Searching out advice to solve your small business challenges can be daunting, especially if you don’t know exactly what challenges you’ll face. Finding a mentor or picking the brain of a successful and experienced entrepreneur often provides relevant information and tips to keep your business on the right track. To help get you started in gathering this information, we sat down with some Twin Cities entrepreneurs to gain insights on what they wish they knew when they started their businesses.

Play to Your Strengths

For Stephanie Shimp, Co-Founder of Blue Plate Restaurants, the key to success is knowing your wheelhouse:

“When starting your own business, remember that you don’t have to do it all. Do what you love. Do what you are good at and delegate or hire out the rest. Surround yourself with a team that balances you out in skill set, personality, and perspective.”

Knowing when to delegate and lean on your team’s strengths is extremely important. Not only will it save you time and stress, you can make sure that things are being done right the first time. You don’t have to do everything, focus on building a talented team.

Passion Feeds Success

Turning your passion into a business can be a challenge. For Christina Hankins, of Urban Gypsy

Design and Color Me Mine, passion is the key to her drive:

“One thing I’ve learned is always follow your passion. I am an artist and throughout my different businesses I’ve followed my passion of art and, as a result, have been able to do some special things with my fashion line, my commissioned paintings and my newest adventure, Color Me Mine. If we follow our passion, all the long hours and hard work are worthwhile.”

Finding a way to bring your passion into your work helps to avoid burning out. Sometimes motivation is hard to come by, but when you love what you do finding that spark can pull you out of a rut, inspire new ideas, and fuel your business’s growth.

Stick to the Plan

According to Carrie Sartin, co-owner of CaJah Salon, having a vision of success and following that guide is key – along with remembering to have fun:

“We had a vision; then we built our brand around that vision. Our tagline is “Cool People. Great Hair. Amazing Music.” all day, every day! We surround ourselves with like-minded people that have the same inspirations as we do and believe in the motto “build it, and they will come.” We love what we do, which makes every day better than the day before.”

As you pour yourself into your business day-in and day-out, be sure to take a step back and look at the big picture. Your vision is the light at the end of the tunnel. There are many ways to accomplish a goal, and guided risks are the key to navigating that path. Making sure you have fun will keep you energized and attract talented people to your team.

Learn to Fail

David Reiling, CEO of Sunrise Banks, believes that innovation and failure are key to success:

“Don’t be afraid to innovate. Learn from other industries, there is no rulebook. When you constantly take an introspective look at your business you are not only more agile, but able to bounce back from setbacks. In the end, don’t be afraid to fail smart and fail often.”

Evolving and innovating ahead of roadblocks is extremely important. Don’t get too comfortable or let your growth go stagnant. Making sure you know what to take away from failures turns setbacks into springboards for successful innovation.

Hopefully this advice can help not only drive your future success, but helps to avoid the pitfalls along the way. You don’t have to go it alone, lean on your fellow entrepreneurs and learn from their experience. However, at the end of the day, no one knows your business better than you. Learning when and where to apply advice can make a trying situation into an opportunity to grow.