5 "Major Keys" for Winning at Entrepreneurship
It seems that everywhere you look people are launching new ventures. Whether they quit their day job to go at it alone or freelance their skills on the side -- entrepreneurship is here to stay. Social media shows you the glamorous side: celebrating new clients, picking a logo, launching a site. All the shiny newness of being your own boss will eventually wear off; you will have to dig deep and find your focus.
After the honeymoon phase comes the actual work. The real hustle when days start running together, the to-do list seems never ending and the inspiration is just as low as new client numbers. The hustle is hard, however, when worked right, it is rewarding. Without proper preparation, this phase is where many businesses fail. This stage exposes weakness, tests willpower and drains motivation. In this phase, entrepreneurs learn that a successful launch alone does not equate to a successful business. A successful business is determined by what one does after the business gets off the ground and the crucial step comes in keeping the business from crashing.
These five major keys will help you hustle harder and smarter to make sure that both you and your business survive.
Make your Actions and Words Align
Complaining ruins everything. When times get tough, the way you speak over yourself and your business can help or hurt you. Setbacks are inevitable, and by my calculations failure doesn’t exist. Business is about outcomes, desired or undesired. Not about failures. You learn, adjust and move on. You must discipline yourself to speak positively. Instead of getting bogged down in the Shoulda/Woulda/Coulda’s -- re-frame your dialog and say “Next time I will …” These actions build the positive momentum needed to propel you through the toughest of days.
Take Back Control
Our mindset with regards to time is that it is out of our control. Proclaiming that there just is not enough time in the day, relinquishes our control of our day. Meeting requests, deadlines and to-do lists can cloud your mind and clutter your calendar, but it must not determine your day. These things are part of business, but instead of letting them consume you - you must control them. Instead of leaving your calendar wide open to intrusion, set specific times and days for specific things. You can do things like set work only hours, and meeting only days. This way, you set the expectation for yourself and others of your priorities. As far as your to-do list, make this the activity that closes out your day. Planning a day ahead sets precedent and expectation allowing you to wake with a purpose in mind and be more apt for a productive day.
Define and Plan for Your Success
Have a plan and work it. Know what success means for you, your business and what your goals for growth are. Once you define these things, make a plan breaking down steps and actions that are needed to reach the goals you have set forth. These goals should also impact your personal growth. Your business cannot grow if you do not grow. If one of your goals is six clients by the end of the quarter, you may need to educate yourself on how to close more clients. Read a book, take a webinar or find a mentor -- you must grow and you must change. If you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you've always got.
As we know, entrepreneurship can be lonely. Some of the positives of the traditional work environment are things like synergy and group think. As an entrepreneur it is your job to create these types of experiences for yourself. You must put yourself in places to interact with others. Conferences, online communities, meetup groups, small business organizations -- wherever they are, you must go. These types of groups will provide you with access to mentors, peers, future contacts, collaboration opportunities and more. Make it a point to attend such gathering once a month, and pledge to walk away with at least three new authentic contacts from each. Later we can discuss the best ways to nurture these relationships with best practices for keeping in contact.
The fifth major key is simple: Do not get so caught up in achieving the goal, and scratching through your to-do list, that you forget to celebrate the accomplishment itself. Savor your success! They are of the sweetest parts of your journey.
In this era of entrepreneurship, the shiny new ventures are celebrated as the next big things. What you accomplish once you are no longer "new" is where your success is defined.