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As is common in many aspects of life, there are lessons we learn that we wish we’d known sooner. When it comes to being a small business owner there are insights you can only gain from gathering years of experience. That is why it’s important to surround yourself with people that know things you don’t.

Here are a few tips from successful small business owners.

Set Specific Goals
Setting goals is important and can help in every aspect of your business. However, make sure that you’re not setting large goals that will take a long time to reach. Instead, break big goals into smaller ones. Set markers for 1, 3, and 5 years so that you can easily chart progress and adjust your process as necessary. 

Setting specific goals also helps employees by creating a performance-driven culture. When the company reaches a goal, give feedback. It’s important to check in with everyone so that there’s no confusion about what’s expected or what is next. When everyone feels heard and respected it shows in their performance and helps to align the entire team with the mission.

Create a Support Network
At times being a business owner can feel isolating. Remember that it doesn’t have to be. It’s important to find mentors and peers that will help you grow as an entrepreneur. Being a part of the business community in your area is important. Whenever a networking opportunity presents itself take it! You’ll be able to meet people that can help you work through problems as they arise and offer insight to difficult decisions that you’ll inevitably have to make.

Delegate!
You can’t do it all. Even if you truthfully can perform every action necessary for your business, you probably can’t do them all well. It is vital to the success of your business that you bring people on to your team that have the skills you lack.

Stay Focused
When you are the owner of a small business, there are a plethora of things that demand your attention. Make sure that you’re prioritizing correctly and if your system doesn’t seem to be working do not be afraid to change it. If you have the most energy in the morning consider completing your most important tasks at that time and leave the smaller things for later in the day when you’re feeling sluggish. Avoid distractions at all costs. This goes hand in hand with delegating. When you have a trusted team in place you’ll be able to focus on what’s most pertinent.

Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Right Away)
This is a mistake that people make often. When you’re excited by an idea for a small business it’s easy to want to drop everything else and follow your dreams. However, it’s common for people to do this, then run out of money and have to go back to work while they revamp their plan.

Instead, become a top-notch prioritizer. Manage your time so that you can continue to work, even if it’s part time. During the hours you’re not working for someone else, do research for your business, formulate your plan, and begin reaching out to people with knowledge that will help you meet your goals.

It will be an adjustment and you will be tired, but at the end of the day it will help you by providing more money to sustain your long-term plan.