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Being an entrepreneur takes a lot of patience, perseverance, and creativity.  Some might say that there’s no right or wrong way to achieve success, while others might say that there is a standard blueprint that one needs to follow in order to be successful in business.

We all know the saying, “hindsight is 20/20.”  Let’s be honest…most people in business wish that they had done things differently, listened a little more intently to a mentor or guide, or made a quicker or smarter decision that would have led to a more profitable outcome.  After we are able to see these things, however, we begin to wish we just would have known those valuable lessons, and maybe even told ourselves how to do it better. 

For serial entrepreneurs, the key is indeed learning from past mistakes so that as you move on to your next venture, you know how to avoid a pitfalls that you encountered the first time around. For those who have stayed the course in their venture and learned from their mistakes, there are definitely those lessons learned which have made them achieve a greater success than when they first started out.

The same idea applies to CEO’s and other business executives.  No one knows the answers right out of the gate. The successful ones seem to be the ones that have listened to those around them and developed their leadership strategies as a result of the advice, the mistakes, and the triumphs. At the end of the day, however, there is nothing like wishing you could have told yourself what to do or what not to do as you were just starting out.

Here are some thoughts from business leaders about the best business advice they wish they could have given themselves.

“To live more in the present. The best advice I’ve received in the last 5 years is to live more in the present. I realize that being an entrepreneur and the owner of 3 thriving businesses is that it’s a marathon not a sprint. That its alright to take the time to go on vacation with my family or see my child in their school play. It’s better for business, for me, and my family to be more present in the day-to-day.”

– Monica C. Smith, Founder, Marketsmith, Inc and i. Predictus

“Build a Strong BRAND: The difference between great success and average performance in an over crowded work world is often times as simple as being known. If leaders and bosses know your skills, your vision for your career and your potential they are 10 times more likely to select you for projects and promotions then lesser known employees.”

– Brendan P. Keegan, President & CEO, Velocity Performance

“Listen to others and find creative solutions together with other entrepreneurs who have walked in your shoes. It’s not a matter of seeking advice; it’s about sharing wisdom so you can build a better, more responsive and stronger organization overall, without relying simply on trial-and-error to guide your business decisions. Shared wisdom gives CEOs an opportunity to address issues they didn’t even know they had, and to anticipate other challenges down the road that may sidetrack or, at worst, torpedo their businesses had they not been anticipated. If we as leaders can get away from the ‘it’s lonely at the top’ mentality and start listening to each other – without judgment or ulterior motives – then all of our businesses can benefit from our shared experiences.”

– Michael Miller, President of The CEO Roundtable

“Always concentrate on the customer. Take care of what’s in it for them and what’s in it for you will take care of itself. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the millions of details in starting and building a business that it’s easy to lose sight of that. And whenever you lose sight of it, even for a moment, it hurts the business.”

 – Barry Maher, Consultant, Author, Speaker

“Never hire the resume, hire the person. When you interview a candidate and they have all the right skills you need, it’s very tempting to give them an offer immediately. But if you fail to think about how they would fit into your company culture, you’re doing yourself and your team a disservice. If you want to work and promote a great, positive environment, you need to hire engaging and happy people.

– David Niu, CEO & Founder, TINYpulse

“I wish I could have received advice about how important it is to brand yourself when you¹re starting out in your career right out of college or in an entry-level position to raise your hand for the hard assignments. I didn¹t often do this because I was afraid of making mistakes and still had a lot to learn. Looking back, I now know, no one expected me to be perfect and know everything.”

– Mafalda Halligan, Founder & President, River Run HR

“I’d tell myself to embrace uncertainty a bit more, whilst keeping a clear vision of where the business is going. Things don’t always go to plan (and let’s be honest, this happens more than we’d all like), and accepting this is really tough to do when you’re starting out. But learning to accept and make the most of this uncertainty is crucial to succeeding in the business world. Embrace these curve balls, always keeping in mind your clear goals. And whatever you do, don’t give up!”

– Rob Rebholz, Co-Founder & Managing Director, SpaceWays