40 Successful Entrepreneurs Reveal What They Wish They Knew Before Starting Their Businesses


Are you ready to start your own business? Have you already started your business but still need some kind of help on how to really take it off the ground? These are 40 real life business stories from successful entrepreneurs who have done it before and know what it takes to succeed and what not to do before and after you start your new business.

These 40 successful Entrepreneurs where asked “What do you wish you knew before you started a business?” 

1.  The one thing that I wish I knew before starting a business was how much time you spend learning – it is constant – from self development, to business basics, to social media, – talk about wearing many hats! Oh my and thought motherhood was challenging. I love to learn new things but had no idea it was going to be like this. You have to learn how to act, how to present, how to close, how to keep in contact, how to prospect, and how to keep customers! – Michelle Morton

2. I wish I would have known that the hardest part of owning and operating my own business would NOT have been how to create revenue on a monthly basis. I wish I would have hired a full time IT guy and a shrink to manage with my sales force! – Bradley W. Smith

3. I wish I knew how much general information I would need to know and how long the process would take. Almost three years later Im still in the “set-up” phase to my business and teaching myself all about websites, graphic design, business law, bookkeeping, customer service, etc. - Leslie Boudreau

4. The best thing i did is to outsource all my administrative tasks. Now i have enough time to focus on other important tasks. – Gagan

5.  It’s important to get customer validation early on. You can have the greatest technology, or website, or service, or whatever, but it’s ultimately meaningless if you haven’t verified that there are actually customers willing to spend money on or around what you do. - Adam Rodnitzky

6.  I wish I had known how few true entrepreneurs there are out there. Every time I thought I had a kindred spirit with whom to share experiences, lean on for support and provide support to them, it turned out that they were looking for a paycheck. Find a partner and a kindred spirit BEFORE you launch.  – Tom Reid

7. I wish I knew how important it is to never rely on anyone else. I  wasted a number of years “networking” in hopes of people referring  business. It never worked. My career took off when I assumed  responsibility for every aspect, including marketing and sales. – Rob Frankel

8.  I did not realize the level of sacrifice that would be required to become not only an entrepreneur, but a successful entrepreneur. Don’t get me wrong, it is worth every single second, but I had no idea that friends and family would not be able to relate. – Amber Schaub

9.  I wish I had understood how little time I would have to do the things that I need to do in order to “produce” and to make money. Make sure that you spend your time and your energy on the revenue generating matters. Spend the money necessary to get help. Pay someone else to take care of all of the admin stuff. – Francoise Gilbert

10. I wish I knew how hard it was to manage employees and have good, competent help. I also wish I knew how to market, advertise, and work these social media tools. - Jamie Puntumkhul

11. With my first companies I wished I had lined up a client and received a commitment to buy before I jumped in the water. – Patrick  J. Sweeny II

12. I wish that I would have known that my MBA wasn’t necessary to be an entrepreneur. I started business before and thought the MBA+ would give me a better insight to prevent me from making mistakes but I believe you either have it or you don’t. – Janice Robinson-Celeste

13. I wish I would have known how expensive running a business is – mainly payroll taxes, medical insurance, etc. We researched all of our fixed costs, however, the more we billed out, the less we keep. – Marian H. Gordon

14. Find the very best, most knowledgeable people you can afford and hire them with not just salary, but incentives. The better the people, the better the job done and advice given. – Ric Morgan American Business Arts Corporation

15. Several years after starting my business I learned that the best source of advice and peer support are fellow entrepreneurs, especially those who have attained the level of business success to which I aspire. – Charles E. McCabe

16. Starting a business is like getting married, you think you know what youre getting into and that youll be better then the median, but when it comes down to it you have no idea. – Summer Bellessa

17. I wish I would have known how important a real business plan was, a marketing strategy, and exit strategy were. You should really plan your first two years and have a hit list of sales/marketing opportunities that are interested before you take the leap. – Ben Wallace

18. You can’t put your life on hold while waiting for your venture to hit.   I have tremendous regret  around all of the family events, vacations, and time with friends that I missed because I was working on getting my film/company off the ground. - Pamela Peacock

19.  I thought if I had a great product and an attractive, functioning website customers would come.  Boy, was I wrong!  In the online world its all about SEO! – Semiha Manthei

20. One thing I wish I knew right off the bat is the benefit of networking.  I spent a lot of time trying to tackle everything on my own, but its really important to reach out to fellow entrepreneurs, complimentary businesses, family and friends for advice and support. – Cailen Ascher Poles

21. I wish I had known how important it is to outsource to other  professionals instead of trying to do everything myself, and  ultimately not always doing everything correctly. – Jennifer Hill

22. I wish I had known that you dont need to be right with your first iteration of your business plan.  Young businesses naturally deviate from their roadmap as the founders ideas about what will work get tested by reality.  Smart entrepreneurs listen to the feedback they get and adapt. – Matt Lally

23. I wish I understand “cash flow”. I figured that as long as I brought in lots of business, the business would be great. Cash is king and always keep MORE of it than you forecast or expect to need. – Ryan Kohnen

24. The one thing that I wish I would have known before going into business more, was my own strengths and how I use them on a daily basis. – Jason C. Raymer

25.  I really had to understand the “basics” of business and how to capitalize on the small opportunities to given to me and turn them into “larger than life” success stories. – Darren Magarro

26.  If you have taken the time to think through things (price, service, contracts, delivery) don’t be so quick to change it up just because a Client wants you to. – Joni Daniels

27. I wish I’d know how much easier it is to build a business around an established market that’s already looking for a solution to its problems rather than trying to build the market around the business I wanted to start. – John Crickett

28.  I wish I knew it didn’t take tons of money to get started, so I would have started it sooner. I think that holds a lot of people back. – Candy Keane

29. I would have spent more time selecting the most qualified technical resource by interviewing more people more strenously to ensure we got the most talented resource for our money…both short term and long term – Jennifer Myers Robb

30. I wish I had known that starting a business would give me so much happiness, and worry. I knew that it would be hard, but I had no ideas of the hills and valleys that would come with being a business owner. – Shay Olivarria

31. Everyone will not be happy or supportive of you starting a business or succeeding in it, and that’s okay, as you do not need their nod, their vote of confidence or their praise… you have your own. – Anahid Derbabian

32. Don’t work with your spouse. If you want to wreck a marriage, be together 24/7 with one person exerting power over the other. – Susan Schell

33. 82. What I wish I knew before I started a business was a really great business advisor! Most of us go into a business with a big heart for the product and lots of excitement. Few of us really know how to run a business. –Kelley Small

34. I wish I knew how long it would take to build a steady stream of clients and establish strong relationships with customers and vendors. - Alexis Avila

35. I wish I had known how demanding entrepreneurship is on the entire family. It took me months to realize that they were giving as much or more than me by picking up the slack around home and giving me space to pursue a dream. – Carrie Rocha

36. To be patient. When I first started, I expected results instantly. I’d get frustrated when things didn’t work the way I planned. Luckily, I didn’t have any hang-ups about failing, so I kept trying new things and slowly built upon those things that worked. – Naveed Usman

37. I wish I knew that cash flow wasn’t the same as profits, that employees are not paid friends and that you should always trust but never let anyone open your bank statements. – Anne-Marie

38. One piece advice I would give to people just starting up that I wish knew is that success is less about the idea and more execution. Don’t wait until you have the great idea or have refined all the plans, just get something up and start iterating. – Ben Hatten

39. Dont listen too closely your friends who might be good business people but who have never started a business.  They mean well, but their assumptions are way different as an employee of a company than they could ever be as a principal shareholder in a business. – Elizabeth Pitt

40.  I wish that someone had told me that managing a business isn’t about numbers, but rather all about people skills. During my first management foray I fell face first in the dirt. People called me a micro-manager because I got too much into the nitty gritty of how to do the job rather than allowing them to find their own way. – Steve Richard

Courtesy Addicted2Success


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  1. JJ Wong

    Thanks for the sharing Thomas. Very valuable content, starting up business is not easy, but not too hard either. We have to take actions and moving forward, test and trial, keep learning and keep growing. Eventually we will achieve great success in business. Never give up. :)

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