone ASAP." I couldn’t agree more. The first ninety days are going to be their best. If associates aren't doing their best, they won’t magically change. Susan Bazinet emphasizes the need to value employees as much as customers.

7. Continuous Learning and Adaptability

Many contributors emphasized the importance of continuous learning, adaptability, and the willingness to change. Daniel Delisle advises using your people instead of taking it all on yourself, keeping your ego in check, being humble, and being prepared to learn something new daily. Sharon Williams shares, "Always be open to change and suggestions." The death of many businesses begins with the sentence, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.”

8. The Power of Innovation and Marketing

Jennifer Kerr succinctly captures a core truth of business: "Business is two things: innovation & marketing." Innovation doesn’t have to be yours, like coming up with the newest VR, but it is using technology that empowers your team, streamlines processes, and removes friction from your customer. That’s why many retailers are exploring options in unified commerce, sustainability, and RFID tags.

9. Know Your Business Well

Several comments revolved around the importance of understanding one's business in-depth. That might mean, as Julie Mills suggested, time management. You schedule what is important, not wait for it to become essential. Gina Fasini encourages constant training and improvement, which dovetails into my advice that training should be something you do, not something you did. David Kirkpatrick advised keeping a constant eye on the competition, while Tim Graham promotes the profit-first method of accounting.

In Sum

Each piece of advice shared here is a testament to their unique journey - their victories, challenges, and learnings. Use them as a compass to navigate your unique business landscape.

Remember, success isn't about mirroring someone else's journey but understanding the lessons, adapting them to your context, and paving your own path. You don’t have to learn these lessons and struggle when others have made it through, leaving clues on how to succeed.

You’re part of a dynamic, supportive entrepreneurial community looking to do even better. Take chances and continue to learn and grow.

If you'd like to know more about how to train your crew how to sell more in your store, click the button below to learn about SalesRX, my online retail sales training program in a live call with me.