Many people say you can’t teach entrepreneurship. This is partially true. Yes I do agree that in order to become a better entrepreneur you need to learn from experience. I also agree that there are plenty of lessons you can learn from those who’ve tried before you. These lessons will help you expand your knowledge and avoid common pitfalls along the way.
That said, here are seven tips for becoming a better entrepreneur.
Don’t be a perfectionist
It’s okay to strive for greatness. Everyone should aim to produce results at the highest level. That said, there’s a fine line between striving for greatness and being a perfectionist. If you need things to be perfect all the time, I have some brutally honest news for you. You are not perfect, and neither is your startup. The sooner you accept this truth, the sooner you’ll be able to get your product out to market.
The biggest asset you have as an entrepreneur is your time. Instead of wasting time tinkering with your product, adding unnecessary features, and second guessing yourself you need to let the market decide for you. As long as you can produce quality work that provides tangible value, you’ve done your job. All the extra bells and whistles is often a waste of time.
Create rules for yourself
If you want to be successful in business you need to be disciplined. So how do you keep yourself on track?
The best way to accomplish this is to set rules for yourself. Decide when you start and stop work. Eliminate distractions like your smartphone during the workday. Wake up everyday at 5:00am. These kinds of rules add structure to your life and will help you stay productive.
Read, read, read
In business and in life, knowledge is power. Obviously reading books about business can be very helpful. For example, the Lean Startup is considered by some to be the “startup bible”.
I tend to have trouble reading longer books cover to cover. One alternative is to read current events or news for at least 30-minutes a day. Apps like Apple News and Flipboard are a great way to quickly get up to speed on what’s going on in the world. As long as you’re reading your likely gaining new perspectives and expanding your mind.
Entrepreneurs lead very busy lives. Very busy. I’d wager they have more going on in their day than the typical employee. Not to mention their dynamic work environment is often conducive to constant distraction or interruption.
This makes it imperative for entrepreneurs to develop habits around staying focused and productive throughout the workday. One of the best habits to develop is to eliminate all distractions. To determine what distracts you the most I recommend putting together a “Don’t Do List” that lists all the things you shouldn’t be doing during the workday. This can include things like social media, watching tv, and browsing the web.
Once you’ve put your list together, figure out strategies to eliminate the possibility of caving into those urges. Put your smartphone on silent and on the other side of the room. Use an app like SelfControl to block certain websites. The more you can do to prevent the distraction from creeping in the better.
Keep your enemies close
By enemies I mean competitors. Before you even launch your product you should know your competition inside and out. Whether they launch a new product or make a new hire, you should be the first to know about it.
One strategy is to actually work with your competitors. Just because you’re in the same market doesn’t mean you have to compete for the same customers (especially not initially). This way you can work together while keeping a close eye on how they operate.
Stay up to date with technologies
It’s no secret that we live in the digital age. Everyday we hear about new applications and technologies that are enhancing our daily lives.
Let’s take scheduling for example. How much of you day do you spend going back and forth over email trying to find a convenient time to have a meeting? If you’re like most entrepreneurs, the answer is probably a few hours a week at least. Scheduling is such a trivial task you wouldn’t think there’s a tool out there to automate this process.
Products like calendar allow you to automate your entire schedule and rescheduling process. In addition you can get valuable insights on how you spend your time so you can make the most of it.
Whether you work in technology or not you should definitely stay up to date. There’s technology to improve almost every process in business. If you aren’t utilizing them, you aren’t operating efficiently.
Network to make friends
Regardless what industry you work in or what position you hold, it’s always beneficial to network. The problem with networking professionally is that you’re going into it with the wrong mindset. You always expect to gain something out of the connection, it’s almost transactional.
If you network to make friends (even if you’re in a professional setting) you’ll develop more authentic relationships with others. At the end of the day you want people in your network who will stick their necks out for you.
Next time you’re at a networking event, try to walk away with just one connection that you could actually see yourself becoming friends with. Don’t even bring your business cards. If you make a habit of this you’ll slowly build an immensely strong and valuable network.
The seven examples above are only a few tips that will make you a better entrepreneur. That all said, you really just need to get out there and experience it.