Are you an entrepreneur wondering how to make your business work? Whether you’re just starting out, or maybe need some timely reminders on how to keep your business growing, these tips can help.
Entrepreneurship is all about speed. The faster you work, the sooner you fail. The sooner you fail, the quicker you learn. The quicker you learn, the faster you will move towards success. It’s as simple as that.
As an ‘aspiring entrepreneur’ yet, I always try to make the most of my time and my life. Sometimes I reach my goals, at other times, I fall short. And then there are times when I exceed expectations too.
In the past 3 years, I have tried almost every productivity technique out there. But nothing really brought as many magical results as the below mentioned steps.
That’s right – these proven steps can help turn your business into a profit generating machine, if followed upon.
Tip 1 – Objective and Key Results (OKR)
Objective and key results is a goal setting process used even in giant companies like Google and Microsoft. The idea is pretty cool – a specified time frame, one big objective, and three or more key results that the whole organization must aim for.
Don’t worry – the same process can be followed by a solo entrepreneur too; in fact, much more effectively. While the objective is a broader goal, the ultimate objective, the key results can be divided into specific goals. The best way to set any objective is to make it time-bound; let’s say one objective per quarter.
Here’s a quick example of what it means
Objective: Launching a web design service.
Key Result 1: A website.
Key Result 2: Customer-acquisition system.
Key Result 3: Design, client feedback-improvement loop and delivery System.
During the whole process, regularly checking the OKRs is extremely important. The more often you check, the better!
A sample OKR can be seen below:
Tip 2 – Beware of The Long-Term Goals Trap
Long-term goals matter the most. But surprisingly, it takes only the initial 10% of your time. The rest is that you have to stick to it and take action. And action cannot be taken for the whole vision. It needs to be broken down into monthly missions, weekly targets and daily tasks.
Where most people go wrong is that even though they have a great vision, they fail by not getting down to the basics.
Action is always NOW or never.
Your vision should only be your igniter, your catalyst; it should help you go towards achieving it rather than bemusing yourself and making you wonder where to start, or how to start.
Then you need to divide the objective into smaller missions, then weekly targets and smaller tasks that can be performed every day.
Another trap that people fall into after setting up a vision is that they do not review and reassess whether they’re moving towards the vision or not.
After every week, it is vital to turn around, look back and assess your progress, or even better, follow the exercise of reassessment by the end of every day if possible.
Tip 3 – Set Goals Beyond Your Ability
Human beings have a tendency to excel when they’re challenged. So, understand the qualities Allah has blessed you with. Some studies have also suggested that trying to meet stretched goals make us work with more passion and dedication than aiming for something that’s easily achievable.
Always set goals that are slightly beyond your limit, but obviously, making goals so high that it becomes/sounds illogical is not something wise.
If you want to get 50 clients in the first month, set a mission of 75 clients. Don’t just set it, but work day-in and day-out for those 75.
Even if you miss, you would be over 100% effort because your aim was higher. It’s like the famous quote, “if you want to reach for moon, aim for stars; even if you miss, you’ll still go beyond the moon.”
Tip 4 – Don’t Be Productive, Be Super Productive
Intelligent entrepreneurs spend their time being productive with their tasks. But smart entrepreneurs spend their time automating their tasks that directly relates to growing business – that’s super productive in my opinion.
The below image describes non-productive time, productive-time and super-productive time in the best way:
There are two ways to be super productive:
What Are Systems?
Well, a system is a continual process that happens regularly on its own even without your presence. Everything that needs to be done on a regular basis for long period can be systemized. Simple! An example of a system can be hiring an employee who calls up potential clients everyday. This means, your company would be contacting new people when you’re busy with other vital stuff.
So, it’s a system that contributes immensely to the business. Of course, you can spend time on monitoring if the system is working effectively not, but at the end of the day, it’s a workflow that doesn’t need all your time.
For example, you can systemize your client acquisition process by hiring an employee whose job is to get clients.
Now, while setting up a system is great, improving it time and again is even greater!
What are Projects?
Anything and everything that needs a one-time investment of time/money must be done as a project. In order to complete projects, you need to set-up a deadline and pursue it rigorously.
While some projects can be small, others can be huge but regardless of the project size, it is still not something that you need to repeat again and again. For example, setting up the website or creating the list of clients as a reference for potential clients.
Working on projects might also need the creation of micro-systems within it, or working on systems would have tasks that can be done as tasks.
Take your time and begin with these vital steps and in the next segment of this article, we’ll get deeper into the ‘how-to’ aspects of a couple of above, a proven recipe to stay in course with these, a tool that I use to keep a track of all these and more. So stay tuned.
About the Author
Syed Naimath Mujtahedi is an aspiring web entrepreneur from India.