15 Things Every Aspiring Entrepreneur Should Know

What every entrepreneur should know before they start their first business. Tips from an entrepreneur Mark Mason.

1. Monetize your free time. Take some of the time you use for socialising and use it to build your business.

2. Surround yourself with other entrepreneurs. Surround yourself with the type of people you want to become. Make sure your friends are not those who want to sit and do nothing about their lives. Find other people who are in a similar position as you and push and motivate one another.

3. Business ideas don’t matter, what matters is execution. A lot of people are proud of themselves for coming up with a cool idea. But the most successful businesses in history were rarely new ideas. Google wasn’t a new idea. Facebook wasn’t a new idea. Microsoft wasn’t a new idea. All of these companies merely executed better than anyone else.

4. Obsess about your brand. The reality of the current economy is that pretty much any information, product or service a person wants, they already have dozens of choices of who to purchase them from. Scarcity doesn’t exist anymore. Differentiation purely through price or quality is an almost impossible strategy for entering or dominating a new market. What dominates now is brand. Your brand defines the relationship you have with your prospect and customer.

5. Believe in what you’re doing. Otherwise, even if you do become successful, you’re just stuck in another grind. But this time, it’s of your own making.

6. Business is not about making money. It’s about value and values. If you continue to monetize what you personally value, you’ll never tire of working (in fact, you’ll look forward to it). If you optimize the value your business generates, the money will happen as a side-effect. There’s a subtle difference between value and money. Sometimes you must eat a chunk of money to create greater long-term value. If you’re just in it for the bottom line, you’ll never be willing to do this.

7. The 1000 Day Rule. The 1000 day rule states that you should expect to be WORSE off than you were at your day job for the first 1000 days of your new business.

8. Treat your customers like family. They’re the only reason you’re here in the first place. Treat them with respect. Reply to their emails promptly. Answer their questions.

9. Don’t deliver a product, deliver an experience. Steve Jobs said that he wanted Apple products to provide an experience, not just a function. Apple is possibly the strongest brand on the planet right now. This is what I mean when I say obsess about your brand: obsess about the experience you’re giving your customers, not just the information or product you’re giving them.

10. This will be a part of your permanent identity, choose wisely. The idea of, "I’ll do this for a few years, make a bunch of money for a few years, and then go do what I REALLY love!" is a myth. It never works out.

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