10 Tips for Younger Entrepreneurs

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

– A Zambian proverb

The following insights are written by the National Director of Chair Development and TEC Canada Chair, Peter Buchanan:

I’m a TEC Chair of a group made up of 15 CEOs, presidents, and owners of medium-sized private businesses. By joining one of TEC Canada’s executive peer advisory groups, they’ve all made a significant commitment to the growth of their businesses—and to themselves as leaders.

We spend one day together every month, which is completely devoted to working on their organizations and becoming more effective leaders. During this time, they routinely share with me that because of the conversations we have, the thought leadership from TEC’s inspiring subject-matter experts, and the time we spend one-to-one to grow strategically and overcome their hurdles faster—they make better decisions and navigate their challenges more effectively.

I embarked on the role of TEC Chair 25 years ago, and today, my members’ companies range in size from $5MM to $100MM. Everyone in the group, myself included, is proudly affiliated with TEC Canada and its dedication to increasing the effectiveness and enhancing the lives of chief executives and business leaders.

Recently at our annual retreat, I asked my group members the following question: “What should a younger business owner keep in mind as they build their business, based on what you have learned over the years?”

We spent the next few hours having a rich conversation about the lessons they would impart to younger entrepreneurs, and the advice they’d give based on their own experiences.

According to the group, here are the most important 10 tips for young entrepreneurs to remember:

  1. Always watch your numbers…especially cash and margins.
  2. Hire slowly; fire quickly.
  3. Don’t put off difficult conversations.
  4. Empower people; build the business so you become redundant.
  5. Have clear goals.
  6. Over-communicate – never leave people in the dark.
  7. Avoid partnerships if you can; if you can’t, have a good shareholders agreement that covers dealing with partners having different objectives.
  8. Pay close attention to the culture of your organization. It is a direct reflection of your mission and the values of your company.
  9. Always be learning.
  10. Have fun and strive to maintain balance in your life.

Many of my members also advised that younger business owners join one of TEC Canada’s peer groups. I think they made a pretty good list based on my 30 years of experience working with CEOs, presidents, and business owners. What do you think?