If you’re looking for a blueprint for entrepreneurial success, sadly there isn’t one. If, on the other hand, you want some solid tips on the basic goals you need to be setting for yourself and follow through on a daily basis, then keep reading!
1. Make a daily “five-to-do” list
Great leaders and goal setters in general don’t fill their plate with a thousand things that must be done before 12 pm every day. They instead focus on a smaller number of things that must be done and use that list to gauge the importance of other tasks and requests that come into their purview throughout the day. Sometimes you’ll have to swap new goals in and eliminate others. Use this list as a working blueprint (not a master) that should only be tweaked when something of more importance comes along.
2. Finish one thing at a time only, whenever possible
Multi-tasking beyond one major goal and a few small things that come up along the way is setting yourself up for disaster. Don’t be arrogant! Studies show that our still primal brains weren’t designed for “juggling”. Productivity goes down considerably with each additional complex task you try to take on.
“People always talk about multi-tasking, but if you want to get something done well, you need to give it your full attention. I typically bucket my day into tasks and I try not to move on to the next project until the first one is complete. Always see things through completion.” Olga Vidisheva, founder and CEO of Shoptiques.
3. Be an early bird
Even the “4-Hour” magnate, Tim Ferriss realized he was losing productivity by getting up at the crack of 11 am every day. Today, he still gets up rather late for a self-made millionaire at 7:30 am. But it does go to show that success comes to those who get in line the earliest. The 6:00 – 9:00 am hours can be particularly productive if you work in an office and want to avoid your staff and all the distractions and drama they tend bring in with them.
4. Think both short and long term
When you’re thinking equally about the present and future, it will benefit you as a leader in many ways. The best benefit is the ability to communicate those goals with your staff and keep them aligned with you. This allows you to set daily and weekly goals, making sure to attack those which have the most impact on success.
“Each quarter, I write my five biggest objectives for both the company and myself, and I share them company-wide. Then, I start each Monday with an executive management meeting, where we focus on the biggest priorities for the week. Finally, each morning on my long commute, I put together a daily to-do list.” Matt Straz, founder and CEO of Namely.
5. Determine to be a leader, not a parent
I didn’t include “hire the best people you can” on this list of goals because it really should go without saying. So if you’ve hired the best people, let them do their job and don’t meddle in the minutia of their jobs. Instead, toss your micromanager hat in the trash and let them be accountable for what you’ve hired them for. Spend your time on managing the big picture like creating new relationship and planning for expansion.
6. Be accountable to your own business goals
Take time (at least weekly) to examine the path you’re on and determine if a shift is needed. You may be wasting time trying to make gold out of a pile of cow dung, or performing CPR on a goose that’s been dead for a week. How will you know if you don’t take time out of your schedule to take stock in things?
“This makes it easy to recognize what’s important and drop what’s not. That way, we can be more productive when it comes to taking on the tasks and challenges that really matter.” Jamie Siminoff, CEO and chief inventor of Ring.
7. Get away from business once a day – at least!
If you already have an outside passion, this should be easy for you to execute. If you’re bound to your office chair and smartphone, you need to get your head out of your bum. Either way, being a workaholic is just as bad as being bound to a drug or alcohol habit. You need to decompress or you’ll implode! Minimum of one hour a day should be spent on something that gives you stress-free enjoyment.
Taking the time to really listen to everything is a skill that few entrepreneurs ever attain. It’s what separates the Shark Tank cast-types from the person who runs a local branch of a national pizza franchise. You can be an absent-minded, arrogant leader and still make a buck. However, the people you work with will rarely respect you, and that lack of loyalty will make it really hard for you to grow as an entrepreneur and leader. Being a listener also ensures you don’t jump head-long into projects or problems without having all the information you need to make smart leadership decisions.
“It’s surprising how much giving your full attention can boost your efficiency. Too often, we try to start solving problems before collecting all the available information. Also, whenever I speak to my team, I focus on being understood fully, rather than just saying the right thing. It’s a small distinction that makes a big difference.” Ian Siegel, co-founder and CEO of ZipRecruiter.