I attended Paul Bellows’ “Race To a Million” mastermind session this past week. Several local business owners met to share best practices and to use their collective knowledge to solve some common business challenges.

Bellows asked everyone to share the one piece of advice they wish they had when they first opened their business. Here is a summary of what they said.

It is important to be humble enough to know you cannot do it alone, and that you will need the help of others. Be willing to ask others to help, and be ready to learn from them.

Do not try and do it all yourself. Find a way to delegate tasks to others and spend more of your time “managing” the business rather than doing the tasks themselves. Focus on being a better business owner, and not a technician.

Understand that it is not going to be easy running a business. Trust your instincts and be confident that you can do it. Be willing to take risks and avoid the temptation to be risk averse.

When you do jump into something, jump fast and far. Then run with it as best you can. Forgive yourself when you make mistakes. It is important to learn valuable lessons from those mistakes, but there is no need to punish yourself.

It is important to be self aware. Make sure you take care of yourself and not just the business. Your health is very important. Try to have a backup person you can trust in case something happens. For example, if you become ill and miss six consecutive weeks of work, who will make sure the operations run smoothly?

Finally, integrity is everything. Do not do anything that could shame you publicly, or that you would be ashamed of. Stay firmly aligned with your core values.

For more information, visit paulcbellows.com.