Entrepreneurs share their best tips for success

David Pawlan

David Pawlan

Co-Founder of Aloa

The biggest piece of advice I would give to an aspiring entrepreneur in 2021 is to make sure that you are in love with the problem you are trying to solve, not the solution you have in mind itself.

Being an entrepreneur is not easy.

You’re going to face your highest of highs and lowest of lows, sometimes within minutes of each other.

The pathway for an entrepreneur is about iterating and accepting failure as a stepping stone to learn.

If you are in love with your solution that you have in mind, then any deterrence, any criticism, or any roadblocks will serve as roadblocks rather than as motivators.

If you are in love with the problem, then you are positioned to accept any roadblocks as a blessing, as it shows you just one more way that doesn’t work, in other words, one step closer to finding the right solution.

Fall in love with the problem, not the solution.


Nicholas Mathews

Nicholas Mathews

CEO of MainVest

The small businesses that we have seen do well through Covid are those who change both strategy and structurally.

Letting your own community invest with your company creates a deeper emotional connection and potential ROI.

As for structure change, our small business owners who create virtual experiences and successfully find new ways to serve their customers have outperformed their previous years during the pandemic!


Carl Mazzanti

Carl Mazzanti

President + Co-founder of eMazzanti Technologies

The most successful, established entrepreneurs I know are leveraging mentors.

Some mentors might be on your staff or providing services to your company.

There are terrific mentor/peer groups for business owners such as Vistage, that help even experienced CEOs sharpen their game.

When choosing a mentor, first and foremost, you need to respect the person you are taking advice from.

Preferably, the person has accomplished or exceeded whatever your goal is.

Expect the truth, whether that’s good news or bad.

There is no need to re-invent the wheel.

Working with a mentor will save time, money and headaches by avoiding pitfalls previously encountered by others.

Don’t overlook or underestimate the value of the personal relationship with a mentor.

Friendship, companionship, support and life lessons may come your way in addition to solid business advice.

eMazzanti Technologies

Cherise Orange

Cherise Orange

Owner of You Just Got Oranged

The most important thing I have learned being a creative marketing entrepreneur is that your brand (company and services) isn’t meant for everyone.

It is important to drill down your niche and focus on getting and keeping the customers you love to work with.

As a green entrepreneur, we may get hyper-focused on securing the bag to run our business.

So focused, that we may take clients that were necessarily the best fit for us, myself included.

Once I decided that I only wanted to work with women of color entrepreneurs, life changed.

I was able to scale my business even more and not only bring in new clients, but also keep existing clients, and build my team even more.

You Just Got Oranged

Serge Chistov

Serge Chistov

Co-Founder & Chief Financial Partner of Honest Marijuana

Do your due diligence!

You have to take an in depth look at the overall industry and market you are going into, create a solid business plan, and leverage the right price structures. The key is to keep your eyes open and look ahead to where the technology is going not just what the current circumstances are.

Find out your niche angles to be visible and be able to break above the noise because there is a lot of it in any industry and be true to what you do.

Don’t write one thing and do the other. Stick to your guns and try to grow an authentic business- something that you believe in and that your users will believe in it just by default.

Crunch the numbers left, right and sideways. Count again and again before you invest your money, and make sure that you have a realistic exit strategy and that you aren’t committing your entire capital. It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new industry, but if you can keep your emotions at bay, you will be better off.

Be clear about the goals of the company. Make sure that everybody understands their role. I guess there are different ways of managing, mine always was to make sure people have a common goal that they agree on with the entire team and that they’re working towards that goal which is a big part of a company’s potential success. Then it becomes easier to convey the ideas or to motivate people to take an extra step.

Keep in mind that passionate people are not always square, corporate material, some of them are passionate because they are free artists. It’s important to let them to use what comes natural to them and normally do while adjusting it and bringing it into the world of business.

Honest Marijuana

Adam Binder

Adam Binder

Founder of Creative Click Media

Embrace Your Mistakes: Hopeful entrepreneurs looking to launch their business in 2021 should expect to make mistakes, and make a lot of them.

Starting a company under normal circumstances comes with its own set of highs and lows, but this is even more true in these unprecedented circumstances we’ve been navigating over the last year.

That being said, mistakes shouldn’t be thought of as failures, but rather as learning experiences.

There’s no one-size-fits-all manual for starting a business in any industry, and there’s no way to know what will work for your unique circumstances unless you test out a variety of strategies.

There’s no better time than the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey to take risks and try something different – you’ll either find success or learn a lesson that will help you get there.

Creative Click Media

Mike Dragan

Mike Dragan

COO of Oveit

  1. Raise funds. Capital works: I used to think I could bootstrap our way to a million dollars in ARR. It’s very, very hard to pull off something like that and very taxing on your mental and physical health. There are many VC funds out there and raising funds is part of building a business. You will get a lot of no’s – and we did get plenty but the good thing about people telling you no is it doesn’t cost a thing. The more no’s you get, the closer you are to a yes. Be flexible, adapt and in the end, you will reach your goal.
  2. Focus on the right metrics. This usually means financials. I am a very technical person. I like coding and designing apps. I like bits and servers and databases. But a business is a very complicated system to pull off and its essential metrics lie in the financials. Revenue, profit margins, annual and monthly recurring revenue, forecasting, cost of goods sold and all these financial indicators – they are really, really important. Ignore them and you are basically flying blind.
  3. Focus on products, not services. A service-based company is hard to scale. Build products or products-selling companies. There is a reason that top Fortune 500 companies either make products, make and sell products or just sell products.
  4. Build a strong marketing and sales operation. You know of the old saying “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”. The same thing goes for great products. If no one knows about it – you might as well have never built it.


Pia Beck

Pia Beck

CEO of Curate Well

  1. Vision + values:
    Create a clear vision for your business — in my opinion, you have to know what it’s going to look like 1, 5, and 10 years from now. Your values are how you make that happen — they become the common language you use with your team to move your initiatives forward and innovate meaningfully.
  2. Ideal Client Avatar:
    Create an Ideal Client Avatar — a detailed profile that describes your client/customer. This profile is at the center of everything you do in your business. Your products or services, your messaging, and your growth direction should all be determined by the person you serve. Doing market research and keeping a pulse on this person’s own evolution is key to having your business continue to grow.
  3. Community + relationship building:
    Practice building authentic relationships. Your audience, customers, ideal client need to feel a sense of belonging to your brand. They need to feel like they are heard and valued and can benefit from your offering or services. A benefit of building that community and truly nurturing everyone you come in contact with is loyalty. People will be more apt to share your content and recommend your services if they feel heard and acknowledged.
  4. Brand experience:
    Strive for a values-driven, comprehensive brand experience. No matter where or how someone comes in contact with your brand, you want their experience to be in integrity with what you stand for. Branding is much more than aesthetics or word-choice — it’s how people feel when they interact with your company.
  5. Data:
    Taking a data-driven approach to business growth is incredibly important. Of course not all meaningful information and insight is quantitative. However, knowing your numbers is going to allow you to examine context more closely and make strategic decisions.

Curate Well

Stacey Giulianti

Stacey Giulianti

Co-Founder & Chief Legal Officer of Florida Peninsula Insurance

The single most important lesson I learned when I started an insurance company on the back of a literal cocktail napkin – – which has now grown to almost $400,000,000 in annual revenue – – is to hire people or outsource tasks that are not within my area of expertise.


Entrepreneurs often waste countless, valuable hours performing tasks that are not within their professional wheelhouse.

If you are not talented at bookkeeping and financial forecasting, hire someone else to do it.

If your grasp of the English language is weak, have someone write letters and emails for you.

If you are not an attorney, don’t try to draft contracts.

Push as hard as you can within your area of confidence, and not a single inch outside of that line.

Florida Peninsula Insurance

Alyssa Katz

Alyssa Katz

Founder & CEO of The Zutor Concierge

  1. Make sure that you believe in your business. The best person to promote your company is yourself and I believe that in order to be successful you need to really eat and breathe your brand. If you are not authentic your customers/audience will know.
  2. Stop worrying and start doing. If you stop to think about every decision, DON’T! Sometimes not knowing ends up benefiting you because you don’t stand in your own way.
  3. Don’t beat yourself up if something you try doesn’t work. Entrepreneurs have a gazillion ideas which is what makes them who they are so keep trying and coming up with ideas because if you want to run your own company and believe in yourself then you will be successful!

The Zutor Concierge