So, what is it that successful entrepreneurs do differently that gives them the edge? Well, they undoubtedly work harder than most, but as that alone will not guarantee success, there must be more. We therefore look at seven savvy strategies practiced by top achievers which could also increase your chances of rising to the top.
- They use time wisely
Many successful entrepreneurs say that waking up early works for them, providing vital extra time to devise their game plan for the day, and get ahead of the crowd. You may also find that this could give you the advantage you need, as research suggests that your willpower is at its strongest in the morning, depleting throughout the day. So, rising with the lark could help you make full use of your determination to succeed. However, whether you are a morning person or a night owl, it pays to know at what time of day you are most productive and map your day accordingly. Be sure to schedule more challenging tasks, such as networking and promoting your business, for when you are firing on full cylinders, while easier tasks, such as emails, can be completed when you are on auto pilot. After all, there is no point fighting nature, when you can make it work for you.
- They seize the moment
The truly successful entrepreneur seizes the moment and never misses an opportunity to achieve their goals. While the importance of goal-setting is something few entrepreneurs worth their salt dispute, it is easy for most mere mortals to let distractions, interruptions and sheer workload get in the way. So, to increase your chances of achieving your goals, take a leaf from the book of top entrepreneurs by practising if-then planning. This is a method whereby you decide in advance just when and where you will take action to achieve your goals, in the form of ‘If X happens, then I will do Y’. For example, ‘If it is 9.00am on a working day, I will contact four potential new customers by midday’. As this has been found to increase your chance of reaching your goals by up to 300%, it could be the most effective small change you make to achieve success.
- They never stop learning
The importance of lifelong learning is something successful entrepreneurs embrace to stay ahead in the competitive world of business. It is a mistake to think you just can’t spare the time to learn, as it is an investment in your future, and there are many options which will fit around your busy workload. For example, learning from those who have succeeded in your field before you provides invaluable on-the-job training, so finding yourself a good mentor is a must if you want to take the fast-track to success. It is also a wise move to regularly update your skills and build on them with relevant training, which can easily be achieved with flexible online courses, such as those offered by entrepreneurship training organisation LEO.
- They know how to focus
Whatever they do, successful entrepreneurs invariably give 100% commitment and know how to keep focused. Being able to block out distractions and prioritise the most important tasks can play a major part in maximising your productivity, and this is something successful entrepreneurs master. In fact, more successful people may also have a different way of focusing on their goals. Research suggests that those who focus more on how far they have yet to go to achieve their goals (to-go thinking) become better motivated to actually reach those goals than those who focus too much on how far they have come (to-date thinking). So, the old adage ‘keep your eyes on the prize’ really does hold true here.
- They look after themselves
Successful entrepreneurs know that staying healthy is vital if you want to maintain a healthy business. So, when the workload is heavy, don’t be tempted to spend less time on looking after yourself, as this would be counter-productive. It’s therefore worth adding a few healthy habits to your routine, such as a regular exercise regime, but when time is too tight, you can still make small changes. If you spend most of your day sitting, stand up, stretch, move around and take 10 deep breaths at least every hour. Not only can this improve your health, but such micro-breaks and oxygen boosts to the brain will help increase your productivity. Likewise, to get the best from your body, you need to feed it well – successful entrepreneurs certainly do. So, never skip a meal – if time is short, just try meeting your business contacts for lunch.
- They believe in themselves
It may come as no great surprise that successful entrepreneurs believe in themselves. Indeed, the powerful part self-belief plays in success is perfectly illustrated by the famous quote from Henry Ford, ‘Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right’. Nevertheless, believing in yourself through thick and thin can be easier said than done, but if this does not come naturally, you can condition yourself to have more self-belief, for example by reminding yourself of past wins and practising positive self-talk. However, it is vital not to underestimate how difficult it will be to achieve your goals. The key here is to be a realistic optimistic and recognise that success does not come easily, as this will make you more determined to work hard and persist when times are tough.
- They see the bigger picture
In truth, there are many little things that successful people do differently and we can only really touch the tip of the iceberg here. However, perhaps one thing that a lot of successful entrepreneurs have in common is that they see the bigger picture and recognise that it is not just all about them. Helping others to achieve success and showing gratitude to those who help you is highly rewarding and has benefitted many top entrepreneurs. In fact, expressing gratitude has also been found to enhance your self-esteem, which is an essential element in ensuring that you give your best performance. It can also help increase your resilience, which will undoubtedly help you persevere when you hit difficulties. In fact, research has proven that there are many, many benefits to expressing gratitude – so, you’d be mad not to!
It is therefore fair to say that with a heavy dose of hard work we all have it in us to excel as entrepreneurs, but it might just take a shift in your attitude and a few tweaks to your daily routine for big success to come knocking at your door.