Entrepreneurs, you don’t want to miss any of these…
There are certain elements that help companies become successful. I have studied what works, especially from the companies I have worked for as well as what does not work. Great businesses have all these elements plus more. I feel like if you Googled this, you would not find all of these things so I created this list.
If you are thinking about starting a BUSINESS and being one of the lasting successful brands, not a new hobby or passion, then ponder these things. If you know entrepreneurs, they need to learn these lessons and make full use of them.
If you want to become an entrepreneur, you need to be obsessed with your job first. Really dissecting your function, how you play into the greater system, and then begin your business education which will be partly on books and videos and mostly experience from doing.
1. Track your Time
Why does this matter?
Time is your most valuable asset. The person who earns a bunch has the same time as you do. It is what you do what your time and eventually how you leverage other people’s time to get things done.
I use a tool called Clockify now to track time and I did use Excel. My job still uses Excel for giving more details on process timing. tracking and time-based productivity metrics.
What happens if you don’t do it? you lose out on a very valuable resource and the ability to improve existing processes.
2. Invest in people
You will work with people to run your operations. It’s best to get along with them or you will have a hard time.
Jim Collins “Good to Great” is a book to look into as well as any book on dealing with people and believing in them and supporting them.
Invest in your own knowledge and EQ and invest in food relationships and nurture them.
I have spent much time contemplating business models without humans and with just computers. It’s worth contemplating. But most literally all businesses will require interaction with customers who are people.
3. Create a Diverse Workplace
Different backgrounds bring new viewpoints. Fresh ideas help to liven up existing processes. There are benefits to working with people who have similar backgrounds but there is much to learn and experience beyond your level of comfort.
Diversity and inclusion are ways to expand your business to experience other cultures and ways of doing business.
To add, encouraging collaboration and “no stupid questions” is a way to keep the conversation more open in your business.
4. Invest in SYSTEMS
What are business systems and how do they benefit your company?
Systems something (that) saves you some time energy and money. I think that’s how it goes.
Creating a system in your business will allow for a certain result to be created consistently because the inputs and the outputs are typically the same or similar.
Processes are grouped together to make something faster. Checks and balances of the system help it stay running.
Building and growing a business is exciting but often things get out of control.
Projects get put off and some customers don’t get what they want so what was once fun and exciting can become a sour chore.
Why? Because a lack of business systems is one major reason.
5. Set clear expectations throughout
Make sure roles and goals are always defined for your organization. It takes some time to create this and improve upon the descriptions but it is entirely worth it.
Everyone knows what they should be doing and questions are always welcome.
Also involves frequent check-ins from your manager (or you) to make sure you know what you are supposed to be doing. If your business is guesswork you have a problem, at least on the technician level.
Employee handbook created and enforced but also reviewed and updated as your brand grows. When you start your business, your black binder will be small but as you develop your business, it will become a resource. Your black business binder (can be any color) contains all the know-how for how to run your business and how each part of your business interacts with the other parts.
Design your business with clear goals and make it a little challenging for those who play the game. Great companies get the best out of you because their systems are designed to do so. This does not happen by chance but rather by design. Things were planned out this way.
6. Create a Clear Organizational Structure
It is important to have your hierarchy mapped out and available so you know and anyone else affiliated with your company knows Hierarchy, who you report to and who you ask questions to.
Make sure this is diagrammed because it becomes more useful in this manner with colors if possible.
At first, you will be working in all the roles but eventually, the goal would be to hire for each role created in your organizational chart. You can do this before expanding your company, like thinking way ahead on how your company would evolve.
Helps you become clear on what you are responsible for plus which roles and responsibilities are still unclaimed. It also gives any employees or partners you bring on a clear picture of what the organization should look like once it is developed a little more.
7. Communicate like a Professional
Communication and communication channel (internal) like Slack or Teams helps to develop a company.
Central software for communication and the exchange of information is one important metric for how fast your company is able to grow.
Professional communication is about respect.
History of chats for learning and reference has always been helpful for me. I also believe that professionals are great note-takers and review their notes frequently.
8. Create your UBS
UBS is your expert business system which is usually a portal that you can access digitally and is secured
It’s like a notepad for the business and history of processes, a central knowledge base, and an instruction guide. Check out Scale by David Hoffman and David Finkel for more, it will give you peace of mind and your team a clear place to access and store files.
It is a resource on what the business is about, how the business gets things done, and quite possibly a place to store meeting notes and company-related documents.
9. Obsess over Documentation
Tell the story over documents, photos, videos, and more. Everything your business stands for, how your business started, why your business is here, and everything related to how the business runs should be documented.
Inbound and outbound documentation, because without it you just have ideas and talk.
It would be much easier if you could present how your business operates or your company’s mission in a visual format so become familiar with software like Google Drawings, Lucid Chart, or Microsoft Visio.
And don’t lose your documentation.
10. Present Company Information in Different Formats
Visual aids help to convey important information.
Visual for sure has been a great outlet for me. For the longest, I was just typing up all the documents for my business but once I started making things visual it became a lot easier for me to understand what my business purpose was and it became a lot easier to explain to other people what was going on under the hood.
When I send people business-related diagrams, it’s easier for them to say “Oh I get it.”
Maybe audio recordings too would help to provide important information about how the company runs. If you can present in different visual styles and media especially training material, such as PowerPoint or videos you may find it easier to explain more difficult company concepts to others who are interested.
Documented step-by-step which takes time and patience to develop your resources.
Process flow diagrams are helpful for showing inputs and outputs.
And a verification process/quizzing to see if you understand the stages the company goes through to fulfill its core business processes. Then eventually all the others related to your role. If you are being “the entrepreneur”, you need to define and document this information.
11. Manage like a Leader, not like a Boss
Manager style, and good people as managers but not “too cool”
One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard is practical and good knowledge for managing your employees and even managing yourself better.
Goldilocks is not too cold not too hot, it’s all about being a leader and not an a-hole of a boss.
Not micro-managing but almost near lol. There’s a fine line between being an annoying manager and being a motivating and encouraging manager. And a true leader.
12. Test, test, test
I write about entrepreneurship because I believe it is a true path to freedom through hard work and I’m not sure if your job will ever truly have your best interest in heart no matter how well they mean. You need to have control over your own entity… eventually. I’m not saying your job thinks of you as disposable, but they may. Leaving control over your income to your employer is risky.
The idea of continuous improvement will keep you on a cycle of betterment.
Trying new things, successful organizations are able to adapt to changing market demands and test new initiatives
Get new feedback from the market and implement it with “the quickness” if it makes sense. And eventually you may have some willingness to outsource, test, automate, and reduce overhead, not just depending on the American workforce
Dedicated to maximizing revenue for the business because that keeps the lights on and allows the business capital to keep growing or pays the business owners a bigger salary.
Every company I have worked for so far has had a plan to outsource or automate at least a portion of the work overtime to keep costs low and use technology. If it didn’t work the way you wanted to this time then try something different and keep testing.
13. Spend more on marketing
Marketing budget, advertising budget — they spend! Brands who are serious are not afraid to spend to promote their brand, it is not seen as a waste in fact they have monthly funds ready. Some brands you may be tired of seeing because of how much they spend to be consistently top of your mind.
They spend more than your average Joe so your goal is to up your marketing spending over time.
Top of mind is taken very seriously at this level. They don’t show up on “some days” Their system helps them stay top of mind every day.
Marketing teams of very bright individuals who PRODUCE on daily basis and are compensated as such in fact incentivized to produce more as marketing is the engine for interest and eventually orders if the marketing persists.
14. Learn something new every day
Education and mandatory education, internal training portal with all videos of business processes plus additional learning to support the professional development of your employees
Take all the free courses you can and even buy some courses as well as workshops and seminars. The more you learn the more you can earn but as Jim Rohn says:
“You don’t get paid for the time you get paid for the value you bring to the marketplace so you must educate yourself to learn how you can become more valuable.”
15. Create your business like a well-crafted game
The inclusion of things like prizes. and additional bonuses for performance are great ways to keep employees engaged and wanting to achieve more for themselves and the company.
Additional bonuses and finding out in which other ways your employees want to be compensated.
Recognizing top performers is crucial. In fact, recognizing good things often is helpful for morale.
Everyone can see where they are in the competition plus their peer’s numbers The game feels great to win, and now that will keep you and your team members activated.
Jobs that don’t have any features are harder to “get into” and lead to more unfulfilled employees
16. Participate in regular time-blocked meetings
Huddles on Slack, 1-on-1s, and group meetings. The art of not having excessive meetings but you cannot avoid meetings. You must learn to make them as productive as possible though.
Timing them well and having agendas.
Even if it is just you at first. You need to meet regularly and take notes of the topics thought about /discussed and keep them in a meeting notes folder for later reference if necessary. Good practice to implement. Stay on topic and respect other people’s time as a professional.
17. Create Recurring Revenue Streams
Most companies look into a subscription-based business model to do this. Aware of how other companies implement subscription models that support the development of their customers
Subscription models are great for long-term revenue models rather than one fix, your intent is to keep that customer for longer and deliver more service to them.
One-time sales are going to be difficult to sustain your business so you must figure out how to keep your clients longer and extract more value.
18. Standardize Operating Procedures
To be placed in UBS, always accessible to those who need it to do their jobs. Having a list of the most important business processes and the steps needed to fulfill them and then eventually a full list of everything needed to operate the business would be helpful for internal people.
Great companies have documents that tell each employee exactly which processes they are responsible for and the steps they need to take to get the result so that there is no need to guess. These documents may be updated at times when all people who rely on them are notified or they can see the last modified date.
You will place your standard operating procedures documents in the UBS.
19. Improve your work ethic
Give the best you can give and go hard like it’s your baby.
Find out how to get the max performance out of yourself and know that entrepreneurship will be 10x harder than your typical 9–5 but the rewards for being successful make those hardships worth it. Or so at least we believe because that is the entrepreneurial dream.
Especially as you rise up the ladder, you will find brighter people and people with more skills. I have found that the top producers (at every company I have worked for) have amazing work ethics. One more layer deep would reveal that they are also a master of their work habits and routines.
Since “the younger folk” don’t always have the best work ethic maybe you should look at your older colleagues or family members because their work ethic will likely be better based on what period they grew up in and their environment.
It was harder for them to survive (less opportunity then, more opportunity now with the internet) and jobs meant more stability from a career perspective. Things are changing. I do this by journaling and listening to positive messages in the morning before my day gets really going.
20. Live by your Calendar and Become a Pro with Email
Your calendar is the North Star and your email box is your compass.
Live by the calendar and plan the next day before it happens.
Respond by the history of the email. But that calendar though. If you could really understand how valuable your time is and how you should time block and understand which times of the day your engine really gets going.
Calendar audio notifications and email reminders. Your time is your most important asset and you will need to use it strategically.
21. Learn about Technology and Automation
It can improve your business efficiency. First, you should identify the core processes that allow your business to function. Successful brands incorporate the right technology to support their enterprise.
Then a simple Google or Reddit search can lead you in the direction of automating some of your smaller tasks such as posting to social media, sending out e-mail updates, and automated invoicing.
Email marketing, Facebook or SMS marketing, and notifications are ways to use technology to boost your organization.
Micro commitments. I’m still a student in this arena so I will share more as I become better with tech.
22. Become more Disruptive
Creating something that doesn’t exist in the market will give your business a better chance of surviving. The goal is to become an entrepreneur and study the market and figure out which gaps are still remaining to be unsolved. Don’t copy someone else’s business model. They are already filling some part of the market’s gap. Three books that will be helpful in differentiating yourself are Zero to One by Peter Theil, Blue Ocean Strategy, and Disrupt You by Jay Samit.
Great organizations have a knack for hiring great talent. They keep that talent as best as they can because professionals who get the work done are expensive. Solving problems and creating things that haven’t existed in this way before. This will give you more of a chance again competition.
Honorable mention: Lifetime value of a customer and solving problems with a system that leverages other people’s time and resources to get the job done. Your business can only grow to the extent that you do.
Questionnaires and permission-based marketing are the way to have your customer opt-in for long term communication. And interruption marketing (pay $ to get in front of people) still works although it may be getting less effective/more outlandish to compete on this level based on your niche.
The Difference Maker in Successful Brands
My working experience spans 8 years: Northwestern Mutual, Quest Trust Company, AT&T, Hilton, Amazon, and LegalZoom. They have built successful brands and continue to create positive customer experiences. You can read more about becoming an entrepreneur in this blog post.
I hope you got something from this. An entrepreneur who is able to go through each of these points and say “Yes, we implement this at my company” is off to a great start. If some of these aspects are missing from your business, it may be a good idea to pick a few to address or address them all over time.
Let me know what you think with a comment.