Are you thinking about taking the plunge and starting your own business? If so, you’ve probably been reading a lot of business advice articles and books about how to get started, how to write a business plan, and all of the nuts and bolts of getting a new company on its feet. And while I’m not going to tell you to forget everything you’ve been told about launching and growing a start-up, I will tell you that some of the keys to creating a successful business might surprise you. Check out a few of the most unexpected (yet proven) tips I’ve found for start-up success.

BE HUMBLE – BUT DON’T UNDERVALUE YOUR WORK

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No one likes a narcissist or a show-off. There’s a reason that people half-jokingly say things like, “Don’t forget us little people when you make it big.” The most successful entrepreneurs in the world are also some of the humblest and most approachable people you’ll ever meet. That said, when they start talking about their work, you can tell how proud they are of what they’ve done and how excited they are to keep moving forward. So, keep your ego in check, but never undervalue your work or your people’s work.

PRIORITIZE OTHER PEOPLE’S SUCCESS

This is another one that’s going to sound pretty counter intuitive, but hear me out. The best entrepreneurs in the world aren’t just in it for themselves. They want to be successful, but they also want to help others achieve success. They don’t use their employees and partners as steppingstones – they work together with their teams to build a boat so that everyone succeeds.

If you inspire your people, they’ll work harder for you. If you show them that you care about their success, they’ll be more invested in your vision. Prioritize their success, and they’ll help you achieve yours.

WORK ON YOUR CONVERSATION AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS

You may have a great idea, but can you communicate it to an investor in less than a minute? How are you with meeting new people and getting to know them? Are you a good listener? Being a good conversationalist and honing your communication skills will help you clearly deliver directions to your employees, communicate with clients, and convince investors. Get comfortable with starting conversations with new people and work on really listening to them. You never know who might be the missing piece of your company’s puzzle.

LEARN TO LOVE REJECTION

Not every investor is going to see the value in your ideas. Not every potential client is going to choose your brand over the competition. As an entrepreneur, you need to learn to not only take rejection gracefully but to actually embrace it. Every time an investor rejects a proposal, there’s a reason for it, and you can learn something from it to improve your business for the next time you approach that investor or another one. Likewise, negative client feedback can sting, but it can also give you the information you need to grow and succeed.

NEVER SETTLE

Finally, when you reach a goal, don’t just pat yourself on the back and say, “Well, this is it!” Celebrate your achievements and recognize the work your people have done, but don’t stop there. Look forward to the next goal and the next achievement. If you’re always looking to the future and you’re always focused on growing, your business will be on the right track for success from the very beginning.

Use these five surprising tips and see what they can do for you and your start-up. Good luck!

Check Out These 5 Tips for Start-up Success

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