13 Entrepreneurs Share the One Lesson That Has Most Impacted Their Business

Entrepreneurial lessons are learned every single day, but some have a greater effect on the future of your business than others.

Newsweek Expert Forum members share industry insights.
Photos courtesy of the individual members.

Every new opportunity, challenge and experience in the business world is a potential lesson for an entrepreneur. Some circumstances can teach useful tidbits that a business owner can pull out of their proverbial back pocket when needed. Others have a much more tangible effect and change the course of a founder's entrepreneurial future.

A panel of Newsweek Expert Forum members reflected on their own entrepreneurial journeys and the biggest lessons they've learned along the way. Below, 13 of them shared a lesson that has made a huge impact on their business in the long run and how they've applied it to their strategy for success.

1. Transparency Builds Trust

Transparency builds trust in every relationship. To build and maintain trust, it's important to be transparent with both clients and employees. Trust and transparency should be foundational values in any company culture that wishes to attract and retain top talent. They are not only great recruitment tools, but they also make the culture into something that others want to nurture and see succeed. - Henry Kurkowski, eWireless

2. Proof Points Show Capabilities

Create proof points of what products and services you can offer. For example, our blockchain-based timestamp verification product was deployed by the Qatari government. Having an existing government client demonstrates our capabilities to other governments considering security and transparency enhancements. - Anthem Blanchard, HeraSoft

3. A Triple-Layer Network Is Beneficial

I have learned to create a triple-layer network. First I start with those I look up to because they have paved the path I want to travel and provide sound advice. Second is with my peers to share my experiences along the way, and third is with those following me because they push me forward and support the work. This strategy helps me to be well-rounded and to see my business from different perspectives. - LaKesha Womack, Womack Consulting Group

4. You Don't Always Need Sales Tactics

"Sales" doesn't always have to be about tactics and persuasion. It's all about being human and genuinely trying to help someone solve a problem. I think there's too much emphasis around the stigma of traditional sales that people don't believe they have what it takes. Just be empathetic and you will begin building people's trust before you know it. - Chris Davis, Revcarto

5. It's OK to Make Mistakes

It's more than OK to make mistakes—it's necessary for success! Once I stopped fearing mistakes and weaknesses and started embracing them as growth opportunities, everything changed for me and doors started opening all around me. The pressure was gone and I began to thrive. Life is one big lesson and we're all learning together. Let go and have fun because that's when all the magic happens! - Jenna Hinrichsen, Advanced RPO

6. Make Sure to Communicate and Delegate

Entrepreneurs take big risks, push through objections and go for it based on the belief they are right. But as you get successful and need more people, you must move to be an entrepreneurial leader, listening more, inspiring others not just doing your own thing and moving from a "me" to a "we" mindset. Make sure you can communicate, delegate and give feedback well. That gets the best out of the team and you! - Chris Roebuck, Simply Success

7. Drop the 'Perfect Professional' Mentality

Be yourself and not what everyone tells you to be. When I dropped the "perfect professional" and "ideal CEO" mentality and just was comfortable being myself—opportunities immediately began to open up for me. At the end of the day, I closed myself off from great business deals by putting on "professional airs." Authenticity is king. - Chris Tompkins, The Go! Agency

8. Focus on Actions Over Results

It is important to always focus on actions and not the results because the result is not in your control. But your actions are 100 percent under your control. Once you focus on actions, all your insecurities and uncertainties about the results go away and success is inevitable. - Roshani Pandey, True Root Financial

9. Maintain Your Focus

Maintaining focus has been key to success. You can be tempted to overcommit and expand offerings too quickly as you grow and momentum builds in the market for your brand and services. Developing a crystal clear focus on your ideal client, their needs and how you can help them is critical for deciding the most impactful moves you can make for your company. It is incredible what can happen. - Matt Domo, FifthVantage

10. Validate Your Idea Before You Go All In

Market test before you put time, energy and money into creating something you believe will be a winner solely based on your own point of view. - Mark Goulston, Mark Goulston, M.D., Inc.

11. Don't Be a People Pleaser

Don't ever try to be a people pleaser. Do what's best and necessary for the company. Keep a formal atmosphere at your business, and there's absolutely no room for "buddy systems." - Tammy Sons, Tn Nursery

12. Create a Minimum Viable Product

I quickly learned to test my riskiest assumptions first and then concentrate on creating a minimum viable product that solves a user pain point. This lesson cost me over a year of effort to solve a problem that did not exist on a massive scale. - Manuchehr Kurbonali, Zentist

13. There Are No Shortcuts

Everyone wants to find shortcuts to make more money, faster, but you can't do it. You have to work hard, show patience and eventually, when you're doing all the right things, it will come together in a successful way. - Ben Armstrong, BitBoy Crypto

The Newsweek Expert Forum is an invitation-only network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.
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