10 Secrets to Take Your Startup From Barely Surviving to Thriving

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Navigating through entrepreneurship can feel like treading water in the ocean all alone. You see the land up ahead but how do you get there? If you were the captain of your own cruise ship, would you say that you are getting closer to your destination or farther away? Before you drown, listen up.

I started my first business out of my college dorm room, DJ Connection, and grew it to more than 4,000 events per year. Sounds easy, but while doing that, I made every mistake in the book. And while it's true that failure is an effective teacher and that our mistakes do provide excellent learning opportunities, the reality is that most of us can’t afford to make very many mistakes before it's game over.

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If you want to go from barely surviving to thriving in business, implement these 10 pieces of advice.

1. Think big. I mean really big. Dream up big, hairy, audacious goals that you are passionate about and pursue them relentlessly.  You have to begin with the end goal in mind, knowing that a goal is a dream with a deadline. You must believe and understand that if you do not impose the deadline for your dreams on yourself, your dreams will be dead, because they will never be accomplished.

2. Learn to sell.  If you can’t sell your product, it goes from being an asset to a liability. Learn to sell, partner with someone who can sell or learn to be poor.

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3. Over deliver.  Over deliver on promises and deadlines. Show up early, deliver your product early and deliver more than you promised. Over deliver now, and in the future, you will be overpaid.

4. Be a person of integrity.  Always deliver on your promises, even when it’s not fun, easy or conveniently affordable. Build a foundation for success on your solid reputation so that you can exponentially grow your level of compensation.

5. Standardize everything.  Common sense is not common; thus, you must create duplicable processes for every facet of your business.

6. Pursue learning with a passion.  Becoming successful is not complicated. Passionately study successful people who have similar goals and dreams in mind. Then, relentlessly do what these people did to become successful.

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7. Develop mutually beneficial relationships.  Only engage in mutually beneficial relationships with everyone. If you develop sincere, mutually beneficial relationships with your customers based on trust and a habit of over delivering on both product and service, you will exponentially grow your customer base.

8. Differentiate.  Get the right people on the boat and then get the boat moving toward your goal. As you progress forward, reward your top people and remove your bottom people systematically. If you don’t fire your worst employees, then your best customers will fire you.

9. Celebrate your team’s successes and learn from your failures.  When you fail, don’t cry about it. Look for the seed of an equivalent benefit hidden beneath the disappointment of the temporary setback. Then pick yourself up off the ground and get back to work today.

10. Take advantage of opportunities. “Be greedy when the market is fearful, and be fearful when the market is greedy.”  Warren Buffet contributed this little rule. When the U.S. population sees the sky falling and people want to liquidate their assets that is when you want to buy. Each dollar you earn is a gift and you cannot afford to give up these gifts by buying things at full price.

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