10 Pieces of Small Business Advice from People Who Started One


Starting your own small business can be tough – especially if it’s your first go at being an entrepreneur. However, our digital marketing company, we’ve learned that focus, hard work, and time management can get you where you need to go. We found ten pieces of advice from entrepreneurs that can help inspire you to chase your passion:

On Following Your Dreams

“Identify what your true motivation is for starting your business or for pursuing your particular path in life. Then study it, dream it, live it, and most importantly, never lose sight of it. And always, always, always pursue with passion, desire, and the most definiteness of purpose.” – Jonah Sandler, founder of Scene75 Entertainment in Dayton, OH

“Do not underestimate the amount of effort, perseverance, and discipline that is required to be successful. I cannot stress that enough. There will be problems and you must be ready mentally, physically, and spiritually to deal with them. If you are starting a business to get rich and work less, then you are on the wrong path. One should be working on enjoying the journey not thinking about the destination. The riches-seekers never reach it.” – Noah Thomas Leask, co-founder of ISHPI in Charleston, SC

On Building Partnerships

“Visit your competition and introduce yourself. Nurture and develop a good relationship with them. Refer customers to them, as well. It’s give-and-take and there really is enough to go around. Don’t be afraid to ask them for help or advice.” – Kay Martinovic, founder of Kay’s Designer Consignment in Ormond Beach, FL

“Be collaborative with your staff, your customers, and your vendors or suppliers. The more you trust the team knowledge and wisdom of those around you, the more quickly you can recognize and adapt to changes, provide better products or services, and the stronger your organization will be. – Ellen Didier, founder of Red Sage Communications in Decatur, AL

On Using Social Media

“Instead of praying an audience (or customers) will find you, get in front of people in your space. Start a blog, podcast or create video content. Take advantage of social media. Attend in-person events. One way to make “putting yourself out there” easier is by making an effort to help others…” – Laurence Bradford, founder of Learn to Code with Me

“We would often say to ourselves ‘If you build it, they will come!’ We built a beautiful place with a delicious menu offering, but they did not come. We had a website and social media accounts, but no real budget or strategy to promote our business. We turned to Facebook, started promoting posts and saw results immediately. We have not stopped promoting posts and creating marketing campaigns on Facebook since then…” – Manuel Bucio, co-founder of Razpachos, Chicago, IL

On Learning from Others

“There are thousands of clues and even direct blueprints to how to make money if you know where to look. Find a successful company that is creating products or services that you are interested in and figure out HOW they are doing it. I use a process called reverse engineering to isolate two important factors: Their traffic and monetization. Where are they getting people to see their products? How are they converting them into buyers? If you can answer these two questions with a systematic approach, you can start to build a business around it immediately.” – Trey Smith, founder of Kayabit Games 

“We’ve had this business-owners group where we get together at somebody’s operation. …We have a potluck, we have a topic, and usually it’s something [the host company] is struggling with. … We have an hour or so discussion about that topic. It’s extremely powerful.I always encourage folks to start something like that in their area.” – Pete Johnson, founder of Pete’s Greens in Craftsbury, VT

On Following Through

“It comes from your mother. And she says when you tell somebody you’re going to do something, do it. That’s it. And it still rings true today … I find in business today people tell you a lot of things and then they don’t follow through with it whether it be employees, vendors, customers or prospects, whomever, it’s very frustrating.” – Jason Cohen, president of ILM in Fredericksburg, VA

“One of the things we were told is pretty simple — do the best you can, and do it when you say you’re going to. In my business, it makes a big difference. (Social responsibility) is incredibly lacking in business today, we don’t wear it on our sleeve, it makes us feel good. It makes us get up in the morning. My role is to be a good role model, a much better steward for the community.” – Matt Qualey, founder of Qualey Granite & Stone in Bangor, ME

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