- Get specific
When creating a roadmap to reach your goals, you must first know where you want to end. Successful entrepreneurs get very specific about what they want to achieve and by when. The best goals are specific, measurable, and time-bound.
Starting goal: I want to start a business that sells socks and maybe t-shirts.
Better goal: I want to start a business that sells eco-friendly socks. I want to turn a profit in the first year and be able to quit my 9-5 in 18 months.
The best goal” I want to start a company with a mission to help the environment by selling eco-friendly socks. I want to make a profit of $250,000 in the first year and be able to make a salary of $60,000 within the first 18 months of business.
The best goals also allow for flexibility as plans are guaranteed to change. Flexibility will help you quickly adapt and change direction when new obstacles arise. Being quick to respond to sudden changes will help you persist and reinvent yourself through the different stages of your entrepreneurial life.
Clear goals also help you declutter your objectives. Instead of creating a business that sells generic socks and t-shirts that hold no value to you, get clear on the problem you want to solve and the impact you want to have.
“Don’t let the noise of other people’s opinions drown out your inner voice. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” -Steve Jobs
- Mindfulness and visualization
Anyone can make a goal for themselves, but it takes work and energy to persist in achieving it. Successful people learn to focus more deeply on their goals and spend time visualizing what it would be like to achieve them. Holding space for mediation and visualization of goals allows your body to realize what success would entail. It helps you believe success is possible. Visualization enables you to align your mind with your purpose and be more effective at achieving your dreams.
- Practice gratitude
Everyone, but especially entrepreneurs, can benefit from a gratitude practice. Whether by writing it in a journal or sharing their appreciation for employees at work, gratitude helps you remember why you wanted to become an entrepreneur. And appreciating those around you who are helping make your dream come true fosters a positive work environment where everyone can thrive.
You can also share gratitude by giving back to others. Volunteering with a local organization or mentoring the next generation of entrepreneurs can be very powerful. It helps you see the bigger purpose for your life and connect with your community. Oprah, who was always giving back to her community, once said, “We were the No. 1 show for 25 years, and that’s because I lived with the intention of serving the audience.”
- Avoid perfectionism
We all know that becoming successful at anything requires dedication, skill, and some level of exceptionalism. But it in no way requires you to be perfect. The best entrepreneurs know that adapting when issues occur is way more valuable than always making the perfect decision from the start.
“Perfectionism prevents us from taking steps in our career. We think we have to be perfect, but we don’t” -Reshma Saujani, CEO of Girls Who Code.
- Live outside the comfort zone. Take risks.
Growth comes from getting out of your comfort zone and pushing yourself to do better every time you meet a goal. Successful entrepreneurs know that stepping out into the unknown is expected, although scary.
Being in new and unchartered situations can be very scary, but it’s important to remember that there is always something to learn in the unknown.
This includes taking risks. Usually, high-value ideas come with some risk. Successful entrepreneurship is about taking calculated risks built upon the organization’s strengths and a solid strategy. It’s not about reiterating the safe, tried and true methods that already exist.
“Risk more than others think is safe. Dream more than others think is practical.” Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks.
Also, remember that you’re human. As your business grows, more will need to be done, but just because you’ve always handled everything doesn’t mean that you always have to handle everything. Delegate any tasks you can, so you can spend your time working on the big picture strategy and execution of your business. When possible, hire a dedicated group of people you can trust.
- Discipline over motivation
People think there is a special recipe for success. They say things like, to be successful, I must wake up at 6 am, go for a run every day, get a promotion by the age of 25, etc. When in reality, there is no one way to become successful. So, do what works for you, but do it consistently.
Instead of waiting for motivation to strike, focus on being disciplined in your commitment to consistency. Discipline Motivation, in its most literal definition, requires you to have a desire to do something. However, discipline requires you to do something consistently, regardless of your feelings about the action.
“We don’t have to be smarter than the rest. We have to be more disciplined than the rest.” -Warren Buffet
- Get inspired
A successful businessman and coach, Jim Rohn, said you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Successful entrepreneurs make sure they spend their time with other successful entrepreneurs or people who inspire them.
Be selective about who you spend your time with. In order to find success, boundaries have to be set and enforced to ensure the people you’re around aren’t toxic or harmful people.
- Stay curious.
Entrepreneurs are typically somewhat competitive. They want to improve their skills to stay at the top of their game. Entrepreneurs consistently seek knowledge from other successful entrepreneurs and experts, but also value learning from individuals on every level of the organization’s hierarchy.
Entrepreneurs are rarely gatekeepers of information. Their love of learning and knowledge compels them to help others around them.
Learning and taking a class doesn’t always have to be about improving your skills as an entrepreneur. Take some time to have fun by immersing yourself in a new hobby or activity. As a business owner, there are times when the business has to come first, and there are times when it doesn’t. Get good at recognizing times when you can step away and live a full life. Not only will you avoid burnout, but you will come back to work refreshed and rested.