When mentors tell you that most new businesses fail, they aren’t trying to be discouraging. Rather, they’re using a “tough love” approach to help you launch your business with your eyes wide open.
Established business owners want new entrepreneurs to understand that starting a successful, strong business is a daunting prospect. They want you to know that in addition to having a great idea and a strong work ethic, you will need to juggle a host of other considerations and responsibilities as well. An entrepreneur who takes these concerns to the heart is much more likely to succeed.
These eight items aren’t the only things you can or should do during the early stages of your business career, but each will measurably increase your chances of success.
1. Get Up Early
Getting up early isn’t for everyone, and it’s not necessarily an advantage in every industry.
“If you’re a creative person, the chances are strong that you’ll be a night owl instead of an early riser,” writes Bustle contributor J.R. Thorpe.
That said, adds Thorpe, early-rising entrepreneurs do tend to get more done, earlier than their late-sleeping counterparts.
“If you’re inclined to like the mornings anyway,” he says, “an earlier wake-up call might be to your benefit.”
Early risers have more time to take breakfast meetings, organize their schedules, set near-term goals, and attend to clerical tasks such as responding to email before the workday begins in earnest. When time is money, having more of it is a valuable proposition.
2. Resist the Lure of Multitasking
Some entrepreneurs swear by multitasking: the practice of doing multiple rote tasks at once. While multitasking feels efficient, it can actually be a drag on overall productivity — especially if it leads to preventable mistakes that need to be addressed after the fact.
“Instead of multitasking by default, organize your tasks by priority and complete them one at a time,” says Miami-based businessman George Otte. “Make a point of completing each task fully and to the best of your ability, no matter how urgent the demands on your time.”
3. Validate Your Idea Early
If you aim to bring a new solution to market, validate your idea as early as practically possible. Even before you have a minimum viable product ready to take to market, conduct thorough market research and feasibility studies that clearly demonstrate proof of concept. Prospective advisors, investors, partners, and even employees will want to see this evidence before coming onboard.
4. Surround Yourself With Smart, Experienced People
As an entrepreneur, you can’t personally attend to everything. As such, the quality of your team is of the utmost importance. This precept extends to your nascent company’s backers and advisory board. Ideally, you want to be able to turn to at least a half-dozen people who know more — or, at least, have more experience — than you.
5. Never Stop Networking
The most effective way to replenish and reinforce your supply of smart, experienced people is to network. Take every opportunity to rub shoulders with your peers and betters, especially if you’re not intimately familiar with your industry or have recently relocated to a new city or region.
6. Trust Your Team
If you’ve surrounded yourself with effective team members, the pressure you feel to micromanage should be limited. Resist whatever temptation remains. After all, you brought your team together to work toward a common goal, and you trust each player to execute in its service. Overt micromanagement can ding company morale and harm recruitment and retention efforts.
Making Your Own Way
Successful entrepreneurs take responsibility for their own success. They follow the tips outlined above, and others, as they meet goals and passkey milestones. Ultimately, however, they understand that not everything lies within their control. For better or worse, luck — good and bad — does factor into business outcomes. As a business owner, it’s best to focus on what you can change, and let events outside your purview unfold as they may.