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Successful Leaders Don't Ignore These 6 Startup Strategies The best entrepreneurs try to be radically honest, take personal responsibility and be transparent with themselves and their stakeholders.

By Dustin Lemick Edited by Micah Zimmerman

Key Takeaways

  • Success is like a puzzle, and all the pieces need to fit. When your family or home life isn't doing well, you may not have the energy and resources to sustain and lead a successful business.
  • Starting a business and using funds from investors and customers is a significant responsibility, greatly increasing your personal accountability.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I learned a lot during the early stages of my company. Although it's been more than five years since I found it, there are lessons I'll always remember.

It might be surprising that my first strategy point focuses on "ourselves." Personal responsibility isn't a strategy most would expect, but it's one that I found highly effective. Starting a business and taking someone else's money from your investors and customers is a huge responsibility — your personal responsibility skyrockets. The stakes only get higher with every stakeholder you add.

Related: Are You Ready For Entrepreneurship? Here's How to Break Free of the Corporate Grind to Pursue Your Passion

Many business owners might take a more laissez-faire or unrestrained mindset and action when starting a company. It stems from prioritizing risk-taking and the out-of-the-box nature of our work. In the beginning, new businesses require leaps into the unknown and are constantly evolving. With many other people besides yourself depending on your leadership, you must take the lead and own up. The best entrepreneurs do not make excuses or blame others when mistakes or failures inevitably occur. They try to be radically honest, take personal responsibility and be transparent with themselves and their stakeholders.

It can be easy to regard stakeholders as purely transactional relationships as a means toward achieving your goals. But, you have to be clear about your responsibility to every stakeholder involved in your company. Some of them may have millions of dollars invested. For others, like your employees, it's their livelihood. The money you raise from investors could also be someone's life savings. Treat everyone as a trusted partner. Be open and willing to get to know them and listen to their advice. Balancing your stakeholders' interests is one of my top strategies.

I also named decisive action as a pivotal strategy. As a business owner or leader, you always deal with a finite amount of time and limited resources, even more so when raising outside capital. It's imperative that you make timely, good-quality decisions. Hesitate to make choices for too long, and your window of opportunity will close. Or, worse, you'll put your business at risk because you didn't act fast enough. You want to avoid getting in a situation where you know you have to cut expenses early on but wait until you're close to running out of cash to make the tough decision. You aren't always going to have the whole picture. You have to make a choice and trust it.

Related: 10 Ways to Develop a Success-Oriented Mindset

Additionally, staying in command was on my list. Owning and running a business is full of ups and downs, a literal and emotional roller coaster ride. You're at constant risk of losing control of yourself, your well-being and your company. You have to be wholly bulletproof and act accordingly.

The best entrepreneurs I know have this mentality that things can burn to the ground, but they're okay because they'll figure it out. They have a singular focus. They keep going and don't stop. No matter what's going on, they cut through the chaos and stay in control. Keep calm and make the best decisions that you can. Staying in command also means being self-reliant. It may be tempting for business founders and leaders to become too reliant on others and give up control. Stay involved and gain or maintain your own competency to help you make intelligent decisions.

Developing and maintaining your support system is crucial to your strategy. Starting a new business is the hardest thing I've ever done by a long shot. It takes an unreal amount of energy, time and effort. It can also be lonely and isolating. You're under enormous stress, failing and falling a lot. People can buckle under this pressure and struggle with unhealthy or bad habits. As a leader, you may feel an expectation to grind through it, but it is essential to talk with people. It's made a massive difference for me on many occasions. Be bold and look to others, such as co-founders, mentors and advisors for guidance and support. A sound support system doesn't just apply to your professional life. You're going to need resources in your personal life as well.

Related: 6 Growth Hacks Every Entrepreneur Should Know About

That points to another effective strategy: ensure you are investing the time and effort to make your family and home life happy and fulfilling. Success is like a puzzle, and all the pieces need to fit. When your family or home life isn't doing well, you may not have the energy and resources to sustain and lead a successful business. People need to pay more attention to this. They think they'll power through any barrier and keep going until they make it, and only then take care of their health, family and so on. It doesn't work this way. Your business journey doesn't just affect you. It affects your loved ones, too. What impacts them will impact you. You need to live and enjoy life to sustain a good business.

Related: How To Increase Employee Responsibility — Regardless of Where You're Working

My last strategy? Enjoy the ride and have fun. You're doing something as a business owner or leader that is so hard. You must find ways to enjoy the journey, or you'll crash and burn. We all want our company to have considerable success early, and that sometimes happens. More often, it is a much longer process and is generally big, complex and will take time. That means you'll be living through it for years and need to find joy to succeed in life and business. I've been able to achieve success by really enjoying the people I work with and the work I do and having a brimming personal life.

Dustin Lemick

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CEO of BriteCo

Dustin Lemick is the CEO of BriteCo, a leading insurance provider offering best-in-class jewelry and watch insurance. With 10+ years of insurance experience and a comprehensive background in retail jewelry, his expertise spans insurance operations, underwriting, and retail pricing models.

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