10 Worthwhile Tips All Entrepreneurs Should Learn

Being an expert in your industry isn't enough to make you a successful entrepreneur, though it certainly helps. That's because knowing how to make a great product and knowing how to run a startup are two entirely different skills. Not knowing enough about the latter can cause a stumble at a critical juncture. If you want to succeed, you'll want to learn as much about running a startup as possible.

1. Know When to Say “Yes” and When to Say “No”

Decisiveness is a vital part of success for an entrepreneur. Being unable to take a firm stance on your answer is inefficient and is often a waste of everyone's time. Give an immediate "yes" or "no" as often as possible. If someone demands an immediate answer and you're unsure, or on the side of caution, then say no.

2. Get Rid of Bad Seeds ASAP

No matter how thorough your hiring process is, you're bound to get a bad seed or two. That's OK, it happens. What's not OK is letting a wrong hire stay one second too long. The moment you find a bad employee, terminate them. Don't wait, don't hesitate. The longer they're in your company, the more damage they'll do.

3. Focus on Your Customers

A surprising number of entrepreneurs pay little attention to the thoughts and concerns of their clients. They're more focused on getting their ideas done rather than appealing to the customer. While your thoughts do matter, they should be aligned with the needs and wants of the consumer. They're the ones who'll be using your product, which means their opinions matter. Listening to their feedback lets you innovate in the right direction, and it keeps your company focused.

4. Protect Yourself

Nothing hurts more than being beaten by a competitor that stole your ideas. Fortunately, there are ways to protect your intellectual property. If you don't know what they are and whether you should be looking for a trademark or copyright or both, consult with a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property. That may cost you, but it'll also keep you and your startup safe from theft, which will save you more money in the long run.

5. Learn to Write Agreements

Vague arrangements and contracts are the banes of many entrepreneurs. Anything that leaves wiggle room for abuse will be abused, and that which isn't expressly forbidden will often be done. It may seem silly to try to cover your bases and expect people on the other side of the negotiation table to behave with "honor," but they have companies to run too. You can avoid putting them in that awkward position by writing valid agreements.

6. Be Appropriate with Your Transparency

Transparency, although often touted as something you should display at every opportunity, should be used carefully. Being transparent with employees is important. For example, letting them know how the company is doing and how they're helping will keep lines of communication open and morale stable. However, it doesn't mean they have to know every detail without prompting. Learning when to keep your mouth shut and when to share is an important skill for all entrepreneurs.