1Entrepreneurs’ work style is crazy, yet full of passion. Can you guess their success formula? Hard work? Dedication? Passion? Yes, all cumulatively, but smart entrepreneurs work with better productivity. It’s the way to their success.
Growing as an entrepreneur, especially after you have been used to a steady pay, company-paid health insurance, and a retirement savings program can be a bit scary. And you would not do a commitment to this if you don’t have a strong passion for your product, service and for being out on your own, as well as a willingness to take risks. You still have so much to comprehend about business operations, but if you’re engaged, fair enough for now.
To help you sidestep some of the common pitfalls, here are ten productivity tips for new entrepreneurs:
1. Cultivate Your Business Strategy
Before you launched, you put together at least an informal business plan. You set goals for where you wanted to be at certain benchmark points, and you listed the things to be done to get there. Now that you are a few months or more into your launch, it’s time to revisit that plan. You have a better “feel” for things, and you may need to modify. You should also think about formalizing the document so that when the time comes, you have something to show would-be investors.
2. Financial End of the Business
Initially, things go smoothly. You have a record of all of your start-up costs (these till be tax-deductible), and you are keeping a record of all of your monthly expenses – production costs, marketing, supplies, etc. You are also tracking all of your sales and the gross income from those. If you are still doing this by hand, stop. Get a basic accounting software package, and get all of this streamlined. You won’t need anything fancy and complex, but you probably will in the future. Most of them automatically prepare your tax returns too – a huge time saver.
In the early phase, marketing acts as one of the most vibrant segments of your business activities. Initially, you barely have industry connections. You may not have direct contracts. You immediately need initial business and referrals. You need to get your voice out there, and build relationships.
If you have not formed a comprehensive marketing maneuvering, you need one now. Is your website full of authoritative, informative pages? Are you embracing customer reviews and referrals? What about PPC and display advertising? Does it have a place on the annual budget? Are your physical stores (if you have) getting enough foot traffic? Hope you’ve gone through maps listing and optimization.
“Everyone can tell you the risk. An entrepreneur can see the reward.” – Robert Kiyosaki
4. Legal Reflections
You of course have your business registered with local, state, and federal entities. But there are other legal considerations as well. Depending upon your product or service, do you need liability insurance and statements of indemnification; if your business involves contracts with clients, are they clean, clear and tight? You need an attorney to cover all the bases, so don’t scrimp on finding and using a good one.
5. Time Management
This can become a big issue and really hurt productivity if you are not very careful. Working on your own, especially with a home office, means that your hours are flexible, of course, but they cannot be “loose.” And you cannot hop from one activity to the next and back again, taking any interruptions as they come along.
You need to block out chunks of time for your tasks, and stick to those as much as possible. If you decide that email correspondence will happen from 12-1 every day, then that’s when it happens. Let your answering machine get your calls if you are deep into a project. Mapping every day according to an agenda keeps you on-task and focused.
6. Team Meetings
This is offbeat “killer” for productivity. If you have a trio, meet on a regularly scheduled base. And keep those meetings brief and to the point. Have an agenda, reach what must be covered, and close it out.
7. Sales Meetings and Presentations
If you are an e-commerce B2C retailer business, then you will be involved in sales presentations to dormant customers, except those that are done online, through your marketing campaigns. If you do have sales appointments, however, go in with a practiced presentation that is short and to the point. Hark more than you talk, value questions, and don’t be pushy, no matter how desperate you are for an order confirmation. Endure “no” or “I’ll think about it” with a smile, and leave the opportunity open for future conversation
8. Fine Tune Your Networking
Whether your networking is all online or a combination of online and on-the-ground, join as many networking groups as possible. You’ll learn a lot from the veterans, you’ll make great contacts, and your brand will be spread just that much more.
9. Develop an Elevator Pitch
Write one, practice it until it comes out naturally, and you will be ready for any introduction or conversation that comes around to the question, “What do you do?” Your pitch should be 30-seconds long at most, should be creative and delivered with enthusiasm, and followed by the handing over of a business card. You’ll use this at weddings, parties, conferences, and at bars – any place where you will come into contact with strangers. There are a lot of online sites as resources for pitch creation – use them to craft a truly engaging one.
“Entrepreneurship is neither a science nor an art. It is a practice.” – Peter Drucker
10. Guard Your Health
Operating your own business means crazy long hours, at least in the commencement, and it’s obvious to skip routines, exercise, a mode to missing meals or, worse, eating way too much fast food. You have to carry this in mind always: Who will run the business if you are sick or emotionally exhausted?
You shouldn’t do hectic work hours taking a toll on your health. Instead, you should aim for:
- Exercising daily at least thirty minutes
- Quit smoking
- Proper sleep
- Eating fruits and vegetables daily
- Avoid distracting useless data
- Disrupt unhealthy habits
- Learn the art of applying a proper work-life balance
- Take regular breaks
- Enjoy the moment
Some leaders try to do more than they should. Are you one of those? Do you like to delegate tasks and only keep an eye on the entire process? Or are you involved in every single activity happening out there? If so, what’s your productivity formula?