Being an entrepreneur is no walk in the park. Sure, it’s totally worth it if you value your autonomy and you want to build up something that not only provides you with an income, but with something that makes you happy and is yours to pass on, but it’s hard. You have to work long hours, make tough decisions and always be looking at new ways to make your company bigger and better; it isn't easy.
If you want to be successful as a business owner, then, there are certain things that you need to do and keep doing until the day you hang up your entrepreneurial boots. Here are the most important:
As an entrepreneur, you simply cannot afford to stop innovating. No matter how successful your business is now, you can’t expect it to stay that way without creating bigger and better products or vastly improved services; if you don’t, you can bet your bottom dollar that the competition will!
Hand in hand with innovation are ideas, and that means that love it or loathe it, you’re going to need to hold regular brainstorming sessions, both alone and with your employees if you want to get and stay ahead.
It should go without saying, that if you want your business to be successful, you need to keep improving, and that applies not only to your products and services as mentioned above), but also to your accounting, cash flow, HR and yourself!
If you’re an entrepreneur and you run a business, chances are that you already consider yourself a pretty good leader, but the thing is, it’s all too easy to get into a comfortable pattern where you start relying too heavily on your staff, letting your role as a leader slide. It’s no bad thing to give your employees more autonomy over their work, but if they don’t have a firm hand guiding the way, then chances are things may start to slip and your business will suffer as a result.
Everyone and I mean everyone, even if you’re the owner of a multi-national business making millions of dollars a year, needs to keep learning. Whether that means getting your MBA in management online or simply brushing up on the important and always-evolving Google latest SEO techniques to draw in more customers, it is a vital step in ensuring that you stay ahead of the game and come up with ideas that are more innovative and more successful than the competition’s.
Looking For Inspiration
When you’re an entrepreneur working long hours, trying to do ten different things at once, while leading a team and attempting to be the perfect boss, it can be so easy to become bored and uninspired with your work, but you should fight against this by always looking for new sources of inspiration if you don’t want to lead a miserable working life or see everything you've built crumble. How? By always being on the lookout for inspiration, whether it comes in the form of ideas or ways your business can help more people. Inspiration is what will see you through those tough times, for sure!
One thing that you can’t afford not to do if you run a business is to automate as many processes as possible. There are lots of apps and pieces of software currently available that will allow you to automate everything from compensation to various aspects of production, but there are also a lot of things that can’t yet be innovated - with time, that is likely to change, which is why you need to stay on your toes and always keep abreast of the latest automation tools, utilizing them when you can, to save both time and money.
If you don’t measure the performance of your business and your employees, then you don't know what is working well and what could be improved. If you don’t know that, then you’ll end up running an ineffective, inefficient business which is easily beaten by the competition. I'm sure that’s the last thing you’d want, so make it a point to implement performance measurement into every aspect of your business all of the time.
Honing Your Craft
As an entrepreneur, your craft is entrepreneurship and this a fast moving craft with constant innovations and a never-ending stream of new techniques that can be employed to increase effectiveness; you should never stop using them and honing your craft until you are the ultimate entrepreneur.
This is a really tough one for some entrepreneurs, but it is also a very important one. If you want to make the most of your unique skills as an entrepreneur - the things that make you great at running a successful business - you need to delegate the smaller tasks- things like admin and payroll - to others. It might not be easy to hand over control, especially if you've been doing something single-handedly for so long, but doing so will make the best use of your time and resources. Once you start delegating, you should keep doing so where possible, concentrating your efforts on the big stuff.
Being There For Your Employees
It doesn't matter what you do - your employees are your business’ biggest and most important asset, and as such, you should absolutely never stop helping them out, whether it’s by sorting out a dispute, giving them time off to look after a sick relative, or simply lending them an ear when they’re having a problem. If you take care of your staff, they will always do right by your business.
Motivating Your Team
As well as being there for your employees when you need them, you should never stop providing your staff with the positive motivation they need to work harder, faster and smarter. If you "incentivize" your staff with bonuses, treats and praise, then they will work harder, and they will enjoy working for you, which means they’re likely to stick around for the long term and and be almost as invested in your business as you are. This can only ever be a positive thing.
Planning For The Future
As an entrepreneur, you should know better than anyone that planning for the future is important. If you don’t have any financial projections, business plans or ideas for the future, then you are stagnating, and you’ll find it a whole lot harder to run your company effectively and achieve success.
Building A Community Around Your Brand
As a business, your brand is hugely important to you. It tells people what you are about and persuades them to choose you over the competition. As such, it is of vital importance that you not only keep working on your brand, but that you get people involved with it on as many platforms as possible, and that you never stop reaching out to your target audience.
It should go without saying that, if you want to be a success in business, you can’t stop marketing your stuff, even for one second. To do so would be to let the competition get ahead of you and the name of your brand be forgotten!
Although you’ll face a lot of challenges in your time as an entrepreneur, if you are determined and you never stop doing the things in this post, you’ll stand a better chance than most of your competitors of not only staying in the game and building up a truly successful business, but also of keeping your zest for the work too!
By Michael J Schiemer