Whether you are a seasoned entrepreneur or a budding one, how a business is run is important. In fact, how it is run can determine whether your business will sink or prosper. I’ve talked briefly about how the entrepreneur lifestyle can seem glamorous. How some people are a little jealous that a good portion of us are our own boss.
But the glamorous aspect of the entrepreneurial world is behind a very thin veil. Pulling it back reveals the sheer difficulty and trials that await ahead.
For sure, an entrepreneurial lifestyle can be liberating. Many people have talked on and on about the laptop lifestyle. Not to mention how they work a few hours a day, some even less. But what people don’t see is what it took to get to that point.
Gary Vaynerchuk has talked about extensively how he works seventeen hours a day and how many who have made it big did the same thing too.
That fact doesn’t phase me.
But I’m not about to work a seventeen hour work day every day. I’ve always been of the mind that there is an easier way around things. Furthermore that this easier route wouldn’t undermine the quality of the hustle.
It’ll still be a slog, but the practices that I want to share with you will save time. I’ve spent a lot of time working on these and I believe they are solid and can work when used properly. Furthermore, these strategies can provide a clearer understanding of the amount of upfront work required to run a business. Just in case you are thinking of running a business good and proper.
Start With Foundation: Schedule
If you talk about it, it’s a dream. If you envision it, it’s possible. But if you schedule it, it’s real! — Anonymous
If you’ve been paying attention to my vlogs, I’ve been talking a little about a schedule in my earlier videos. I’ve remarked several times how I’m “behind on schedule”, yet I make no quick effort to constantly meet it.
You might think that’s honestly pretty bad. Me being constantly behind schedule would hurt myself as someone who is meant to be productive. I am running a business after all. But what I say though is this:
Use a schedule to determine how you work.
I don’t talk much about my workflow and work ethic, however, I spend a lot of time and focus on one task at a time. True I have times for when I should be doing things but this schedule is very loose. This works very well for me as I understand how I work.
I need a structure that’s flexible and isn’t restricted to specific times. But at the same time I also need guidance on what I want to be working on.
So a schedule for me is one that has sometimes (to boost my efficiency), and general activities I want to be doing during those hours. If I follow my schedule to the T then awesome. If not, I won’t beat myself up about it.
It’s important to have a schedule for this particular reason. You can approach it in, however, way you like. Its honestly a matter of figuring out how you work and I believe a schedule can help you get there.
If you’re not in the mood to set up precise times for everything you can consider some alternatives. You can consider a to-do list and/or jot some items down on post-it notes. Either way you need to have some kind of workflow.
Having some kind of structure and flow to your work can improve your productivity as you’re not always thinking about what to do next. This is the case with my own work. For you, you may find another reason.
Build From There: Have Connected Goals And Expectations
Dreams don’t come true. Goals do. — Anonymous
The second thing is the building of goals and expectations. This is a cake walk when there is only you. Devote some time to set yourself some goals, and maybe a weekly expectation as well. Better yet get a co-worker or another entrepreneur to hold you accountable. Having someone that is holding you accountable can help tremendously.
This step actually gets tricky if there are several people working under or with you. The upside is these people can be your accountability group. But at the same time, I believe it’s important for there to be consistency across the board.
The big thing is that there is an understanding across the board and that every person has their role. By all means, share the entire vision of the company’s goals. When people are united under a common goal, productivity will only get better. For so many companies, this is in short supply and it only leads to workers and management feeling disconnected.
When it comes to goals, in general, you want them to be SMART, but also to have a reason behind them. A goal can be SMART but at the same time, it could be an utter waste of time.
To have a reason, it’s really a matter of asking yourself…
Why you are doing this?
What is compelling you to complete this goal?
What sort of incentive do you have that’ll drive you to complete this goal?
You’ll know if the reason isn’t good enough. You won’t sound convinced nor convincing to others if isn’t good enough.
With regards to groups it’s a matter of getting them all onboard so again it needs to align with everyone’s common interests
Sharpen Your Saw: Grow Yourself
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe. — Abraham Lincoln
Benjamin Hardy said it best:
“When people are better than you it means they have a sharper saw than you.”
So devote time to grow yourself. Whether that in your craft, your business, or your own life. Regardless, enriching it can only improve you and how you operate your business.
I’ve said in the past that your business is an extension of yourself. A business only performs as great as the person it’s attached to.
If you fill your mind with crap, you’ll have a crappy business.
If you fill your mind with a sense of humbleness, quality, and insight, you’ll have a great and growing business.
The difficulty of growing a business rests in how mentally prepared you are and the habits that back you up.
How you can do that is taking the time to reflect. Take some pauses here and there in your work. Devote some time to reading, commenting, and contributing on social media. Better yet, reach out to people and make connections.
Those sorts of things don’t have anything to do with your business but I know from experience focusing on work, work, and work will not bring you massive success. I’ve gotten this far due to the connections I’ve made and the time I’ve spent reading.
Hitting The Top: Helping Others
The last best practice I believe people will omit or feel hesitant about to some extent. Of course, I mean helping other people, your customers. But I’d even go as far as helping your competition as well.
The hesitation would stem from the assisting the competition. Helping your competition doesn’t make a lot of business sense. You want more piece of the pie. But I think it’s that way of thinking that destroys the nature of the business.
By all means, there should be some level of rivalry, but more of a friendly rivalry. Think of your competition as a neighbour.
You know them and help them from time to time and they do the same for you.
I think in this way, it’s where innovation can spark.
Regardless you want to be devoting time towards serving other people and those around you. I’ve read a variety of different models on how to do this properly.
There is Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook strategy (also referred to as Give, Give, Give, Ask of GGGA for short), which is by far the most popular strategy out there. Mainly because it works.
However, there is another that has been formed by my writing colleague Nico Ryan. It’s called the Delivery of Free Work (tDFW). Nico talks at length about it here and here. The concept though is simple, you deliver high-quality work for free with the express purpose of showing your skills. You then follow it up with a proposal.
Essentially it’s the GGGA strategy, however, you’re giving all at once and it’s higher quality rather than smaller quality pieces over a longer period of time. Either way, doing things like that where you are giving a lot, it does make a massive difference.
The idea is all the same though, you are going out of your way to help others in an impactful and meaningful way.
All these steps help in running a business smoothly and even growing it as well.
Having a schedule can allow you to learn your work flow and get the most out of your time.
Setting goals that align you (and others) with your business goals will allow you to focus on what’s important.
Growing yourself ensure that you are regularly fine tuning yourself, your craft, and therefore your business.
And lastly by helping others, you are uplifting others along with yourself.
All of this is going to be taking some time, but it will be well worth it.
Visit Eric at EricScottBurdon.com.