When building a new city build all of your zones together. Surround all of your zones by roads.
Don't try and spend alot of money in one year b/c u will eventually go bankrupt. Try and build only things that you need at first (ie: Firestations, All water buildings, Police Stations, Powerplants, etc.)
Don't build your industries to close to residential b/c the residential house will be run-down or abandoned houses/buildings.
Have a main waterpipe so that your Sims have enough water. Build watertowers every once in a while.
Connect a powerline and a waterpipe to some of your surrounding neighbors. They will eventually offer you deals. If you have garbage zones, your surroundings neighbors will offer to take some of your trash away, or give you trash.