Top Tips for the Small Business Owner from those in the Know

As a small business owner, you’re hearing advice from every Tom, Dick and Harry and it’s tricky to decide what or who you should be listening to. So why not listen to those who have been there, done it and succeeded?

We’ve helpfully collated the expert advice from top entrepreneurs around the world to guide you through your journey from start-up to small business owner and beyond!

Have fun and look after your team

Your employees are the life blood of your company, if they fail your business goes down too. So it’s important to create a happy work environment that will not only keep your business running smoothly but also increase employee retention, boost creativity and cultivate innovation. This mentality will help your business to thrive.

Richard BransonRichard Branson

“Fun is one of the most important – and underrated – ingredients in any successful venture. If you’re not having fun, then it’s probably time to call it quits and try something else.

If your staff are having fun and genuinely care about other people, they will enjoy their work more and do a better job. Find people who look for the best in others, praise rather than criticise, and love what they do.”

Read More: 10 Top Richard Branson Business Tips

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Your energy and your time are scarce resources

It may seem difficult to prioritise when EVERYTHING seems like a priority but you need to consider the time and energy (and ultimately money) you could end up wasting if you take on every project. When you find yourself drowning in a sea of to-do lists, assess the value of each task, delegate, and if you don’t deem it to be of importance, as Arianna Huffington says, drop it and move on.

Arianna HuffingtonArianna Huffington

“To be able to fully move on, you need to complete your projects. And sometimes you can complete a project by dropping it. This skill can be incredibly useful to you.

You need to decide what you are going to put your energy into and what you are NOT going to put energy into. The latter is just as important. I leave movies and plays in the middle if I don’t feel like they are worth another 15-60 minutes of my life. You just need to make a decision, call it done, and move on.”

Read More: 8 Life and Leadership Lessons from Arianna Huffington

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Reduce the risk

If you want to maintain a stable and secure business ensure you weigh up the risk and reward. If you’ve established your business what’s the point in risking it all? You’ll be able to find another more innovative and secure way of procuring your goal.

Theo PaphitisTheo Paphitis

“I‘m a great believer that the risk should reflect the reward. My whole business philosophy is based on a risk-reward ratio. But it’s got to stack up. If it doesn’t, don’t do it. You might as well go to a casino.

If you think you’ve come up with the business idea to end all business ideas, there are just two things you’ve got to ask yourself; what are the risks, and what are the rewards? I never take ridiculous risks. I am the most conservative person you will ever come across, and that’s because I’m good at reducing risks while leaving the potential rewards high.

You’ve got to make sure that you’ve got all the information and you know more about what’s happening than the next guy.”

Read More: Theo Paphitus Business Tips

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Maintain your start-up mindset

So you’re passed the start-up phase of your business and you want to leave that hard slog behind you and bask in the joy of owning an established business. Stop and take a leaf out of Marissa Mayer’s book, CEO of Yahoo who believes in keeping up the pace and staying focused.

Marissa MayerMarissa Mayer

“It will sound strange, but we think of ourselves as the world’s largest startup,” Mayer says. “Startups have to move fast. Startups organize into small teams that are really dedicated to particular products or investments, and that gives people a large sense of ownership, responsibility, autonomy.”

Read More: Marissa Mayer on Passion, Focus, and Transforming a Company You Didn’t Create

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Go above and beyond

One of the most important behaviours as a business leader is to go above and beyond. Whether that’s for a client or you’re delivering on a project or personal challenge, do it as well as you possibly can. Although you may not get recognised for it straight away, you will get noticed and be rewarded eventually, a belief held and proven by Jeffrey Katzenberg, co-founder of DreamWorks.

Jeffrey KatzenbergJeffrey Katzenberg

“I don’t think it matters how small or how big the task is, if you can do it just a little bit better than what is expected, you will be noticed and rewarded. At DreamWorks, with every movie we make, we start out with the ambition and the goal to exceed the expectations of our audience. We may not succeed every time, and you may not either, but we sure do try.”

Read More: Best Advice from CEOs: 40 Execs’ Secrets to Success


There’s no need to feel overshadowed by these influential figures. However, their values, to some extent, helped them become the successes that they are today. By reflecting on these values, you’re confronting the ideas that occupy great minds. If you’re ideas are big, your business will grow to match them!

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