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An Entrepreneur's Five Tips to Starting Your Own Business

By:  Jason Pate Jan 29, 2013
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Starting your own company is no easy task, but it's by no means impossible.  Everyday I am faced with challenges and potential setbacks, but throughout the process I have found five principles that continue to guide me.  I hope these tips will also help you find success as you venture into building your own business:

1.  Be Passionate. Whether you are talking to your friends, family, investors, or guests, your passion for your company should shine through. To become successful, you, your team members, and your customers have to love what you're doing. Passion is infectious. Lead by example.

2.  Surround yourself with the right people. You will have plenty of ups and downs in a startup. You need people in your personal and professional life who can be outlets, mentors, advisors, and friends.

3.  Treat people as guests not customers.  Don't forget the reason you are creating a business is for the benefit of others. Don’t treat your guests like a meal ticket. Take the time to learn what they think and feel and why. Understand their overall experience and how to improve it. Listen and learn from them—they will be your best innovators.

4.  Embrace your mistakes.You’re going to make them…LOTS of them. So don’t dwell on them, face them head on. They will teach you things you did not realize you needed to know. Your biggest mistake will always be not learning from the ones you make.

5.  Take a minute a day to be proud. One of life’s most common regrets is letting risk get in the way of following your heart. There will always be things that need improvement. Once a day, calendar out one minute to stop, sit and reflect on the journey that you had the courage to start.

Jason Pate is a former Coke Scholar turned restaurant entrepreneur. Pate co-owns Tava Indian Kitchen, a local mini-chain of innovative Indian restaurants in the San Francisco area.