By Eric Greene
16 tips to help you be a more successful entrepreneur
To run and grow his Colorado Western Slope manufacturing business, “Ian” (not his real name), needs to kick some serious ass. But for a couple of years, he was doing anything but that. He was chasing down everything, working on everything with equal zeal, trying to do everything. Where did that get him? Not far enough, not fast enough. It was only when he learned how to focus his efforts that things really started coming together. Here is a short list of the things Ian did, and that you should consider:
- Stop tearing yourself down: think how much time you spend doubting yourself, questioning yourself, beating up on yourself. The more you minimize the time spent tearing yourself down, the more time and headspace you free up for actually productive activities. Ian was spending a fair amount of time in this headspace, and minimizing that helped him dramatically.
- Take action / learn lessons quickly / adjust where necessary: think and analyze, but don’t over-think and over-analyze. Make a decision, and if it’s not quite right, simply learn quickly and adjust. I’ve seen many Colorado entrepreneurs adopt this mindset of evolution, and this action-oriented mindset has benefitted all of them.
- Listen better: the more you listen and seek to understand before you talk or act, the better.
- Observe the golden rule: treat others as you would like to be treated. Good things will follow.
- Set and commit to goals: you need a roadmap of the 5-7 key drivers of your business. Identify and focus on driving those things. For one Colorado-based startup in the B2C online space, there was hyper focus on the following: 1) Build the brand and awareness, 2) Build traffic and eyeballs, 3) Create a seamless online website experience and optimal conversion, 4) Offer great products and fair value, 5) Attain operational and executional excellence, 6) Provide good customer service. Any pursuit outside of the six items above was deemed not a priority or a secondary priority. This hyper-focus has led to dramatic growth.
- Build better (instead of criticizing): over-criticism is wasted time and energy. Instead, identify problems, then quickly pivot to focus on solutions.
- Work smart, not hard: working the longest hours doesn’t guarantee that you win. But it does guarantee a road to burnout. Instead, try working smart. Focused work in the right areas + balance (see #16) = a better formula for success. At one point, Ian was literally sleeping in a cot every night at his facility. Not only did this not serve him, but it inevitably led to burnout. It was only when he started achieving more balance in his life that things began to get better. Because he was fresher, he thought and acted more clearly. This positively impacted his output and results.
- Prioritize. Focus on the important stuff: You might think that everything you do is important. But factually, not all uses of your time/money/resources are created equal. See #5 above. If the time you are spending is not directly related to something that helps build your business, you are wasting your time. Everything else is secondary.
- Delegate/eliminate/do less crap: if it’s not forwarding your agenda, delegate it. Do less of it or stop it altogether.
- Seek feedback (and act on it): what’s going well? What specific things can you do better? Ask your customers. Ask your employees. And yes, act on it.
- Stop whining: it doesn’t serve you. It only drains time and energy. Instead, focus on ways to make it better.
- One step at a time: whatever you are working on in the moment, focus on it. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted. Multi-tasking is a myth.
- Do research / learn new ways: you don’t have to invent everything, every method yourself. Take ideas, insights, inspiration, methods from others who have already figured it out.
- Quit a bad habit (and start a new, better one): what habit(s) is draining you? Stop it, and build yourself a counter-habit that’s better.
- Seek more balance. Have more fun – especially in a place like Colorado: contrary to the belief that you have to work all the time, carving out balance and fun in your life actually leaves you fresher, more creative and with more energy. Over time, this will make a huge difference in your life and your business.
- Eat healthier, get more exercise, take better care: speaks for itself. You know you should, so just do it.
Eric Greene is a proven executive and entrepreneur turned success/executive coach + advisor at the Greenehouse (www.GHouseCoaching.com). Pouring my experience into helping you work smarter. Lead better. Stress less. Have more fun doing it. And kick way more ass along the way.