As Steven Covey’s landmark book demonstrated, successful people have a knack for distilling their success down to sustainable habits. Here are seven things entrepreneurs do to stay sharp and propel their businesses to new heights.
BECOME A BLANK SLATE
Successful small businesses know that running day-to-day operations can be all-consuming and leave little time for creativity. For this reason, they put practices and rituals in place which allow time to conjure new ideas. Make time each day/ week for “Blank Sheet Think Time,” says Mark Stevens, author of Your Marketing Sucks, and CEO of MSCO, a management and marketing firm. “Review not what is, but what ‘could be.'”
EXERCISE AND MEDITATE
Physical activity that clears your mind and relieves stress can provide a much-needed release. “As per my daily rituals, I start the day at 5:30 a.m. and work out in the gym for about 45 minutes,” says Joe Silverman, owner of New York Computer Help, a computer repair service company in NYC. “I make it a point not to exhaust myself and to leave a little left in the tank to get my engine started for the day.”
CLARIFY YOUR INTENTIONS
“Set your major goals in the context of why you want to achieve them, not just what you want to achieve,” says Karen D. Walker, president of Oneteam, Inc., a consultancy in Shelburne, VT. “Having clarity about intention will increase the quality of your decisions and will keep you going when there are bumps in the road.”
STAY IN THE LOOP — AND BRING OTHERS IN
Every morning, Silverman takes 30 minutes to read all the IT trade news sources online. He contacts all his customers, providing his own spin on all the most important stories. “This keeps my customers in the know, maintains their confidence in me and my company, and also keeps the lines of communication open,” he says.
Every evening, Jonathan Gassman, a CPA financial adviser, uses an app called Win-streak to jot down achievements from the day. After, he focuses on what he wants his wins to be for tomorrow. “This helps me stay out of the gap by looking for positive accomplishments. It puts my head in a good space,” he says.
GIVE UP CONTROL
As their business grows, successful small business owners learn to delegate tasks – even ones they like doing . Doing this allows them to focus their talents on areas that will enable the business’ continued growth. Owners who try to micromanage become a bottleneck and people around them won’t be engaged to develop good ideas on their own. They understand a key transition point is when to stop doing tasks, like developing their own web site – which can be handled better by others – so that they can focus on sales or strategic ideas to further the company.
LEAN ON OTHERS AND LET THEM LEAN ON YOU
Seasoned entrepreneurs find mentors and advisers, and they become mentors and advisers – often in reciprocal relationships. They understand the entrepreneurial mindset is different, and that they can be led astray by listening to people who don’t have the same level of passion and risk tolerance. “Everyone needs someone to broaden their thinking, bounce ideas off of or provide context,” Walker says. “Search out and minimize your blind spots.”
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