Have you ever wondered how the world's top entrepreneurs get so much done in their days? After all, they have the same 24 hour days and 7 day weeks, yet they consistently get so much more done in that time.
I was recently talking with a friend who owns and still runs a $155 million medical company about this very topic. His comments centered on the idea that people complicate what it takes to succeed. From my work with business owners and their key leadership teams I can tell you what I observe and have confirmed through study of this extremely successful entrepreneurial sample.
- Relentlessly focus on ONE thing at a time.
The most successful entrepreneurs aren't multi-taskers, in fact, they are the opposite - they are MONO-TASKERS. They focus on one high value project or task and do it extremely well, then smoothly move to the next, and the next.
I know it's really in vogue nowadays to talk about how you can do five things at once, but that is just not consistent with what I observe with the most successful people in business.
They go to great lengths to employ people, systems, and structures to filter out distractions and give them blocks of focus time. And so should you. The best time masters have cultivated their ability to block out distractions and temptations and focus on one thing at a time, and follow this most important thing until it is complete and producing for their businesses.
- Learn to say no to things that don't progress the company and create little value.
I strongly encourage you to grow your muscle of saying "no" to things that don't create real value for your company.
Ask yourself, "On a scale from 1-10, with 10 being extraordinarily valuable, how valuable is this project, activity, commitment, or opportunity to the company?" If your answer isn't a 9 or a 10, don't do it. Sure you can delegate it, but you can't afford the distraction of you personally doing things that aren't a 9 or 10.
Successful business leaders learn that to create more value - they must cultivate their ability to say no to everything in their working life that doesn't move them forward towards their important business goals. Less successful entrepreneurs choose the comfort of saying yes to low value people and activities, rather than do the uncomfortable thing and fanatically guard their time so they have more blocks of discretionary time to forward their companies.
- Learn when to cut your losses--too many people hang on too long.
If you know a person, a strategy, a product, a partnership just isn't going to get you what you need, make the hard decision early and free up your resources to find a solution that will meet your real business need.
This habit - of cutting your losses and closing your dead ends quickly - leads directly into habit four...
In the world of military strategy they say, "Support your break outs."
- Feed your winners; starve your losers.
When you see a strong success in your company, support your break outs. This could be with your key team - invest in your winning staff. Invest training dollars; invest your time spent developing them; invest in giving them projects and responsibilities designed to help them grow.
This applies to your marketing. Cut your lowest half of marketing activities and invest that freed up time, talent, and money to reinvest in scaling your biggest marketing winners.
This applies to your product lines, your client base, and even your market selections.
Stop wasting your time trying to resurrect a "loser" idea or strategy, instead invest that energy to support your winners. Not only is this much easier to do, but will lead to explosive growth.
- Cultivate the spirit and open mind of a life-long learner.
My friends and colleagues who are most successful spend very little time worrying about what other people might think of them if they ask a silly question or admit that they don't know.
Instead they approach life with a playful and intense curiosity to learn and grow.
Cultivate the drive and fortitude to be a learner. Ask questions, challenge your own assumptions, and risk looking foolish by admitting you don't know or trying a novel approach.
I hope you put these 5 habits to work helping you increase your productivity and growing your company.
If you enjoyed the ideas I shared, then I encourage you to download a free copy of my newest book, Build a Business, Not a Job. Click here for full details and to get your complimentary copy.