Running your own business is more than just a job or a career. It’s a way of life. It’s a calling. Entrepreneurship has no overtime. It has no set working hours. There’s no course of Continuing Professional Development. And getting it right involves keeping a lot of plates spinning at any given time. Entrepreneurs can never afford to take their eyes off the prize, rest on their laurels or take their team for granted. They need to constantly be on standby (even though they also need to take care to switch off every once in a while to reduce their risk of burning out) because they never know when their next great business idea will come from. They are always accountable and can never afford to doze off in the proverbial back seat.
Being an entrepreneur means that you are in a near-constant state of evolution and self-reflection. It’s a journey unlike any other where there’s always a formative learning experience just around the corner. As such, there are some things that no entrepreneur can do too much of…
The best entrepreneurs are also voracious readers. Warren Buffet for example, reads 500 pages a day and Bill Gates estimates that he reads at least 50 books a year. Great entrepreneurs never stop learning both within and outside of their fields of expertise.
Struggle to get that much reading done. Never underestimate the power of audiobooks and podcasts. They can be a great accompaniment to your commute or your lunch break.
Many entrepreneurs (especially nascent entrepreneurs) love nothing more than rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty. Yet, as satisfying as it can be mucking in with your employees, be wary of spending too much time out of your office. Planning and strategy are essential for sustainable success and growth… And this can be hard to do from the coalface!
Making costs more transparent and manageable
Costs are an inevitable part of doing business. Yet, while under-investment can be crippling, it’s essential to keep overhead costs transparent and manageable. No matter what you do, there are usually some ways to keep costs manageable from integrating your satellite billing to using cloud based software and storage solutions as opposed to physical servers. Neglect this and it can lead to a significant strain on your cash flow which can bottleneck your performance and growth.
Keeping an eye on the competition
As important as it is to keep an eye on your own work and your own progress, fail to keep an eye on your competitors at your peril. Competitor analysis is not just a one-and -done that helps you to determine the viability of your startup. It’s an ongoing process which helps you to get the upper hand on competitors by putting your own spin on things they’re doing well while capitalizing on opportunities they miss or shortcomings in their operations.
Having a life outside of your business
Finally, if you’re to keep yourself on the right side of a nervous breakdown, it’s essential to maintain a healthy and happy life outside of your business. Make sure that you see your friends, spend quality time with your partner and kids, and make sure that you have some alone time in which to relax, reflect and meditate.
Keep all 5 of these plates spinning and you’ll be a happier, healthier and more successful entrepreneur!