Top mentor lessons to take into 2014


One of the most common pieces of advice for people setting out on the road to starting their own business is how important it is to find a mentor.


Most founders and small business people can’t stress enough how valuable it was for them to have someone they could bounce ideas off and who could help clarify their thinking.


At StartupSmart we’ve got some of Australia’s top mentors who offered compelling advice on a range of topics.


Here we’ve collected some of the most popular that resonated with readers in 2013.


Setting up a sales commission structure


How to set up a sales commission structure for a business was one of the most popular posts of the year from mentor Vicki Crowe.


But she explained that a key question to clarify is whether it’s a commission structure you actually want or a bonus scheme.


“A commission structure usually applies when you are offering someone a piece of the action. For example: X % of the gross revenue or an amount for selling X amount of product(s). A bonus scheme, however, is based on meeting fixed monthly and/or annual targets,” she writes.


She goes on to outline how she structured her own sales commission structure.


Why LinkedIn is hot


LinkedIn has become more than an online resume and Rolodex, writes social media expert Adam Franklin. In this post he sets out six reasons why it’s the best social media platform for start-ups.


He notes it’s becoming the “go-to” place for business news and is a content sharing platform that can get your articles in front of your entire contact base.


Using LinkedIn like a pro


LinkedIn topics were favourites for readers, and this one, again from Adam Franklin, about how to use it effectively, was also popular.


Here he guides LinkedIn novices through the basics of connecting with other professionals, through to building a profile and getting proactive.


Follow his advice and soon you’ll be able to apply the platform to helping others and yourself.


Pitching to new customers


There are many things to get your head around when you’re running a new business, from branding to stock control, writes Michelle Bowden.


“But a key skill you need to become brilliant at, and quickly, is pitching for business,” she says. “If you can fast-track your ability to bring new customers in the door and keep them as loyal clients you’ll be creating very strong foundations for your start-up business.”


In this post she explains her seven secrets to pitching to new clients, from building relationships to making sure you make a good first impression.


What’s the worst thing you can do in business – and life?


For Rebekah Campbell, never ever telling a lie was one of the best bits of advice she’s been given and that she can offer. Something so simple and yet so powerful.


“I seldom adopt esoteric business philosophies but its impact has been such that I believe this powerful secret should be talked about,” she writes.


“Truth and its relationship to creativity, peace and ultimately success have played on my mind in the past couple of months. If you’ve read this post and thought, “that doesn’t relate to me – I never tell a lie”, then you’re probably lying to yourself.”


Some others worth reading and thinking about: