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Best Advice I Ever Got: Even LeBron James Needs a Coach

No matter how talented you are (or how "big" your idea), every entrepreneur needs a little help.
ben kirshner

Ben Kirshner

Ben Kirshner is the CEO of Elite SEM, an award-winning, fast-growing online marketing agency with a passion for building a team of elite industry experts.

Talk is cheap. All the knowledge and great ideas in the world mean nothing if you can't execute them. It doesn't matter how long you've been in your industry or if you have the next Instagram in your back pocket; every entrepreneur needs help turning experiences and ideas into business success.

When I founded Elite SEM 10 years ago, I had years of experience, but what I needed was advice. Good advice is tricky to come by in business because you may or may not be able to use it when you get it.

The best advice I ever got was relevant to becoming successful in the first place and growing that success in the future--advice I could use on day one and every day after.

1. Find a networking group.

Being an entrepreneur is demanding. It can be hard to make time for activities that don't seem absolutely necessary, but networking with other entrepreneurs is vital because it provides a resource for knowledge, advice, and support.

Being in a room with other successful entrepreneurs has opened my eyes to many great ideas and exposed me to their experience of what works and what doesn't. It was at one of these meetings that I learned I had to run a business--not a charity--and that sometimes it's better to fire someone sooner rather than later. These are the types of realizations you won't necessarily have on your own but will later wish someone had told you.

2. Find coaches to help you work through your weaknesses.

Even LeBron James takes advice from coaches. And the best coaches are the people who have experience. A good place to start with coaching is the area where you're weakest.

For example, I hired a public speaking coach to help me with an aspect of my job that I really dislike. She taught me to focus on the value and insight I'm giving the audience. I now see presenting as present-ing, and this shift in perspective has helped me turn a weakness into a strength.

Don't be afraid to ask other entrepreneurs and industry leaders for advice and feedback. Ask for resources to expand your knowledge of the industry and push yourself to learn more. What should you start doing? What should you stop doing? The worst thing industry leaders can do is say no, but don't forget that they've been where you are. They've made mistakes, and someone helped them along the way, too.

3. Own your ideas, and execute them immediately.

In business, it's not the big that eat the small; it's the fast that eat the slow. No matter how good your idea is, if you don't execute it before your competitors catch on, it doesn't matter that you came up with it first. Even ideas that work on an operational level need to be owned and executed before they can work for you.

Encourage your leaders to brainstorm great ideas and come up with a plan to execute them immediately. One of our team leaders saw that we could grow our junior-level managers much more quickly if we had a full curriculum in place for their first 12 months at the company. He had a great idea for a classroom program and didn't wait around for someone else to execute it. He understood the importance of taking ownership and pride in his ideas and making them a reality.

No matter what business you're in, networking, learning, and owning your ideas are critical skills for every entrepreneur. Learn these skills and inspire your team to do the same. They will drive you and your business to improve every day, which is the ultimate key to success.

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