Marketing & Sales

[Part 1] 19 Small Business Owners Give Their Best Piece of Advice for Those Starting out

Written by BizCover

Starting out a business is exciting and can be quite daunting.

There will be times when you wonder what do I do next and who can you ask advice from?

But to make things a little easier, we asked 19 small business owners one simple question:

“If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?”

These small business owners share their real-life opinions, advice and guidance on what it is really like to start your own business.

This three-part series is a must-read for anyone looking to take the plunge and start up their own small business.
Let’s begin…

1 . Just start

Do literally anything related to your business goals. If you want a successful blog that will launch you into self-employment, set up a website. Or sit down and write an article – or even just a few sentences. Want to save $10,000 to quit your job and start your own business? Open a savings account and bank 20 bucks.

The thing is, no matter how small, it all counts and the funny thing about momentum is that it keeps going.

It’s so easy to get trapped in the cycle of reading, researching and talking about doing something, but never getting around to actually doing it. And if you don’t do anything, nothing happens. The secret is to put the book down/shut your mouth/stop procrastinating and just to do one little thing. Tomorrow, you can do more – and you will.

But for today, just start.

When I decided I wanted to start a business, I started by writing a blog post. A single blog post. And honestly? It all snowballed from there.

Advice From Stevie Dillon

Stevie has a Social Media consultancy which helps service-based businesses to attract more clients with social media marketing. Find out more about Stevie.

2. Start with a strong idea

You have to start with a strong idea and then proceed to further research the market extensively (essentially trying to prove your idea wrong). You have to be your business’s biggest critic because by highlighting any potential flaws or risks you will make your operation significantly stronger.

You also have to be passionate about what you’re doing; that’s what will get you through the long weeks and challenges.
As your business grows, learn to trust your judgement, don’t rush decisions (especially the big ones!) and know when to take breaks to maintain your mental health.

Advice From Matthew Boyd

Co-Founder and Managing Director of Vollie a online marketplace that connects skilled people to non-profits, charities, and social enterprises for skills-based online volunteering.

3. Turn Your Passion Into A Profession!

My advice – Reach out for help sooner rather than later. Don’t try and do it all yourself. No matter how much you know about your field, there will always be lots of other business related things you don’t.

There are lots of excellent; affordable government supported business building programs available and opportunities/short courses to upskill yourself. Don’t bumble along with stuff you’re not sure about. You’ll save money and build your confidence through the learnings.

Advice From Dianne Denton

Dianne runs a multi award winning business Sea Horse Diamond Beach a boutique luxury dog and (uniquely) horse friendly beach holiday accommodation.

4. Have a true sense of belief

My best piece of advice to anyone at the startup stage of their business is to have a true sense of belief. Have belief in yourself, your company, both your individual and company’s ambitions and a strong belief in the product in which you are placing your name and credibility on.

There are a lot of people, a lot of startups who have great ideas, great expectations and a real knowledge of their particular market. If you haven’t already noticed, for every product out there, there is a very similar product at the same price if not cheaper.

Unless your one of the very few with a complete monopoly on your marketplace, it’s the moral values that you place on your company as well as your product that will separate you from your competitors.

The foundation I run places a high amount of emphasis on providing a uniquely personalised approach to our work. With this comes a high level of self-cretic and self-belief.

Advice From Matthew Brescacin

CEO/FOUNDER of the Brother to Brother Foundation. the foundation aims to raise awareness on Mens mental health issues and male suicide prevention

5. Spend time and effort looking for your uniqueness

The one piece of advice I would give when you are starting out in business would be to spend time and effort looking for your uniqueness. Whether it is your products, services, programs delivery method or just the way you communicate it.

When starting out too many people end up falling into “Brown Box Syndrome,” I.e. looking the same as everyone else in the market. Quite often they are overlooked for opportunities or perceived as inferior because they don’t stand out.

It isn’t until potential clients spend time with your business (i.e. unwrap the box) that they realise that the business is the best option for them. Unfortunately, by this stage, it is often too late.

When you are seen as a “brown box” you generally spend more money on marketing and advertising with reduced your ROI because you are marketing yourself the same as everyone else. You must work on your positioning in the marketplace.

I have a saying. “Your perceived positioning predicts your profits.” It is how you are seen in the marketplace that attracts quality clients. When you are seen the same, then all you are compared on is PRICE and that is a hard place to begin as a start-up.

The final piece of this advice I would give to you when starting out in business is that you will often be advised not to work IN your business, but rather work ON your business. However, to get greater leverage you need to work OVER the business. This means being seen as the face of the business, become the leader and authority on the unique way you do things.

Advice From Steve Brossman

You can find out more about Steve on his website.

6. Find what makes you unique from your competitors and use it to your advantage

At the time, when I opened my first laser tattoo removal shop, the only place to receive treatment was at medical centres from professionals with no experience in the tattoo industry.

I wanted to provide tattoo enthusiasts with a comfortable environment where they could receive treatment from people who knew the industry and had received treatment themselves. I found my point of difference, and I made it work for me.

My advice to those starting out in any industry is to find what makes you unique from your competitors and use it to your advantage. Don’t be afraid to do things differently. If you’re good at what you do, and you stand by your work, your reputation will speak for itself and will pay off in the end.

Advice From Mike Driver

Mike Driver, of MJ Driver Laser Co, they provide safe, quality laser tattoo removal treatment through 5 boutique locations across Australia.

Key takeaways

With such pearls of wisdom, these words of advice should help you to feel motivated, inspired and ready to start your small business adventure.

It doesn’t need to be an overwhelming process. With a little planning, self-belief and not being afraid to ask for help, your dream can become a reality.

Some of the key things to remember:

  • Create business goals and start actioning them – Something as simple as writing your first blog post, opening up a business account or creating a social media account for your business is a step in the right direction
  • Network and research – there are plenty of websites and industry professionals who can provide advice which may prove invaluable to your business, especially in the early days
  • Establish what it is that makes your business unique and market it – You don’t want to be like the rest! Be loud and proud of what it is that your business does and how it does it different

“The opinions expressed by BizWitty Contributors are their own, not those of BizCover and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Please read our full disclaimer."

About the author



BizCover is Australia’s number one online business insurance service. With years of experience behind us, we knew that many businesses, especially small businesses, needed a faster, simpler insurance experience. We help you compare and buy the right cover – at the right price – from some of Australia’s leading insurance companies.