I am often asked by aspiring entrepreneurs for tips that are essential to being successful in launching a new commercial venture. Below I have assembled the big 10, something like the 10 Commandments, only for entrepreneurial success. The items covered below are not negotiable in the process of taking projects. Trying to short-circuit the list is a death knell for any start-up.

The Ten Commandments for Entrepreneurs

#1 Never Take Shortcuts!
The market is unforgiving. You only get one shot at making a GREAT First Impression! Do everything in a first class way.

#2 Never Offer an Opportunity for Consideration Without All of the Facts!
Until you have fully researched the market, pricing, demographics, etc. never attempt to take your project to decision-makers.

#3 Bootstrapping is always a Great Option!
The ability to pre-sell, minimize cash needs and prove the viability of your project can be handled by bootstrapping yourself. You keep the equity!

#4 Know Your Cost of Goods to the Penny!
The lowest possible cost of goods, with the highest possible quality features, is essential in creating realistic sales models.

#5 Your Opportunity Must have a Definable Unique Selling Proposition!
The Unique Selling Proposition defines your products niche in the marketplace. This establishes the level of risk you face.

#6 Innovate, Innovate, Innovate!
The market rewards products with creative, innovative new features and benefits. Think weird and outside the box.

#7 Address Opportunities From Your Life’s Experience!
Most successful ideas germinate from your job, hobby, lifestyle or educational experience. Keep looking around yourself!

# 8 Help Is Available for the Inexperienced!
There are many places an inexperienced inventor or entrepreneur can get guidance. Do not let fear of sales or marketing kill your great idea.

# 9 Customize Exciting Business Plans
Do not waste your time mailing poorly written fill in the blank, inter-net business plan templates. They will not be read.

#10 Never, Never Give Up!
The ability to understand, not like, but understand, the word NO is crucial to becoming a successful entrepreneur. You will hear a lot more NO than Yes.

Author's Bio: 

Geoff Ficke has been a serial entrepreneur for almost 50 years. As a small boy, earning his spending money doing odd jobs in the neighborhood, he learned the value of selling himself, offering service and value for money.

After putting himself through the University of Kentucky (B.A. Broadcast Journalism, 1969) and serving in the United States Marine Corp, Mr. Ficke commenced a career in the cosmetic industry. After rising to National Sales Manager for Vidal Sassoon Hair Care at age 28, he then launched a number of ventures, including Rubigo Cosmetics, Parfums Pierre Wulff Paris, Le Bain Couture and Fashion Fragrance.

Geoff Ficke and his consulting firm, Duquesa Marketing, Inc. (www.duquesamarketing.com) has assisted businesses large and small, domestic and international, entrepreneurs, inventors and students in new product development, capital formation, licensing, marketing, sales and business plans and successful implementation of his customized strategies. He is a Senior Fellow at the Page Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Business School, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.