Finding success as your own boss can be a tough but rewarding experience. Numerous challenges face new entrepreneurs, especially with current economic conditions. Still, the thought of going to work each day and performing tasks for someone else is not fulfilling for the entrepreneurial mind, and as such, those individuals are driven to embark on their own personal business endeavors.
If the prospect of starting your own business excites you, this list of entrepreneurial habits should motivate you to start writing your business plan today.
It’s important to note, however, that there is no magic wand that will create overnight success. (After all, even the luckiest lottery winners will see their fortunes evaporate without a clear plan.)
For those who are dedicated to succeeding and are prepared to outwork and out-strategize their competition, the following list will separate the entrepreneurs from the want-trepreneurs.
- DEVELOP STRONG WORK ETHIC
It’s been said that an entrepreneur would rather work 80 hours a week for themselves to avoid working 40 hours for someone else. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit but plan on working only eight hours a day, success will quickly evade you. As a business owner – for better or worse – an eight hour workday is considered part time. Owning a business requires developing a strong work ethic, relentless dedication, and time management skills so you’re fully committed to planning your work and then working your plan.
- STAY ORGANIZED
Getting organized (and then staying organized!) is a crucial step to creating success. In this day and age, the faster you can move, the more successful you can become. If you can’t locate files quickly on your computer or phone, if you misplace important corporate documents or can’t pinpoint the last place you saw your marketing leads, if you lose your payroll files or misplace the keys to your filing cabinet daily, you’re creating chaos that results in low performance workdays.
- TAKE ACTION
In life, there are talkers and there are doers. Entrepreneurs act and move fast. That’s not to say you should be careless with your responsibilities, but rather that decisions will come more easily the more comfortable you get in your role as a leader. Furthermore, as you develop into a high-performance person who takes action in life, you will have less tolerance for people who are all talk and no action. Build your circle with people who encourage and inspire positive action in your life.
- SEEK ENDLESS IMPROVEMENT
It is well known that perfection is the enemy of progress. If you are waiting for the perfect time to launch your business, it will never come. If you are expecting your business or employees to always be perfect, just keep dreaming. At the same time, stagnation will put you on the fast track to failure. The smart entrepreneur balances this by focusing on continuous improvement – not perfection – for themselves, their company, and their team.
- BUILD A GREAT TEAM
The most important rule for building the team is selling the dream. Even the most seasoned entrepreneurs can’t achieve success without being supported by a team of people who complement their skills. Employing people who share your vision is a vital component in any business, and being able to clearly communicate that vision is among the most important skills an entrepreneur can possess. And once the team is built, know how to keep them motivated and inspired to achieve ultimate success (hint: start with #9 on this list).
- PRACTICE DIPLOMACY
Diplomacy is the art of progressing an idea or opinion without unnecessarily upsetting or unleashing an argument or conflict. Diplomacy falls under the ability to activate your charm to express your opinion, while being understanding of another person’s point of view. This skill is often overlooked by those who want to rule with an iron fist, often creating an environment no one wants to be part of. Don’t be afraid to listen to feedback from team members and business associates and to give others the benefit of the doubt.
- NEVER SHOW FEAR
If you’re going to lead an organization, whether large or small, no matter the industry, there’s going to be a lot of pressure and unexpected obstacles. But a wise entrepreneur never lets a crisis go by without taking care of business. When challenges occur and everyone else is panicking, the CEO stays calm. Calm, cool, and collected wins the race – and wins the respect of your team members and associates. Your team depends on you to lead, so lead with confidence.
- BE A STUDENT OF HUMAN MOVES
The business world is brutal and (in many cases) the only thing that matters to nearly all the people you will deal with is how they can take your cash and try to make it their cash. Never just believe what a person is saying to your face. Always ask yourself why they are saying it and what they are hoping to gain from it. And always, always get it in writing. Understanding the motivations of human behavior can be a true game changer as an entrepreneur.
- SHARE THE WEALTH
When you build a team, it’s imperative that you ensure everyone makes money. This is a very simple concept that so few business owners ever consider. When everyone in the organization makes money, the team will grow, and when the team grows, the money grows with it. Your employees will be happier, you won’t have to stress over high turnover rates, and you will be investing in the backbone of your company. As a business owner, taking a small piece of a huge pie is better than taking a huge piece of a small pie.
- TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
We’ve established that entrepreneurs work long hours, often in stressful and unpredictable environments. Getting too caught up in the grind can take a massive toll on your health, and many business owners don’t take a break until they’re forced to by a health crisis. Developing healthy habits is just as valuable a business skill as anything else: eat well, exercise, and sleep on a regular schedule. These simple steps are a great start to keeping your wellbeing in check and your energy levels high to keep up with the demands of business.
- DO THE MATH
The only thing in business more valuable than profits is cash flow. A business has many moving parts: payroll, accounts receivable, accounts payable, marketing, and operations to name a few. Being able to create and understand a profit and loss statement is essential to your short term and long term financial success. Money is the lifeblood of any business, and profits are important for business success. However, being able to manage the cash flow weekly – especially in the early stages – is crucial to survival.
- SEEK KNOWLEDGE
The best entrepreneurs learn from others. Finding an intelligent, experienced advisor is a great way to learn more about your industry and, most importantly, the numerous aspects of running your own business. The perfect person to learn from is someone who has already arrived at the point where you want to go and who has a passion for helping others achieve their own goals in both business and life.