“Every new entrepreneur should seek out a mentor who can guide them in the beginning of their business pursuits,” Alesh Ancira said. “If you don’t have good mentorship, you’ll spend so much of your time trying to figure out the right and wrong ways of doing things. It is better to save time and achieve success faster by listening to the advice of a mentor who already knows about these things.”

Of course, there is only so much that an entrepreneur can do without a positive mindset. A mentor cannot show you the way to achieve success if you are not willing to do the work to achieve it. This is another trap that a lot of entrepreneurs will face because they expect their mentors to do everything for them. 

There have been thousands of books written about what it takes to be successful in business, and a thousand more about achieving success in life as well. You can find another thousand articles on the web that discuss the topic, and a thousand more will be written tomorrow. With such a broad subject and with so many things that can play a role in making us happy, it can be difficult to boil it down to a short list of things that anyone can read and apply in their lives.

Entrepreneurs  whether they’re an unemployed person striking out on their own or a seasoned veteran trying to get the mojo back again — must do things differently in order to survive. Everyone must change, especially small-business owners.

Luckily, what have not changed are the business fundamentals, those management traits that successful entrepreneurs almost all possess: tenacity, commitment and vision, and basic business skills.

New strategies are required, however, strategies designed to work in a changing business climate.

A mentor is only a guide to fill in the gaps and answer questions on an entrepreneur’s journey. If the entrepreneur doesn’t have enough positivity and enthusiasm for their own business to see it through to the end, then they will fail no matter who mentors them. Alesh never took his mentors for granted when he started out in business, and he hopes that no one takes him for granted either.  Entrepreneurship can feel like you’re sailing a ship all by yourself; you’re not entirely sure where you’re going or how you’re going to get there, and you’re responsible for everything from steering to making sure the ship doesn’t sink. And, during your voyage, you start to question if there even is a destination.

Many young business owners start with a goal of “being successful.” But what does “being successful” really mean? The simplest (and accurate) answer is that success is different for everyone. Like everything else with your business, it’s up to you to define what success is.

Have a written plan

Without a plan, it is merely a dream. It doesn’t have to be a book, but you need a few pages outlining specific objectives, strategies, financing, a sales and marketing plan, and a determination of the cash you need to get things done. Writing it all down is a crucial first step.

Don’t marry your plan

Every great military general in history has known that even the best-laid plan sometimes has to be thrown in the fire when the bullets start flying. Adjust, confront and conquer.

You need to sell yourself at just about any point if you want to succeed:

  • You need to sell a good college on why you would be a great fit
  • You need to sell your skills to a potential employer to get a good job
  • You need to sell a potential spouse or date on why they should be with you

“Even if I lost everything tomorrow for whatever reason, I could always rebuild everything again.  “All I need to do is fall back on my positive mindset and avoid looking at obstacles in a negative light. It is a hard thing for many entrepreneurs to do, but that is what separates the winners from the losers.”

You have to believe it before you see it.