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How to Take Your Business to the Next Level, Plus 9 Top Tips for Entrepreneurs from SBE President Sam Bakhshandehpour

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For her new year's resolution, @claudia9s tweeted us that she wanted to "start my own business and get my own house."

As you're getting your business off the ground, there are a few key elements you need to know to boost your passion project to a successful level.

Branding your business, raising funding for it, getting familiar with your clientele and understanding the benefits of social media in relation to your business are just a few of the essential things that you should know how to do.

For tips on how to do that, we chatted with SBE president Sam Bakhshandehpour, who is responsible for top-level management of all of the company's business and works with SBE Founder and Chairman Sam Nazarian, among others, to manage SBE's operations and strategic growth.

Find out how to brand your business, plus Bakhshandehpour's other top tips for entrepreneurs on how to take your business to the next level.

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Sam B. SBE

1. Get your business plan together: Before you hit the road to raise capital, you really need to put together a thoughtful plan, Bakhshandehpour advised. An entrepreneur should do their homework, be passionate about their business plan and have a very institutionalized presentation that also has soul, character and a passion that shines through.

2. Raise capital: Once you have your business plan in place, it's time to get your funding together. When you first start trying to raise money for your business, reach out to the people you know. "That first round of capital raising is usually the most difficult, so, before you can get large institutions to back you, go about asking family and friends to get your business up and running." Once the company is up and running and you've raised that inital capital, then you can go the more advanced route of securing secondary funding. "We call that second round of funding more venture type capital, and there's a lot of family offices and a lot of industry funds specifically geared towards that round of capital raising," he continued.

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Katsuya SBE

3. Increase visibility through branding: "Branding and marketing are really two of the key elements of success for any entrepreneur," he said. "When you start off with a company, the first thing is making sure you have the right vision for what you want the project to be." After you do that, make sure you understand who your clients are, who you're selling your product to, and know what the alternatives are out there. "Your branding needs to reflect the soul of the company, and it can't be overly complicated," he said. "I think simple messages are the most important thing when it comes to any type of brand. It reflects the integrity of the product that you're selling."

4. Keep evolving: Evolution is the key word that comes to mind when it comes to a successful business, Bakhshandehpour continued. "We're continuously evolving what we're doing with all of our venues. We're continuously changing and making sure we're relevant for 2014 standards and beyond, while maintaining that element of the style and prestige of these places."

5. Promote your business with social media: "I think social media is critical to the success of any business," he said. "It's not a fad. It's another vertical of marketing that everyone needs to embrace." When it comes to SBE, Bakhshandehpour said they try to make sure that their followers are engaged by showing them ins and outs of SBE venues, among other things. "There's a lot of excitement you can share with your customers even when they're not at your physical location or utilizing your product. The beauty of social media is that it's 24/7." When you're promoting your business on social media, try to think about the things that would make your followers continued to support your business. What would get them excited about it?

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Katsuya SBE

6. Understand the lifestyle of entrepreneurship: "When you're starting off a business, it's not work and it's not a job," he went on. "It's a lifestyle and it's a passion. You're going to live and breathe this business 24/7. That's why you're an entrepreneur."

7. Know that Rome wasn't built in a day: "Celebrate the small wins, and don't try to accomplish and climb the mountain with one step," he said. "So often you put a business plan together and you forget that you're not going to become a global platform overnight . It's really important to take baby steps and realize that at times you may not see the progress but if you have the smallest win, celebrate it and enjoy it."

8. Everyone in your business can't have the same perspective: "If everyone thinks the same way, you're never going to be able to be challenged," he added. "You need to evolve and see a different perspective." To manage the stress that will come with starting a business, it's important to not only celebrate the small wins, but that you're also able to work with your team. You're going to spend more time with those people then you will your friends and significant other, so like the people around you.

9. Take care of yourself: "A lifestyle that has a fitness element to it is critical," he continued. "Entrepreneurs are so passionate that they live and breathe their business 24/7 and it is important to make sure that you call a time out and take care of yourself both mentally and physically because that's the only way you can grow and succeed your business."

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