The Dos and Don'ts of Small Business Success

In order to succeed as a business owner, you have to keep learning. Here at AED’s BizLaunch, part of the focus is providing different opportunities and resources for small business owners to be able to take in new information. It’s done by hosting different events and webinars for the public.

I joined BizLaunch just in time to witness the last couple of spring workshops. The first one I observed was “10 Things You Should Never Do as a Startup” presented by Clayton Depue, a retired electrical engineer and inventor from Arlington. Depue, who has more than 40 years of management experience with high-technology companies now dedicates part of his time to advising startups. In his workshop, Depue drew on his years of experience to bring real-life examples to attendees, which really helped to bring his points to the forefront.

Here are just a few of the tips he shared:

  • Are you going to be a CEO? This will make finding investments harder.
  • If you’re going to have a partner, make sure to build a relationship like family. Trust is crucial.
  • Are your advisors willing to invest? If you have them, make sure they will be an asset.
  • PRIORITIZE! As CEO, it will make you more efficient and enable you to share ideas.
  • Delegation is a balance of trust and knowing your team.
  • It takes less effort to proof-read emails than resend them… avoid internal confusion.
  • Staff meetings should be short and for important problems.
  • Conserve your cash.
  • Differentiate yourself, because the odds aren’t in your favor.

These may seem silly to state, but as Depue indicated, these ideas are crucial for a business. He was wise, direct and left off with some powerful advice: “Forget the naysayers and go for it!”


Guest blogger Cecilia Martinez is completing a summer internship with AED’s BizLaunch. She is a rising senior at James Madison University with a Business Management major and Spanish minor and hopes to one day open her own interior design business.

Topic: BizLaunch
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