Listen up, entrepreneurs! 5 big tips from business titans

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Although small-business owners have more tools and sources of capital available to them than ever before, it still takes a lot to keep a start-up going. And a lot can go wrong, especially in the early days, if a founder hitches their ambitions to the wrong set of management principles.

Longtime investors and business executives shared insights and lessons learned about the right mind-set for building a wildly successful business with aspiring entrepreneurs at iCONIC in Seattle.

1. Pursue excellence, not money

Greg Glassman, founder and CEO of CrossFit, believes that entrepreneurs who start businesses to make money will often find themselves on a wild goose chase.

"The universe doesn't care if you want to be rich," Glassman said at the iCONIC Conference in Seattle on Tuesday. "Markets are unknowable."

"Excellence stands like a beacon, a lighthouse," Glassman said. "Excellence is obvious to everyone. Chase it. Pursue it."

He explained that entrepreneurs that aim to produce high-quality products and services will often find financial success as well.

2. Forget the "vision" mumbo jumbo; execute the plan

"Shark Tank's" Kevin O'Leary, founder of the O'Leary Financial Group, thinks that the most important quality of an entrepreneur is the ability to execute, because that is the foundation of a business.

"There's nothing worse than vision all day long. Vision is easy. Execution is hard," he said.

O'Leary explained that entrepreneurs that are able to set goals, communicate them and are transparent about progress toward those goals are the ones that succeed.

3. Don't deny big sources of resistance

Danae Ringelmann speaking at CNBC's Iconic conference in Seattle, Washington on April 5th, 2016.
David A. Grogan | CNBC

Danae Ringelmann, founder and chief development officer of Indiegogo, said that entrepreneurs should expect obstacles.

"When you're trying to do something new, you are going to face resistance," she said.

In fact, while many successful entrepreneurs are renowned for their confidence, Ringelmann said besides the typical rejection and ridicule, one of the biggest forms of resistance is self-doubt.

Ringlemann said that if entrepreneurs prepare for this hindrance rather than hide it, then they can at least be prepared to deal with reistance properly.

4. Cutting back is not only for worst-case scenarios

Tilman Fertitta, star of "Billion Dollar Buyer"
David A. Grogan | CNBC

Tilman Fertitta, CEO of Landry's and host of CNBC's "Billion Dollar Buyer," said that in tough financial decisions, you can't hesitate to trim what's necessary.

"Don't be scared to make cuts. You can't save the world. If you want to be successful in business, you gotta be tough sometimes, and you better be tough in tough times," Fertitta said.

Tilman Fertitta, CEO of Landry's, stars in CNBC's "Billion Dollar Buyer"
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He said that there's a surprising amount of excess in every business. Fertitta explained that while quality should never be sacrificed, there's always something that can be shaved off in every aspect of a business.

5. You'll never be fully "prepared"; just take the leap!

"Shark Tank's" Robert Herjavec, founder and CEO of Herjavec Group, advises entrepreneurs to take advantage of the opportunities that are given to them, even if they feel daunting.

"I'm a big believer that you're never prepared enough for a job that has the potential for greatness," Herjavec said. "You're never going to know everything. You just gotta do it, because the best experience is doing it."


Join more of America's most influential entrepreneurs at the next iCONIC stop, in Denver, on June 15.