10 tips for overcoming obstacles

Filed under Columns
Patrick Bet-David of People Helping People immigrated to the United States and  founded a business.

Patrick Bet-David offers advice to startups on overcoming obstacles.

By Patrick Bet-David

Guest columnist

Roadblocks. Detractors. Broken promises. Welcome to the world of entrepreneurs and startups. We all knew what we signed up for when we decided to take the leap and become entrepreneurs. We all knew that we weren’t going to be the next Apple, Facebook, Amazon or Bank of America overnight.

I remember day one of our financial services firm, People Helping People (PHP). I had to tell my recruited team of new agents that there was a 90 percent chance we would be out of business within six to 12 months. But I also said that if we could make it, we could build the largest financial marketing organization in America. Two years later, we had over 700 agents in 33 states.

But it wasn’t easy. When we started this company in 2009, we didn’t have startup funds. We struggled to get ourselves off the ground with nothing more than our persistence and belief in our cause and vision.

With that being said, here are 10 practical tips for entrepreneurs to try when they are short on time or money:

1. Ask for advice from people who have been there. There are lessons that can only be learned from experience – yours or someone else’s, the hard way or the easy way.

2. Minimize your own personal expenses to the lowest possible. Get rid of your movie channels and stop eating out. You’d be amazed how little you can live on when you have more important things to do with your money.

3. Re-create yourself as someone who can succeed. If your current level of thinking isn’t going to get you past your existing challenge, it’s time to look at yourself differently. Set aside at least four to five hours a week for personal and professional development. This is a must if you want to fast-track success.

4. Constantly push the envelope and challenge yourself like you never have before. A good personal trainer will change up your workout every so often to keep your body and muscles developing. The same is true of entrepreneurs. If you feel stuck in a rut, perhaps you are not taking on new challenges outside of your comfort zone.

5. Work like it’s 1880. While everyone else is fine with a 40-hour workweek, you’re doubling that. All the great ones worked their tails off.

6. Become extremely curious about new information and tools, including all that social media has to offer. If you’re using old school methods of connecting and communicating, you’re limiting your reach and influence.

7. Remember why. Remind yourself every day why you chose to be an entrepreneur. Your “why” will be the gas in your tank on long days when time, money or good news is in short supply.

8. Exercise often to keep your mind fresh (so it moves fast on ideas). There is a very real link between the health of your body, mind and business. Make time for exercise. It is every bit an investment in your future.

9. Elevate imagination of your team to a whole new level. Brainstorm. Have creativity sessions. Allow yourself to imagine “what ifs” that may seem far-fetched. While many adults stop using their imaginations as much as they used to, the great ones know that imagination is a powerful tool for designing the future.

10. Become obsessed about reading. There’s no challenge or obstacle that hasn’t been written about by someone who has already gone through it. Reading allows us to absorb the wisdom of the ages.

I know it sounds crazy, but the most important secrets behind a successful entrepreneur are the ones you can’t see or touch. They include a mindset and drive that simply doesn’t quit.

 Patrick Bet-David was born and raised in revolutionary Iran. He immigrated to the United States with his family at the age of 12 in 1990. Bet-David joined the U.S. Army in 1997, where he was stationed with the 101st Airborne Division. After discharge from the Army, Bet-David got involved in the financial services industry. He is the founder of People Helping People (PHP), a financial services firm, and author of the recently published book, “Doing the Impossible” (January 2012).    


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