It's not easy to start (or run!) a business.
Many factors compete for your time and attention. Unexpected storms dampen passion or erode your resiliency. And then there are your competitors, who often have a jump on your best ideas.
The best entrepreneurs master a broad set of skills to manage obstacles that arise each day. While you need expertise and focus to succeed in your business, you'll also need to nurture these four practical skills:
In business, things change quickly.
The smartest people in business are those who grow and evolve. What works today might not work tomorrow, so to stay competitive, you need to keep a few steps ahead in the game. Be flexible and be willing to change your strategy. This requires ambition, strategic planning, and creativity.
How do you keep those a priority? By embracing change!
If you always do the same thing, you won't enjoy greater results. Be proactive about enriching your life with new experiences, expanded networks, and unique learning experiences. This may be as simple as talking to customers, delegating your areas of weakness, or signing up for a community course. Each experience can open doors to opportunities, or open your eyes to possibilities you hadn't previously considered.
If you don't manage your time, your time will manage you.
Time management is the art of telling your minutes where you want them to go, and this requires two things: self-reflection, and the ability to say no. When you're the leader of a business, there will be many demands on your time. People will constantly ask you for input, attendance, or leadership in areas that can overwhelm and distract.
How can you manage time well? Block out calendar segments where you can't be interrupted or double-booked.
Hold firm boundaries: end meetings on time, set timers during phone calls, and refuse to multitask (when possible). Define your priorities, give focus to individual tasks, and use laser focus on accomplishing the very next thing, and you will be one step closer to achieving your big-picture goals.
Nothing works if cash doesn't flow.
No matter how solid the idea, success is doomed without the ability to raise, manage, and generate money.
As a business owner, you must create (and stick with) a budget, keep up on bills and expenses, and effectively invest in the right areas. If this seems overwhelming, consider taking a class, finding a professional mentor, or hiring an accountant to keep you on track. This is a small investment that can save you a load of sweat (and cash) while you're growing your business.
A Thick Skin
Growing as a leader is an exercise in rejection.
Investors will pass, people will criticize, and team members will leave. To be the best in your field, you'll have to learn from mistakes – and from criticism. If you let failures get you down, your business will never succeed.
Instead, view each disappointment as a chance to learn about people or to grow your courage. Be kind to yourself when others aren't, and remember, you've only truly failed if you decide to quit! You can't succeed without a few risks.
Seize the Day
Killing it as an entrepreneur isn't easy.
But when you are flexible, courageous, and intentional, the odds tilt in your favor! Start with small improvements so you can seize the day and get the job done.