Ah, the life of an entrepreneur. Launching a company is a hectic and thrilling place to be. Each new stage of growth brings about new challenges and tests new aspects of who you are and what you can do. Whether you’re a Real Estate agent, starting a cake making company or developing the next greatest video creation platform (yup, that’d be us) it can be challenging to find out how to best prioritize time and energy. Luckily, there has been a bunch of research over the years regarding what few things every successful entrepreneur does in order to stay healthy and sane.
These tips aren’t just for the CEO. They are an example every CEO should set in order for all employees to follow and be a well rounded contributing team member. Whether you’re at the top or bottom of the food chain. bring these actions into your life and see the improvement month over month. We can guarantee positive results.
Set a Plan
While setting a plan may seem as easy as pie, the common misconception is that by having a to-do list or a goal in your head you’ve done the work. Wrong. Setting a true plan, one that will bring about successful results, requires additional effort and dedication. The first order of business when creating a plan is by setting your goal.
Set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) goals that excite you to push yourself and work extra hard. Goal setting alone is a powerful part of attaining achievements. The goal writing process will also consolidate the clutter in your mind and thus help your team members work most effectively towards one clear target. You can (and should) break down goals into a timeline that covers both long term and short term benchmarks.
Once your goals are set you can add who the stakeholders are for each, who is working towards that goal and how are they doing so. We highly recommend naming a manager for every project, big and small, to avoid confusion and miscommunication. Miscommunication and lack of clarity is the kryptonite to success in a growing business. You’ll be better equipped to avoid such stumbling blocks with a clear and transparent plan set forth.
You know the best thing that comes from taking a big risk? A huge reward. And, that’s the only way that huge reward will arrive. Every entrepreneur that has become successful has risked big and small over and over again. Most likely they could sit for hours to share moments of massive mistakes and falling on their face. It happens. The telling characteristic that differentiates a true risk taker from a play-it-safer is if you get back up after failure, and how quickly.
But how do you push yourself out of that plane and bungee jump with a smile? By building a parachute. That doesn’t mean a backup plan or a huge savings account. A parachute can be the confidence in your skill set, research that your idea is vital to be added to the market and so on. The parachute can be as simple, or not so simple. As long as you have one then you’re on the right path.
Not only will risk taking be a benefit to your own long-term success, it also makes you stand out in the short term. Getting noticed by the influencers is also a necessary step of starting out as an entrepreneur and doing something disruptive, while professional, can garner you wanted attention. That attention from the right investor or partner can spiral into the start of really impactful business developments
Millions of dollars are spent yearly in market testing and there’s a reason for it. Because even a genius can’t know everything that a community of people knows. Not every time, certainly. It’s essential for a good entrepreneur to be humble and understand the essential role testing plays in bringing an idea to market from the moment of conception.
With that, and for many it becomes less obvious the more success you find, you must also be ok with being wrong and making a pivot. After all, that’s the point of testing, to improve. This can get more and more frightening as more effort, time and money have been committed to a business but it is what can set you apart in the long run. For example, did you know the invention of Zumba Dance was originally exercise videos? Imagine if they never fully brought the movement to life? They would have missed out on not only a huge business but the creation of a cultural phenomenon. Or Groupon that started as The Point, a social-good fundraising site that made a massive shift in the corporation it is today.
Develop your product, target audience, brand strategy, pricing, marketing assets and so on to the fullest of your ability and work until they are as close to perfect as you can imagine. Then test, test, test, learn and adjust.
You don’t win an award for working 100 hour weeks, skipping breakfast or exercise consisting of you walking between the office and the boardroom. The opposite in fact. If you don’t take care of yourself your work suffers enormously, and so does the work of those around you based on your example.
Let’s start with sleep. SleepRate showcased research on the effects of sleep deprivation and sites the following as observed consequences:
- Declining cognitive performance
- Poor memory consolidation
- Impaired attention and decision-making
- Slow reaction time
Imagine the boss of a prominent business exhibiting such qualities. No thanks.
Then comes food. The Washington Post wrote an article, You may look more productive skipping lunch, or eating at your desk. But you aren’t. There’s an American trend to rush. Everywhere. That includes out the door in the morning. This behavior for many is followed by eating a brief meal at your desk if at all. Once you’re home and it’s finally time to eat dinner you’re too exhausted to cook something healthy. Sound familiar? Eating food is not just a social activity, it is the actual fuel that keeps your body running and performing optimally. What could possibly take precedence over that?! Feed your brain with nutrients and increase your mental performance. Also, when it comes to eating at your desk as the boss–don’t. It sets a pretty negative tone at the office that will decrease workers motivation in a major way. Remember, they too have human needs.
The more successful you are, likely the more opportunities will be coming your way. And that feels amazing. But it doesn’t mean that you should say yes to everything. In fact, you should say no. This includes projects within your company and time-consuming activities outside.
When it comes to company projects, you’re likely to have a backlog for ages which is why prioritization and delegation are so crucial to success. Saying no to doing something yourself doesn’t need to mean saying no to the project taking off. It means you may need to find other talent around you to bring it to light. Letting go of the reigns is a great thing and will allow you to have a team that you can trust and that feels appreciated. Basically, when you say no and allow someone else to say yes it’s truly a win-win.
Regarding your personal life, saying no is a key to happiness and success as well. It’s a dangerous way to build or maintain relationships of any kind if you’re saying yes and inside feeling resentful or irritated because you wish you weren’t doing something. Manage expectations with people in your personal life by kindly and compassionately saying no. You’ll see your relationships work better because everyone is being direct and honest. You’ll also find more balance (essential for every overworked entrepreneur) because you’ll spend your precious hours doing what matters to you and those closest to you.