As business owners and C-level executives, it’s common for what was once our passion to slowly become our prison. We have to make a conscious effort to break through our daily habits of complacency and reexamine the fundamentals that got us to where we are. At the same time, we need to recognize that what got us where we are won’t get us to where we want to go.
Through my experience in business and with my clients over the years, I have come up with concrete action steps you can take to rebuild your muscle memory and achieve entrepreneurial success. Look at this advice as a way of rebuilding your muscle memory.
The ideas presented here may seem simple, but they are not. They will require you to change your routine and become uncomfortable. It’s good to get out of your comfort zone every now and then.
Use what makes sense right now. Study the list each month to pick the next fundamental to incorporate change into your business and experience the growth you have been looking for. Or, pick one each day and use it to create change within your organization. Remember: It takes 21 days to break a habit and form a new one.
- Assess Your Willingness
There is the one question you need to ask yourself if you are going to start your own company: Are you an entrepreneur or not?
The answer is simply Yes or No. Maybe is not an answer. There is no middle ground. You can have entrepreneurial tendencies, but until you own a company, you are not an entrepreneur. If you have the willingness to take risks and get this thing started, keep reading. You WILL own a company!
ACTION ITEM: Commit to spending 15 minutes a day building your plan and putting your vision on paper. From this, you will gain a client or two. This timeline will be part of your business plan. Start building your dream, your vision and your freedom. As you grow, you will know when it’s time to leave your current job and continue full time on your own.
- Determine Your Unique Ability
We’re all good at many things, but we each have one or two very unique abilities. Dig deep to discover and understand what yours are. Don’t wander through categories. You are great at some things, good at others, okay at a few, and even completely incompetent at a couple. Take the time to figure out what uniquely exceptional skill you have that separates you from the pack. This is where you should be spending 80 percent of your time. Delegate the rest to others and build from there.
ACTION ITEM: Take 15 minutes each day to determine and articulate your unique ability. Don’t stop until you’re done. Look for thoughts and opinions from people you respect, including colleagues, friends and family.
- Make a Business Out of Being Yourself
It’s easy to wear a mask in business. We all do it. Corporate America demands this of you. But, as an entrepreneur, you can play the game while being yourself. You will have more fun and feel less constricted.
ACTION ITEM: Stretch yourself to find your voice in every situation. Be heard because of the value you bring to the table.
- Don’t Take No for an Answer
Many of us have amazing ideas, but we don’t act on them. Nothing is worse than remembering a great idea you had years ago when you see that someone else had the same idea and made millions on it. What is the difference between you and that guy? That person had faith in themselves – and their killer idea – and took ACTION. You can do the same. So, do it!
ACTION ITEM: Take action! The idea that has been eating at you for days, months, years, deserves a shot. Do something today – talk to someone, make notes, sketch it out – to keep that idea alive and moving forward toward reality.
- Project the Future: Beware of Disruptors
When we look back, we see some of the disruptors that destroyed companies and forever shifted industries. Amazon destroyed Borders. Nexflix destroyed Blockbuster. Uber forever changed the taxi industry. The list goes on and on.
The Borders, Blockbusters and cab companies failed to see who was behind them and project change in their industries. You always have to be projecting, not only what your numbers are going to look like in your company, but who and what can put you out of business. The key is to constantly adjust and always be innovative.
ACTION ITEM: Take a pen to paper (or a finger to your notes app) and start writing down how you would put yourself and your company out of business. At every moment, assume that there is a group of people sitting in a room thinking about how there is another way – an easier, cheaper, more efficient way – to do YOUR business. Don’t allow yourself to be made extinct.
As a wise (but sadly anonymous) person said: Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.
Thinking BIG starts with making SMALL shifts in your execution and your mindset. Don’t look back and wish you had done more.
Start today. Grow today. Take action today. Think BIG today!
Next month: Five more tips and action items for entrepreneurial success.