Many new entrepreneurs look for the “magic key to success,” thinking it has something to do with their business. In reality, the key to becoming a successful entrepreneur is in their mindset and habits. Even the best business idea can fail if the entrepreneur behind it is not adequately prepared to manage the company. By adopting just a few essential habits, entrepreneurs can set themselves up for success.
1. Make a Schedule and Keep It
One of the first things an entrepreneur must do is line up their schedule correctly and follow it. The adage has been said over and over again: time is money. It’s important to look at time as the finite resource that it is. Keeping a precise schedule will allow entrepreneurs to effectively and healthily distribute their time between their responsibilities.
At a certain point in the business’s growth, entrepreneurs must learn to evaluate each task’s ROI. During the initial stages of a startup, it’s likely that entrepreneurs are wearing many hats. However, as the business grows, they must delegate tasks to others within the organization. Determining the ROI for each task will help determine what is—and, more importantly, what isn’t—worth valuable time.
Understanding this concept will allow entrepreneurs to decide what tasks go on their calendars and what tasks should go on the calendars of their assistants or other team members. Several duties are essential to the proper functioning of a business, such as managing appointments, but should not be done by the business leader. Simple tasks like this, even if they are essential, can be completed by someone else just as, if not more efficiently.
2. Learn How to Manage Your Expenses
The ability to manage expenses is another essential skill for entrepreneurs. The main reason that businesses end up failing is money. In fact, over 80 percent of businesses fail for this reason. Although it’s normal for a young company to take some time to reach profitability because of the upfront investment required to start a business, entrepreneurs must ensure they aren’t hemorrhaging money. If a company’s spending grossly outpaces its income, it’s time to reapproach its financial strategy.
Entrepreneurs must take time to plan their expenses with steps like building a budget, creating revenue sheets, and looking at financial projections and forecasts. Not only will these tools give an entrepreneur a good idea of how their business did, but they will also allow them to determine what must be done to either correct course or promote further growth.
3. Understand and Maintain Legal Compliance
As busy as entrepreneurs can be with running a business, it’s not uncommon for them to underestimate the importance of ensuring that their business is legally compliant. Don’t cut corners when it comes to legal compliance. Compliance rules and regulations are not arbitrary; they are in place to protect both consumers and businesses. Entrepreneurs who don’t adhere to these guidelines risk facing penalties from fines to losing their business, or even jail time. It’s not worth the risk of not being compliant.
However, understanding the laws and regulations will allow entrepreneurs to understand the loopholes and gain a tactical advantage. If an entrepreneur knows the rules, they will be able to maximize their potential. Sometimes, business leaders who don’t understand the applicable regulations to the fullest extent will think they are harsher than they actually are. In reality, these regulations may offer flexibility while maintaining legality that businesses can (and should) take advantage of.
4. Keep Control of Your Emotions
Being able to manage emotions is an essential skill for any entrepreneur. As the business leader, everyone else in the organization looks to the entrepreneur for guidance. If employees see their leader is overwhelmed by their emotions and dissatisfied with their work, they will likely begin to feel the same way.
Managing emotions is also important because this ensures that an entrepreneur’s personal life will not begin to interfere with their work or vice versa. Entrepreneurs are constantly under tremendous pressure while making decisions, and they have to be in the best emotional state possible to make those decisions. If one’s emotions are left unrestrained, they might make hasty decisions that could bring the entire company crashing down.
5. Commit to Continuous Learning
Finally, successful entrepreneurs are also willing and eager to continue learning throughout their careers. Entrepreneurs can’t afford to stop learning. After all, when one stops learning, they stop growing, and stagnation is businesses’ worst enemy.
Being willing to learn represents a commitment to continuous improvement, which can take many forms—reading books, listening to podcasts, attending seminars, and more. All of these small learning opportunities prepare entrepreneurs for continued growth.
Starting a new business can be an exciting time, but it is also a stressful one. But running a business can be extremely rewarding if entrepreneurs keep an eye on their calendars, finances, applicable laws and regulations, and emotions while keeping an open mind.