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The Dozen Difficult Steps Necessary to Succeed at Entrepreneurship From launch to success is a long, exciting journey the weak of heart cannot complete.

By Jacqueline Whitmore Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Creating a successful business is difficult. There are no two ways around it. You strive to point yourself down the field and head toward the goalposts, avoiding and overcoming all the obstacles that get in your way. This can be done by tackling these often-challenging blockers.

1. You have to believe.

Surround yourself with positive, talented people. Ignore the naysayers and truly believe that what you have to offer will benefit others. Go forth with confidence, armed with proof of your product's or service's benefits.

2. You have to feel confident.

Nary an entrepreneur avoids the insecurity of calling on a new customer, the fear of launching a new venture or the doubt that he or she will succeed. Those who succeed put hesitation aside and do it anyway.

Related: 4 Practices Certain to Make You Confident

3. You have to make sales calls.

You are in business to make money, and the only way to make money is through getting and keeping customers and clients. Out of sight is out of mind. That's why it's important to make it a priority to keep in touch with old contacts, follow up with prospective clients and make in-person appointments. Do this on a weekly basis.

4. You have to dare to be different.

Make a list of all the things that differentiate your company and products from your competitors' and use them as selling points. Demonstrate why you are different, and what makes you better.

5. You have to be nice.

It is not easy to be nice all the time, especially when others are not nice to you. To be successful, act like you would like to be treated if you were the client. Create a corporate culture of kindness.

6. You have to step out on a limb.

Zero tries equals zero payoffs. Don't be afraid to attend networking meetings, launch a new product, ask for a big sale, request a referral, or convince an investor to support your vision.

Related: It Really Does Pay to Be Nice -- Growing Research Links Friendship and Success

7. You have to deliver results.

People buy your offerings because they expect and deserve results, and good -- or great -- results will produce repeat customers and organic word-of-mouth marketing. Don't let customers down by providing a shoddy product, inept customer service or faulty communication. The most important thing is to be responsive. The quicker you respond, the more likely you will get the sale.

8. You have to be accountable.

As a business owner, you are accountable for everything that happens within your business, whether things go right or wrong. Take responsibility for the work ethic, consequences and remedial actions.

9. You have to delegate.

Nobody can successfully do everything in a business and still grow. Discover what tasks you don't like (accounting, administrative, social media, etc.) and delegate those tasks to others. This will free you up to do what you do best. You are your own best business card so get out there and sell yourself.

Related: The Delegation Dilemma: How Do You Know When It's Time?

10. You have to fail.

Even the most successful entrepreneurs have failed numerous times. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain if you reach for your goals. If you don't succeed, pick yourself up, learn from the experience and try again.

11. You have to forgive yourself.

It can be difficult to admit a mistake, so when you take a hard hit, disappoint a customer, or make a misstep, remember, it is not the end of the world. Don't stew about it for too long. It's a waste of time and you won't gain anything from wallowing in your negativity.

12. You have to keep moving forward.

Whenever you feel stagnate, continue to put one foot in front of the other. Don't get stuck in a rut. Keep an eye on the big picture and you will eventually accomplish your goals.

To stay motivated, hire a career coach, join a mastermind group, or network with like-minded individuals. Never give up. Even the best teams lose a couple of games on the way to the Super Bowl or the World Series. Keep learning and training, keep your nose to the grindstone, and give your clients and customers your very best.

Jacqueline Whitmore

Author, Business Etiquette Expert and Founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach

Jacqueline Whitmore is an etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach in Palm Beach, Fla. She is the author of Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Professionals (St. Martin's Press, 2011) and Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work (St. Martin's Press, 2005).

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