How much would it cost you to sit down for a power lunch with Sean “Diddy” Combs and pick his brain for advice? Well, if you were one of those who bid for the chance in a charity auction, it would have run you somewhere in the neighborhood of $3,250. But that actually would have only gotten you 15 minutes on the phone with the rap mogul. Lunch would have been with one of his top executives.
But put your money away as provided below—free of charge—is some of the best money/business advice around from some of the nation’s top superstar entrepreneurs.
Daymond John, FUBU clothing line, Shark Tank TV Show
"It takes the same energy to think small as it does to think big. So dream big and think bigger."
"Be the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment, own it.
"I don't think of myself as a poor deprived ghetto girl who made good. I think of myself as somebody who from an early age knew I was responsible for myself, and I had to make good."
Be wary about who you divulge your challenges to -- even family. "Sometimes the ones who love you the most will give you the worst business advice. My mother tried her best to talk me out of the radio business because of that. If I had listened [to my mother], I would be a government employee right now and there would be no Radio One."
Russell Simmons, Def Jam, Phat Farm, Rush Communications
Be passionate about what you do. Do a business you believe in: "I'm an entrepreneur who is moved by passion, but not numbers. I am constantly being approached with business ideas that will make money, but if I don't believe in the business, I won't do it."
Give away your business products and services for free. "If you are a good giver, you will be great getter."
Magic Johnson, Magic Johnson Enterprises
The No. 1 thing you have to do is research to make sure there is a business there. No. 2, make sure there is demand for what you are going to have your business in. I was able to build my company because demand was already there. You also have to understand the competition and what they are doing.
You’ve got to work for greatness. You’ve got to work. My first job was a paper route when I was 12. Work as hard as you can to pursue your dream, believe and you can achieve. Positive attracts positive. Negative attracts negative.
Get organized! If you aren't organized it is impossible to be successful- both personally and professionally. If your stuff is a mess, you are going to be mess.
Set goals and make timelines. You should set daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals. Breakdown what you want to accomplish and how long it's going to take you. Don't be afraid to change your plans. Not everything in life goes according to plan. Don't be discouraged if you get off track. Reassess your goals.
BET Founder, Robert L. Johnson
Make your friends before you need them. I’ve never been one that was afraid of having people who could help me by giving me their advice. The more they feel comfortable that they’re part of your mission and they clearly understand the mission, whatever you’re doing just becomes easier. You have to give people an opportunity to have an opinion about what you’re going to do.
Judy Smith, Smith & Company
(Inspiration behind “Scandal’s” Olivia Pope)
Know your industry’s weaknesses Certain crises are likely to happen in given industries--like recalls for consumer products. Prepare an advance game plan and a solid execution strategy for these potential mishaps. Have a plan of attack If you or your company fall into a crisis, own up to your issues and face the reality of your situation, be honest and transparent, act decisively to begin to remedy the situation, and have in place a strategy to rehabilitate the brand.