Anyone can build wealth, but not everyone will. Throughout my life of starting different ventures, I’ve come across what to do and what not to do. These 12 tips will help you make your dream of becoming an entrepreneur and building wealth a reality. So you’ve got the itch to start up a business… What’s next?

Here are 6 things entrepreneurs should do and 6 mistakes entrepreneurs might easily make when starting up a new venture.

Do:

  1. Begin with the end in mind: This concept is shared in Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” Want to make a million? Write it down. Keep a record of your goals. Identify your target so you know where you’re headed.
  2. Find Your Business’s Value: There are three parts to this. First, know your unique strengths, or where you can add unique value to the market. Next, find your niche market for what you’re offering. And thirdly, of course, make sure people will pay money for this value!
  3. Stay Open to New Ideas: You won’t just fall into riches and not every venture will succeed. Compile a list of at least 35 ideas to make a million dollars—and keep brainstorming even after you’ve started a venture.
  4. Formulate a Business Plan: This is where you funnel all the work you’ve done: crunch the numbers, structure your goals, and build a solid business plan. I personally like to use the Business Model Generation Canvas.
  5. Have an Exit Strategy: The simplest way to make $1 million is to create a business, or an asset, that you can sell. Even though right now, this particular venture is all you can think about, you still need to have developed a strategy for how to get rid of it when/if the day comes. Successful people draft their exit strategies before they open up shop.
  6. Build Systems and Scale Up: Pick a market that is either large or a market that has tangential markets to access. Put systems in place now so that you can accelerate your value and income later. Scale up and watch your funds grow!

Don’t:

  1. Try every thing that comes your way: Don’t jump at every “opportunity” or tackle multiple ventures at once. Yes, it’s important to be open to ideas and to brainstorm. But you will do better to develop one thing well, and not five mediocre things.
  2. Start Ventures Half-heartedly: Instead of jumping on board a random idea or project without vetting it, you should invest your time, resources, and talents into something you love and will work hard for. If you aren’t 100% behind this venture, you won’t be able to inspire anyone else to be either.
  3. Start Without a Clear Business Purpose: Ever heard of the “elevator pitch?” An elevator pitch is something that not only helps you communicate to others, but also keeps you on track with your vision. Outline your goals and services and be prepared to concisely pitch your venture to investors and customers and yourself at a moment’s notice.
  4. Fail to Maintain a Low Overhead: At the start of your venture, and this is crucial to your success, it’s important to be frugal. Monitor and check expenses, forego needless and flashy items, and work at bringing down overhead.
  5. Require Too Much Money Upfront: Don’t doom your project by being dependent solely on investor capital. Scale down and simplify your idea to a manageable, early-stage venture. Create value before seeking investment!
  6. Refuse to Get Out: Again, not every venture will succeed. The danger is ignoring when it’s time to walk away. Treat every failure as bought education and you’ll become a better, more successful entrepreneur. Mistakes help us evaluate what works and avoid what doesn’t next time.

I’ve made a lot of money in my life, but I’ve also lost a lot of money! This list is based off of my successes and my failures. But I’m successful today because I used my mistakes as a learning tool and allowed them to take me to the next level. Are you ready to join me? Following these tips will get you well on your way to a million-dollar business!

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