So you’ve decided to pursue your own business–GREAT! Now what? Here are 5 best practices for the new business entrepreneur to keep in mind when starting out. While these aren’t the only keys to success, they sure as heck help!
Get Up Early
Ever heard the phrase the early bird gets the worm? These funny old sayings do come from solid wisdom. You really do get the worm if you are the first bird on scene, but enough about the life cycle.
Studies have shown people that rise early are more productive. Why you ask? Well for a myriad of reasons, the most often cited is that you’re fresh first thing in the morning. Your brain is ready to focus and conquer. If that isn’t enough motivation this article on lifehack.org states that you actually can gain up-to 15 days a year by becoming a morning person based on the time you save being productive and focused. Set your alarms!
Take criticism seriously and WITHOUT the attitude
Criticism is a part of life. Period. We all have ways of handling our misgivings when someone is so kind as to point them out to us. The real difference in whether or not that bit of potentially unwanted information can help or hurt you is based completely on how you respond. If you accept it, remind yourself often, you are not and never will be perfect. Critics help round us out as individuals by pointing out the painfully obvious personality traits or the not so obvious “blind spots” that may rub others the wrong way. They also help us better our work. For instance, say you’re working on a new product and it just isn’t hitting the mark, but it’s so close to your heart that you think it’s fabulous no matter what (we’ve all been there). At that point, you need to ask for other people’s opinions. Odds are there is room to improve. Odds are even higher that if someone tells you that, you are going to be hurt and possibly incensed at this insane (in your mind) accusation. The reality is critics make the things we value and work on that much more valuable and better. So listen when others speak, consider what they are saying. You don’t always have to act on other’s critiques but take it like a champ and don’t throw a temper tantrum! It’s unbecoming as an adult and as a sound minded business person. (Should go without saying!).
Speaking of attitude… be a good leader, not a dictator
You may be an amazing leader. You may know how to run a company just right. But does that direction and skill come at the cost of making others around or below you feel as if they are invaluable? If so, then it’s time to re-think your tact in interacting with your employees/vendors. No one wants to feel like they are less-than. It stinks. So using the power position and/or belittling your staff is, hands down, the most INEFFECTIVE way to get people to do what you want. Besides, try and practice the old trick “do unto others as you would have want done unto you.” Seriously, if feeling like you’re worthless isn’t your idea of a good time, then odds are your employees won’t feel that way either.
This is a tall order now-a-days. We are all over tasked… between families, friends, work, chores, and your own needs there is nowhere near enough time in the day. Knowing that means that you need to seriously focus on what you can and cannot get done in a day. No, but really, think about it. I am really guilty of believing I can get way more done in a single day than is really humanly possible. Admitting that you can’t get a week’s worth of work done in a single day does not make you less productive or amazing than you are. It actually makes you more amazing, because you are now being realistic about what your limitations are. Remember when you see an uber successful woman like Oprah, she has a MASSIVE team of people behind her. She is not a single person conquering an empire. She is a single women DELEGATING tasks throughout her empire to other managers that then delegate even more tasks out . Essentially, she is the idea person and she makes enough money to pay other people and employees to execute those ideas. That isn’t to say she didn’t start out busting her behind and still is busting her behind everyday, because she is. What I am saying is if you ever want to become like her, learn how to manage your time effectively by being realistic about what you can be focused on, and have real expectations for deadlines. Then learn how to delegate. (More on the word “delegate” below).
Don’t be a control freak!
Delegating is a HUGE aspect of any successful business, but for the small business owner, delegating is a tough pill to swallow. You, naturally have a huge attachment to the hard work it took you to make your dream a reality. So, if you’d like to see that seed turn into a bed of roses, then you need to stop trying to be the only one that does everything. I’ve heard it all before, “but, I’m really the only one that can do that because…” and “Well, the only person you can trust to get something done is yourself…” etc. Not true. Those statements take power away from you, instead of empowering you. If you really believe you’re the only one that can do any one particular task for your business, then you are living in a world of fantasy. (Yikes! Time for a reality check). Plus if the people you hired are so “incapable” of producing quality work for you, then perhaps it’s time to re-consider your hiring practices and figure out how to hire better employees. It’s only hurting you, not them. (Well maybe them too… you run the risk of alienating good employees by not trusting them to complete tasks you’ve assigned to them.)
Feeling overwhelmed? A bit stressed? Slow down, take a deep breath and choose… Choose one of the above “Action Steps” and begin implementing TODAY. It’s impossible (and setting you up for a fail, if attempted) to incorporate ALL of these suggestions in one day… so don’t do it. Pick the one that resonates the most with you. The one that you know will radically change everything if you can make it into a habit. The one that will give you more freedom to, then, implement the others… One step at a time. Change is possible… once you are committed!