Sunday, May 26, 2013

7 must-know tips from successful entrepreneurs

What can you do to make your small business one of the thrivers? To find out, we asked entrepreneurs who have succeeded.

1. Love what you do.
The road to success is a hard one. But, according to Lisa King, owner of Brownie Points Inc., which sells gourmet brownies and holiday gift baskets, it's a lot easier if you're passionate about your business's purpose. "If you don't [love what you do], it's hard to be successful," she says. She adds that this helps you stay positive: "You need to maintain your optimism. Once it's gone, you're done."

2. Build a team immersed in your vision.
"For me, it's more than just hiring experienced people. It's important to demonstrate the type of organization we want to be," says Mike Mondello, president of SeaBear, which supplies fresh and smoked wild salmon directly to consumers. To bring to life the vision of building a seafood brand based on world-class, sustainable wild salmon, Mondello used a team meeting to showcase a fisherman whose way of catching fish resulted in a better end product.

3. Come up with innovative ways to solve problems.
Necessity really is the mother of invention. Just ask Robin Brocklesby of Creative Coverings, which rents specialty linens for formal events. When customers were having difficulty returning the linens they had rented, Brocklesby turned to UPS for a creative solution. The result was out-of-the box innovation: Return the linens in specially designed bags (with an estimated life span of 300 uses) rather than larger boxes.