Your Best Advice: How to Navigate the Waters of KC Entrepreneurship, Small Business

You’re an entrepreneur. A doer. A maker. A risk-taker. An innovator. No matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, at many points along that treacherous path from scrappy startup to local hit to regional success to global phenom, you’ve learned a thing or two.

That’s why we asked YOU to tell us about the best lived and learned wisdom you’ve internalized on this voyage called entrepreneurship, and then we compiled the best stuff here. Get ready for a full dose of #inspiration.

Of course, starting a business doesn’t mean you have to do it all alone. There’s a massive network of over 240 nonprofit organizations that can help you reach your next (or first) milestone. Just give KCSourceLink a call at 816-235-6500 or tell us a bit about what you need here, and we’ll craft a custom set of your next steps for free.

Now, let’s get motivated with some words of business wisdom, straight from folks (like you) who are huge fans of Kansas City entrepreneurship.

dice and a game piece sit near the starting position

Sound advice to start on

Starting a business is a feat. Over half of new small businesses fail within the first year, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. But with the right mindset and the right assistance, you can lessen those risks before you take the big plunge. Here’s some sage advice for those of you who are new to the waters of running your own small business or nonprofit … and some words of wisdom and a few reminders we all could use from time to time.

“Start with small experiments to build your brand and your business muscles. Entrepreneurship is thinking, DOING and dreaming.” -Kyle J Smith, Determination, Incorporated

“Be an Economy of One. Drive demand for what you uniquely supply.” -Elizabeth Allen, MarketSmartz, Inc.

“For soloprenuers, understand that your goals and the business goals need to align. Then, look at cash flow and create a money plan, which is all about funding your goals.” -Diann Roche, Accordion Creative, Accordion Business Solutions

Set up your financial foundation from the beginning! P&L, balance sheet, etc. #Accounting #Taxes #KnowYourNumbers.” -Ryonda Harper Hall, OCD Financial

Always plan strategically with the big picture in mind, not just for short-term gains, no matter if it’s creatively, with your team, or with finance.” -Dana Detrick, Dana the Explainer – Voice Over Talent for Business, Serious Vanity Music

“Spend more time than you think you need to on customer discovery and product/market fit. Seek out people that will challenge you, not just those that will validate everything you say.” -Melissa Clement Grizzle, ITEN


Get a trajectory for business growth

Once you’ve survived the startup phase, it’s a matter of growing your business … easier said than done. So, we’ve got some folks who said it best. No matter if it’s setting goals, getting perspective, knowing when to pivot or shifting strategy, these are some of your most important years.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint. If you survive long enough, you will recognize a good opportunity or pivot point.” -Luke Einsel, Thirsty Coconut

“Validate your assumptions by speaking to and asking real people. Building your business and growing your business totally on your own assumptions is dangerous for business growth.” -Rebecca Dove, Pennez, Project United Knowledge

Know the difference between being self-employed and growing a business. Neither one is necessarily ‘bad or good,’ but they are quite different.” -Sylvia Hall, Lifted Naturals

I set goals for myself to read both in and outside my niche, and it makes me a better leader and CEO.” -Crystal Baird

“Research the #Hispanic market. We average 15 years younger than the average American consumer and over-index in digital behaviors. We’re also growing at a 167% growth rate and are the world’s 7th largest economy. …  If you want your business to grow, you have to go where the growth and influence is.” -Nicholas Segura, Segura Marketing and Media Solutions, Somos Agency

“Keep your view at 30,000 feet, and your work at street view. That ensures your street view work will propel you to the vision and goals of the 30,000 view. If you are the smartest person in the room, find another room. In other words, always be learning and seeking those you can learn from. … Lastly, you KNOW yourself and your business. A good business coach will bring it out of you and inspire you to trust yourself.” -Mindy Hart, PR Chick, Expressive

a sign that reads "You Got This" is next to a laptop computer

Entrepreneurship is about inspiration

It’s not all about working on the business. You also need time for some self-reflection and, when things get tough, some positive reminders. It’s about building that support network so you have those key folks who can give you insight and an ear (and maybe some great perspective about that pesky barrier to success that you can’t quite see).

Remember why you started it all, particularly when things are slow. Keep a long view of where you are headed, and be encouraged by small steps and even holding your ground, as long as you are going/facing the right direction.” -Michael Exendine

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” -Kathy Holmes, Holmes Connections

Taking care of you mindset is everything!” -Angie Weston, KC Moonlight Productions

“Go at YOUR pace. Don’t set yourself on fire just to keep someone else warm.” -Megan Miller Day, Burnt Finger BBQ

Invest in your headshot. It’s the new virtual handshake.” -Julie Hampton, Hampton Surface Design

No matter what I’m feeling, I have to remember I’m emotionally involved with ‘my business.’ Wait before you respond to an email. Wait before you respond to a complaint. Wait before you talk to your team. 9/10 you’ll change your mind or wish you did it differently.” -Adam Martin, F5 Project

It takes time to make/be something worth paying for. Think of all the companies that go belly up. Think of all the companies that never monetize or *still* aren’t profitable. Keep adding value to what you do. Never ever stop.” -Lucas Spivey, Culture Hustlers

One person places their hand in another person's hand

Grab one of the many helping hands

Yes, there’s a lot of inherent risk in starting, growing and scaling your business … but you never have to do it alone. Aside from the many experts, mentors, coaches and fellow entrepreneurs in Kansas City you can learn from, there are over 240 nonprofit organizations that can help you take your business to new heights. And we can help introduce you to the right resources, right when you need them. Just call 816-235-6500 or give us a shout here, and we’ll connect you with low- or no-cost help to move your business forward. Because, again, no one has to start or grow a business alone in Kansas City.

Take advantage of ALL the legitimate business services, resources & opportunities available. Even trade & barter can bring value, new customers and more exposure to your business when done right.” -Lazone Grays Jr., IBSA, Inc.

Never be scared to ask for help.” -BE White, I Brew Perfume

“Don’t be afraid to experiment. And don’t be afraid to fail. Failure creates success in many ways! Grow your business slowly and wisely. Make great connections with people and be reliable. Be a person of integrity. And surround yourself with people who get you and can be great resources in making your business and your ability to run your business better.” -Christy Parker Bean, Handmade in Kansas City, Aunt Christy’s Country Kitchen

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