The key to business success is turning down opportunities, says one entrepreneur

Method co-founder: Here's the one mistake new businesses shouldn't do

As a self-described "person against dirty" and co-founder of eco-friendly cleaning line Method, Eric Ryan has one unconventional piece of advice for new entrepreneurs: say "no."

"As an entrepreneur, saying 'no' to opportunities is a really hard thing, but sometimes that's the most important thing to do," he said in a November interview.

Entrepreneurs often get so caught up in expanding their business that it actually backfires, Ryan said.

"Think carefully," he said. "What's more likely to kill you: growing too slow or growing too fast? Many businesses die because they grow too fast versus growing too slow."

It's this practice of pacing oneself that Ryan says is a key to success.

Want to shake up an established industry? Here's how
Method office reception.
Office Envy: Inside Method's San Francisco workspace

"Do not worry about starting a business. That's not your job in the beginning," he said. "You've got one job: Figure out if you have a good idea."

Ryan's idea to create well-designed yet eco-friendly soaps and detergents stemmed from a shopping trip where he realized that the cleaning aisle had no such options.

"Find a tired category that really is a sea of sameness, and then figure out what is the cultural shift that the category is missing," he advised. "In between this space is the business opportunity."

Ryan said he sees a tremendous amount of opportunity for disruption in retail.

"I see so many entrepreneurs who get so caught up with the worry of where they sit today and what a successful business looks like," he said. "If you just focus on the little steps, before you know it, you'll actually have a business."