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Nine early decisions these entrepreneurs made that had a major impact on their business

by Ana Lopez
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As a business leader, you can sometimes make hundreds, perhaps thousands, of decisions a day. When you first start your business, the decisions you make can often have a real impact on how your business will function in the future, even if it seemed trivial or unimportant at the time.

As entrepreneurs themselves, the members of Council for Young Entrepreneurs certainly made their fair share of decisions, and below they each share an important decision they made during their company’s first few years that impacted the way it functions today, as well as the important lessons learned by other entrepreneurs can learn from these experiences.

1. To pivot to a smaller niche

A decision I made early on was to go down to a smaller niche and focus on a specific group of a target audience. This allowed me to understand that specific niche and its ins and outs better than a larger company could; therefore, I came across as more of an expert and was able to greatly expand my business. Sometimes things lead you in a direction you never imagined. Being able to twist and embrace can be the difference in success. – Todd Bialaszewski, Junk Car Medics

2. Trust my team members right away

Most people say trust is earned, but I’ve always chosen to naturally trust those I hire and show them what they’ve got. I’ve hired young straight-graduate professionals and put them in high-pressure situations—I had to when I was leading a fast-growing company. Nine times out of ten, they showed me that they actually earned that trust from the start. It gives them a better sense of confidence and ensures a faster buy-in. Sure, it can be risky, but if you’re bringing in a team member who really blows your mind after giving them a chance to do a great job, then you might want to be more introspective about your hiring process and what you’re looking for in an employee. – Shai Berman, Digital source

3. To get the right people on board

When I got started, the only important decision I made was to hire the right people. I made sure my team not only had the right skills to get the job done, but also consisted of professionals who upheld the company’s culture and values. This helped me create a team of self-starters and diverse talent profiles that excelled at collaboration and helped keep the needle moving against all odds. What aspiring entrepreneurs can learn from this decision is that you need the right people by your side to get started. New businesses face many challenges right from the start, but a reliable team makes it a little easier for you to persevere and achieve the set goals. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable shapes

4. Paying attention to my customers’ needs

My brother and I started our entrepreneurial journey in the web design field. But the longer we provided that one service, the more additional questions we would get. Apparently people needed a lot more help than building a website. That’s how we ended up as a full-service digital marketing agency. So my biggest takeaway from this experience is to always pay attention to what your customers are asking. Listen to what they say. Yes, you have this core offering, but don’t forget to look around. It’s very easy to miss opportunities when you’re grinding non-stop. – Solomon Thimothee, OneIMS

5. To involve customers in product development

From the beginning, we have involved our customers in the development of our products to get their timely feedback and create our products in close collaboration with them. We have maintained this practice today and we have built a strong customer community. This helped us avoid having to build things that no customer would ever use, and also helped us build and maintain strong customer relationships. – Dave Hengartner, finished

6. Stay true to our mission

We decided in the early years of building LogicPrep that it was important to create a holistic experience for our families that addressed all aspects of the college application process. Over the past 15 years, that application process has changed, but we are uniquely well positioned to navigate those shifts given our philosophical commitment to helping students and their parents understand and maximize this journey, no matter what form it takes. Remember that the business environment can change – or even the problem you’re addressing can change – so make sure your mission statement is clear so you can adapt accordingly. – Lindsay Tanne, LogicPrep

7. To prevent us from outsourcing our work

One of the decisions I made in the early years was to build an in-house team instead of outsourcing our services. While outsourcing some of our digital marketing work might initially have been a more cost-effective solution, I chose to invest in training and developing my team to handle all tasks in-house. This choice enabled us to control the quality of our work, build trust with our clients and form lasting partnerships. Despite initial challenges, today my company is thriving as a fast-growing and respected Canadian company, thanks in part to the strength of our dedicated team. Other entrepreneurs can learn from this decision that a focus on quality and trust, coupled with a long-term perspective, can lead to sustainable growth and success. – Kazi Mamun, CANSOFT

8. Invest heavily in marketing

An important decision I made during the early years of my business that had a real impact on the way it functions today was to invest in the marketing of my business. In the early stages, one of my main goals was to reach the right audience and convert it into sales. The best way I could achieve that was through marketing. So I aggressively invested in SEO, social media marketing, digital marketing and more from the start. The impact it had on my business was fantastic. It helped me create a strong brand identity, build a powerful following and also create awareness about my product. All of this has helped me increase my conversions and increase my profits. All entrepreneurs should invest in marketing if they want to build brand awareness and reach their target audience quickly. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

9. To systematize everything

One decision I made early on was to systematize everything. Whether it was onboarding new clients, hiring our first employees, or managing day-to-day tasks, I made sure early on that all repeatable tasks followed a prescribed process. Over time, these processes have evolved into well-refined policies and procedures that the entire company follows, increasing accountability and streamlining operations. – Jack Perkins, CFO hub

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