By Michel Bracké, CEO of Nicoccino

I have some invaluable words of advice for anyone running or thinking about starting a business. Having worked for nearly 20 years across a number of sectors in the business world, I have a wealth of knowledge and experience to offer any entrepreneur.

Here are my top ten tips that will keep you on top of your game:

Keep Your Vision in Sight

If there is one thing that inhibits a business, its losing sight of the purpose it was founded on. If you can no longer see what benefit your business is providing or the direction it is going in, re-group with your team. Re-establish what your principles actually are, and how you will maintain them. As your business grows and starts moving in different directions make sure keeping an end goal in sight remains a priority.

Know Your Customer

The customer is the most important person in your business, and many forget that. At the end of the day you’re providing a service to help people, and it’s these people that should always be your focus. What do they want? How can you help them get that? Will they want to do business with you again? When developing a new idea or product, such as I have done, it is imperative that you keep these questions at the forefront of your mind!

Stay Adventurous

Your first adventure was making the decision to start a business, but to maintain a successful company you must carry on taking risks. In my work I have adopted something called the Swedish Innovation Legacy, which is the idea that Sweden’s creative culture makes it the ideal environment for new companies and ideas to be tried and tested. As we are such a small country, you can’t rely on a big domestic market to grow. In Sweden the average time for our companies to go international is 18 months after start-up, which is less than half the time it takes companies from bigger countries.

Learn From Your Mistakes

Failure is a fact of life, but it always teaches you something. When viewing it in this perspective, failure is no longer something to fear but something to value. It gives you the perfect excuse to examine what went wrong and why it failed, and how you can prevent it from happening again in the future.

Work With and Support Your Team

Having a great team around you and enjoying your job is key. I don’t like leading with a hierarchy –people at all levels can learn from their peers, so long as the team are self-motivated and capable. Success is never just down to one person, it’s a group effort, and it bodes well to carry this ethos through your business journey. No matter how high you are in the hierarchy, reaching out to your employees and colleagues creates connections and friendships that in turn creates the perfect environment for a business to flourish. After all, we are all working towards the same goal: to create the best business we can.

Stick To Your Principles

Everyone in business will have their own values but in the workplace I make sure I stay honest to myself and work from my own principles. No matter the challenge, it is not worth compromising yourself and diverting from principles you feel strongly about.

Believe in Yourself

Self-confidence is the untapped success source in many aspects of life, including business. By believing in who you are and what you have to offer, a security emerges that inspires others. By the same token, staying humble goes hand-in-hand with this, as the line between confidence and arrogance can be very thin.

Find What Works for You

Whether it is the way you approach your pitch or the way you connect with your colleagues, make sure you find the best approach that works for you. There is no one-size-fits-all in life, and remember that it’s OK to be different to others – it’s what makes life interesting!

Leverage your Expertise

When it comes to work, do not refrain from sharing your experience and wisdom with others. Not only will it help educate and grow your colleagues, but it will help remind you of how much you have to offer. Holding back will mean the business loses out, so don’t be shy.

Always Revise and Regenerate your Method

There is always a more efficient way to do things, sometimes on a micro scale, and sometimes on a much larger scale. Keep your eyes open for any aspect of your work that you can improve to revitalise and energise the way you (and your colleagues) approach tasks. Your peers will appreciate anything that makes their job easier.