The single biggest issue faced by most first-time entrepreneurs, is that while they’re experts in their field, they’re complete novices when it comes to running a business… Sooner or later, this is what most often leads to their downfall.

If you’re planning on living out your dream do yourself a favour first, don’t let inexperience get the best of you! The 7 tips below are but a fraction of what all you need to know before deciding to climb Mount Start-Up and diving head-first into the unknown.

1. Liquidity Matters More Than You Think
The most common factor in first-time businesses shutting down, is running out of cash. If you see a cash flow then fixing it should be your priority No. 1.

2. Firing Bad Employees Immediately is a No-No
Your attitude defines your business and sets the precedent for everything that follows. Obviously if somebody is dead-weight then they need to be relieved of duty, but first ascertain for sure that they’re “dead” in every capacity.

3. Your Star Performers are the Key
Whether you’re a big company like Google or a boutique set-up like Tesla Motors, the cost of losing a star employee is huge. Sadly, business leaders today hardly take out the time to ensure their top employees are motivated, challenged and properly compensated. But you, you have the ability to be different!

4. Learn to Say “Yes” and “No” As Needed
“Yes” and “No”. Two little words that have the ability to make or break your business. Why? Because they prove you know what you want and perhaps more importantly, what you don’t.

5. Keep Your Cards Close to Your Chest
Transparency can be quite effective but like everything else, its effectiveness depends on the situation. There are times to share and be open and then there are times to zip it! You need to know when and where to play your cards.

6. Know Your Finances Inside and Out
This is the one most Pakistani entrepreneurs usually stumble with. If you don’t know your capital and operating expenditures, your projected revenues, your EBITDA, your net profit, then you have no business running a business whatsoever!

7. Listen to Your Customers
For start-ups, the best way to conduct market research is to know your customer. It’s amazing how little most first-time entrepreneurs understand the value of client feedback. Competition is tough and for customers the choices are plenty so keep them happy and stay ahead of the game.