Few things are so freeing as the ability to be your own boss! According to a study done by the Kauffman Foundation, approximately 500,000 adults become new entrepreneurs each month. Though the number might seem large, it’s important to remember that not all of these entrepreneurs will make it in the long term. The few who do make it have usually implemented a series of positive habits that they stick with consistently.
If you are just beginning your journey as an entrepreneur or are thinking about becoming one, you should consider a few things before you make such an important decision. The most successful entrepreneurs don’t make it to the top for nothing, and this list will cover some of the areas that are integral to the success of some of the greatest entrepreneurs:
1. Don’t Forget Your Dream
It might sound a little overrated or redundant to mention, but this is by far one of the most important aspects for any entrepreneur. You should never lose sight of the dream that got your idea off the ground initially. Your dream is the intangible substance that will keep your business glued together at the best of times and the worst of times. Catch the Charles Dickens reference?
2. Keeping Organized
Organization might not be your forte, in fact, it tends to be very few people’s strongest point. By using apps like RescueTime or Calengoo, you can increase your productivity by streamlining and perfecting your schedule. Organization will allow you to get more done in less time, thereby opening up your schedule for either more activity or more “Me-Time”.
3. See the Good in Others
In Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People, one of the best points he makes is that out of all the successful people he studied, he found a common characteristic: the entrepreneurs who saw the best attributes a teammate or employee had and cultivated it were often the most successful. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you or better than you at something and learn how to utilize that.
4. Start Your Day Early
Most of us know the early bird gets the worm, but few actually put it to action. By getting your day started earlier, and yes, sleeping just a wee bit less, you are far more likely to get everything done that you wanted to than you would if you slept in. In the business world, time holds some of the greatest importance. Apple CEO Tim Cook is usually at the gym by 5am!
5. Don’t Let Working From Home Make You Lazy
This is possibly one of the easiest traps to fall into if you’re new to the entrepreneurship world. Working at home often leads to lackadaisical habits and procrastination, which can be curbed with self-awareness and discipline. One of the benefits of becoming an entrepreneur is the ability to stay at home if your niche permits it. The path to success is not an easy one. If you slowly trudge about your house and find excuses to focus on unproductive things during your working hours, you won’t go too far as a business owner.
6. Know When to Take a Break
Hugely important to the creative process and an individual’s overall success, knowing when to take a break is essential. There are cognitive benefits to taking a break and getting a little playtime in, whether that is going on a hike, playing with your dog, or maybe even going on a date with your spouse. According to a study done by Dr. Gwen Dewar, play encourages creative problem solving, improves memory, stimulates the growth of the cerebral cortex and much much more!
7. Research The Hell Out of Data
Make sure that the product or service you are offering is better than that of your competition through research, research and more research! Never stop researching and always do what you can to stay ahead of the game because data is now available to use for small businesses and organizations. Understanding your data can help you tailor your products and services to fit your consumers, and according to an Infographic by UAB, South Carolina based Twiddy & Company Realtors were able to cut their costs by 15% thanks to a better understanding of their customer data.
8. Know Your Niche and Become an Industry Guru
Know and understand your niche on a level that shows you have gone above and beyond your competition. Depending on your area of expertise, you might have a lot of competition and need to find a way to set yourself apart. Writing articles or eBooks, giving talks and becoming more involved in your industry will get your name and your business in the public eye. People tend to gravitate towards those who exude confidence (the non-pretentious kind) and you will naturally do this by becoming an expert in your niche.
9. Be Familiar With Your Target Customer Base
An entrepreneur who doesn’t know their target demographic is like a participant in a game of darts who doesn’t aim for the dartboard. In other words, a business that hasn’t narrowed down its demographic is a business that doesn’t know who it’s trying to market to. Every business owner should recognize the importance of knowing who your target customer is. According to Business In Blue Jeans CEO and author Susan Baroncini-Moe, a helpful practice is creating a profile of your ideal customer, being as specific as possible.