If you are a budding entrepreneur, or even if you’ve been in the game for several years, one of the most valuable assets you can have is a network of mentors to help guide you along the way. No matter how sure you are of yourself or how successful you’ve been, there are always going to be times when you could use a little guidance, some advice on how to make a course correction, or maybe just a pat on the back when nobody else seems to recognize what you’ve accomplished.
I can’t set you up with your own mentors — you’ll have to find them for yourself — but I can offer you some lessons that working entrepreneurs say have been the most helpful to them. Watch and learn.
This video from Entrepreneur magazine presents a group of entrepreneurs who were asked to share the best advice they’ve ever received. Though only one – a former athlete who gave props to his coach – actually says where the advice came from, it is clear that the advice provided was invaluable. It not only captured their attention, but in every case it has propelled them to their success, sustained their vision and has helped them to evaluate what they are doing each and every day. There are some real gems here, and a remarkable number of repeats of the same basic but all-important lessons that, once learned, make the difference between achieving your dreams and falling short. Here are some of my favorites:
- Never take “No” for an answer from somebody who’s not the final decision maker.
- When you’re talking, you’re not learning.
- At the end of the day, you’re running the business. You’re the expert. You know what’s right.
- Never accept failure, keep going at it until you succeed.
- It’s easier to get forgiveness then to get permission.
- Move the needle 100%, not 10%.
It was surprising to see how many people indicated that the most important advice that they had received was some version of “roll with the punches.” It’s pithy and simplistic, yet telling. It speaks eloquently to the disappointments and setbacks that are inevitably part of being an entrepreneur, and of the importance of sticking with your vision, believing in yourself, and continuing to look to the future. The former athlete in the group quoted his coach when he spoke of the struggles that he had gone through as he built his business. “Men will always fall. Men are not judged by how hard they fall, but by how high they can bounce back when they hit the bottom.”
The group embraced they advice they’d received regarding giving back to the community and paying it forward. One voiced it simply enough, saying that he’d been told “giving back is the best form of satisfaction.”
Finally, a piece of advice that gets to the heart of what being an entrepreneur is all about: “If where you’re at now isn’t important enough to be successful at it, get out and do something else.” It’s an important lesson in constantly evaluating, reevaluating, and appreciating.