While anyone can start a business, successful entrepreneurs share many common traits.
Successful Entrepreneurs Multi-task
One of the most important skills a successful entrepreneur can develop is the ability to multi-task, especially if you operate a small business where your role expands beyond management. It is not unusual for a home business owner to juggle cleaning bathrooms, paying personal and company bills, and managing clients at the same time. To effectively do this, you need to build a workable plan, which will allow you to get everything you need accomplished completed while maintaining a quality operation. Add to this the complexities of employee management and possibly parenting duties and it can quickly become overwhelming without a plan. You may even feel you are multi-tasking yourself into an early grave.
The best way to become a pro at multi-tasking is to set up a schedule, allowing ample time for each activity, then sticking to the schedule as much as possible. This may mean sitting down with your family and discussing your schedule with them as well, ensuring when you need quiet time for phone calls, you get it. It may also mean letting the voice mail catch calls while you focus on meeting an important deadline or turning over some of your household duties to other family members during crunch time.
Unless your operation is already large enough to afford a personal assistant, you will need to be ultra organized. You may be surprised at how much time out of your day is wasted on looking for misplaced documents. On the other hand, a few quick tips can go a long way toward keeping you organized.
- The first step to any successful entrepreneur operation is a thoroughly thought out Business Plan, which defines your long and short term goals, and how you plan to meet them.
- Set aside ten minutes at the beginning of your workday and ten minutes at the end simply to clean up, update your "to do" list, and reflect on what you have or need accomplished.
- Practice a "touch once" mentality. Whenever possible, deal with each issue, piece of mail, or email as you come to it. The more often you "touch it", the more time you have wasted that you could have spent on more important tasks.
- Prioritize your daily tasks to better maximize your time.
- While it is important to keep certain paperwork for tax purposes and document tracking, be selective about what you keep and what you throw away. This includes your email.
- Whether it is an electronic or paper document, set up a good folder system to keep all the information you need easily accessible. For example, on your desktop, you may keep a folder for current projects and sub-folders for each of your clients. If you feel it is prudent to keep a record of past projects, set up a separate folder for closed projects and move the sub-folders to the closed project folder as the job is completed.
Whether you intend to provide a product or a service, the quality of your people skills can have a direct effect on how quickly your business grows, if at all. You will need to network with potential clients, manage personnel, deal with vendors, and effectively communicate your needs and what you have to offer in a way that others will listen. If this is not your strong point, you may want to take classes or hire someone to act as a spokesperson for your company; however, as a rule, no one can sell your business as well as you can.
Becoming a successful entrepreneur is about getting more out of life, not less. This includes family. To truly be successful, you must learn to balance your home life with your business life, ensuring that each has a fair share of your time. As you set up a plan on how to spend your day, don't forget to schedule quality time with family and friends. Not only will it help maintain healthy relationships, it will give you the mental break you need to return to work refreshed and confident in the knowledge that you have a strong support system in place.