Published June 2015

    Look after your customers. It sounds obvious but think of your customers as your brand champions. Do a fantastic job for your customers, go the extra mile for them and let them talk about your business to others. In a competitive market, personal recommendations still go a long way.

    Continuously talk to your customers. Make a point of trying to understand what they really want not what you think they want; this can be done through focus groups, surveys, calling them, emailing them; anything to get as much feedback as possible as to how well (or badly) you are doing. A business is a rough diamond (certainly in the early stages) that needs constant refining and polishing. You can only improve if you speak to your customers, make them feel valued and implement their feedback.

    Delegate. One of the most difficult things of being an entrepreneur is knowing how and when to delegate to others. This can sometimes go against your initial intuition (at least in the beginning when you have to do everything yourself). But delegating in the right way frees you from getting bogged down in detail and admin and allows you to take a step back and to see the bigger picture. This brings me to my next point.

    Invest in your team. You are only as good (or in some cases as bad) as the people around you. A team that is disciplined, driven towards your company vision, smart and covers a broad skill set (technical, sales, strategy, marketing) dramatically increases your chances of success and your rate of growth.

    Don’t get stuck in the land of the living dead. Entrepreneurs possess that very unique balance between hell bent persistence and determination to succeed but also flexibility and adaptability to give up when the time is right. Knowing when to change course, drop a product or try something new takes guts, intuition and a little luck!

    Be nice to people and say thank you. Again this sounds obvious, but always appreciate the time people take to speak to you, offer their advice and offer their views. They don’t have to be doing that; they have better things to do than talk about your business, so be grateful and appreciative of their time.

    And finally take a break when you can. Get a change of scenery. This gives you the opportunity to get away from your emails and phones and to really think where the business is going and to determine the key strategic milestones for the next 6-12 months. You are the captain of the ship so taking a step back to make sure you are sailing in the right direction is time well spent!

    Cyrus Afkhami is the founder of My Tutor Club a leading private tuition company based in London that provides private tutoring for all levels (both in-person and online) as well as 13+ / GCSE / A-Level revision booster courses, Schools Advisory consultancy and 11+ / 13+ school interview practice to students in the UK and abroad.

    evening standard two