If you’ve recently started your own business, you may have a hard time knowing what to do next. While you probably don’t lack challenges, it can be tough knowing how to successfully transition from “hopeful entrepreneur” to “business owner.” The following tips for first-time business owners should help you with this confusing position.


1. Stay Focused

First and foremost, keep your focus on your company—what it does and what your goals are. Now is not the time to start branching out or exploring other opportunities. It’s far too early for that. Right now, it’s about mastering the basics, if you will. Whatever you did to get yourself here, keep doing it, but look for ways to do it even better.

2. Stick to What You Know

That being said, you may have worn many hats on the path to starting your own business. Now that you’re up and running, it might not make sense to keep doing that. For example, if you wrote all your own copy, but you know that’s not your strong suit, don’t keep doing it. Look to bring on a writer who can do an even better job and free you up to keep performing tasks you excel at.

3. Keep Networking

The problem with sticking with what you know is that you may not know who knows what you know better. Put another way, you may be good at customer service, but have no idea that there is someone out there who does it much better. Furthermore, there may be all kinds of things that could help your company that you know nothing about.

Always keep expanding your network. The more people you know, the more you can potentially benefit from. Successful business owners can often trace huge successes back to a simple lunch or conversation they had with someone that turned into an introduction to someone very important.

4. Master the Elevator Pitch

This is old advice that never goes out of style. Can you explain what you do, coolly and calmly, in 30 seconds? If not, you need to work on that. You never know when you’ll meet someone who could become a customer, business partner or some other kind of asset. However, if you’ll need 10 minutes of their time to explain what you do, expect a polite “excuse me” before they walk away.

Arguably, the elevator pitch has been more important than ever before. In the world of social media, being able to explain what you do in 30 seconds is great, but 140 characters would be even better.

5. Stay Lean

You’ve probably heard that the worst thing a new business can do is get too big too quickly. This is true for a number of reasons. One way companies get too big, though, is by using that initial capital to act like a business that is already among the Fortune 500. Long after you’re no longer a startup, keep acting like one. This will give your business ample equity to pay down many challenges that could otherwise ruin you.


With these tips to help you, this initial phase as a business owner will one day be a fond memory and a landmark on your path to success.