The entrepreneur’s journey is full of challenging and enlightening lessons. If paid attention to, these lessons can take your business to the next level.
These top entrepreneurs and members of The Oracles reflect on some of their most valuable business lessons and how they used them to find ultimate success.
Value your time by putting a price tag on it
Your time is the greatest resource and one thing you can’t get back. To execute at the top level, you have to understand the full gravity of time. It’s imperative to prioritize your life and business in a way that lines up with what you value most.
While it’s important to hustle and grind and look to the future, it’s just as important to allow yourself to live in the moment and take time to give back. That means getting clear on what gives life value and what your time is worth.
In the mid-1980s I started monetizing each minute of every day. While working with the Shopping Channel, I saw how segments were run minute by minute, 60 minutes an hour, 24 hours a day, seven days a week; this gave me a concrete understanding of how each minute was valued, logged and charged.
I applied this mindset to my own life and began to ask myself: “If time is precious, how am I bringing the most value to the present moment? How am I planning for my future so that each minute counts?”
—Kevin Harrington, inventor of the infomercial, pioneer of the “As Seen on TV” industry, and original Shark on “Shark Tank”
“Stick to what you know” is a strict school of thought in many entrepreneurship circles. After living that for many years, I’ve come to believe just the opposite. By keeping your mind open to new ideas and embracing novelty, you make opportunities for yourself. By exposing yourself to a multitude of businesses and products, your scope expands. Conversely, if you always have your blinders on, your perspective becomes too narrow and you miss out on promising opportunities.
Two years ago, I was introduced to cryptocurrency and Bitcoin by a friend. I laughed it off, quickly responding that I wasn’t interested. At that time, Bitcoin was valued at roughly $500. Today, as I type, it is valued at more than a 1,000-percent increase in value.
Now, I’m not a cryptocurrency guy but passed on an early opportunity to get involved because I didn’t want to learn about it. It was too abstract and esoteric for me; yet, that’s how breakout ideas often appear before they become the new norm.
Take the time to learn about new ideas or even entirely new businesses. By staying open and curious, you’ll continue to thrive and grow in today’s disruptive era.
—Michael Alden, bestselling author and CEO of CloiXonné
Master your thoughts and emotions
Most of my lessons came from failures, setbacks and defeats. Although painful, they developed the self-awareness to grow. They forced me to spend time on mastering my thoughts and emotions.
I used to lose my temper a lot. If you’re an entrepreneur with scattered thoughts and frazzled emotions, you’ll react incorrectly to every fastball thrown your way — resulting in more setbacks, bigger defeats and chaotic up and down cycles.
Becoming the calm operator — who takes decisive action while others get emotional at the push of a button — gives you the unfair advantage. Start by writing down your goals every day. Spend time in solitude with your thoughts, observing what you think and feel about yourself. Keep revisiting what you want for your life.
Practised consistently, you’ll develop the personal and professional invincibility to withstand any circumstance. You’ll gain tremendous clarity. You’ll have the ability to block out all the distactions, doubts, and third party opinions. You’ll have total control over how to react to challenging situations. Nothing can ever crush your spirit again.
Believe in yourself, intuition and vision
My motto is, “To believe it and achieve it, I have to see it, feel it, smell it and taste it.” This requires an upgraded mindset. Think about the energy of a child: adventurous, fierce, unapologetic, inspirational and tenacious. Most entrepreneurs lose that “spark” of self-belief after a few setbacks because they view failure as inescapable. Yet, this is the most crucial time to work on reprogramming your brain to win, so you can pivot and learn from your failure and move toward success.
Reactivate what drives you by reflecting on what you want from life and why you fell off track. After identifying your authentic goals, you’ll experience more “flow” than resistance, working more productively and creatively. You’ll become unwilling to acknowledge any barriers until your mission is accomplished.
Another key lesson I’ve learned is to always look for ways to improve your business and create value in people’s lives. For example, I was frustrated that most essential oils on the market have artificial additives and fillers, so I created a line of pure “Grade A” therapeutic essential oils. When you’re at a loss, think about what products, systems, or services will benefit everyone.
Empower empire builders
Create an environment where not only you but also everyone on your team can accomplish anything and everything they’ve ever wanted. As struggling entrepreneurs, we’re often insecure and fearful that others will “steal” our clients. Yet, you’ll never attract the best “empire builders” on the planet to work within your organization if you don’t create an environment where they can thrive alongside you. When you start running your company with confidence–in a way that serves your team and clients–you’ll be able to attract top talent and build a true empire that stands the test of time.
Top talent means a few things. Top candidates aren’t “broke people.” This phrase may elicit a negative knee-jerk reaction, but when I say “broke,” I’m not referring to socio-economic status. I mean someone with a desperate energy about them, who is more interested in their hourly rate than a vision for the company and themselves. I don’t hire anyone with that broken mindset. Once I have top talent in play, I like to pay for outcomes, not hours. I don’t care if they worked 10 hours or 100 hours this week, so long as the expected outcomes have been produced.
Get out of the way
An early career mistake was fueling my business with too much personal time and energy. I created a paradigm where I was the single motor driving the ship. With this mindset, I quickly found myself working seven days a week, which was unsustainable and very difficult to duplicate.
My businesses are now fueled by leadership, people, and systems. Infusing these three tenets into your business model can be game-changing for growth and lasting success.
Leadership means imparting the vision, being precise with your team’s role, and cutting them loose to execute their objectives. Show your team you trust them (which starts by trusting yourself), and let them develop into key players in your organization.
People means every person who works for you is equal. I don’t let anyone call me “boss.” No matter how big you get, remember: you’re nothing without your team.
With systems, it’s essential to document everything and cross-train everyone. The only way your company can run without you is to create clear instructions and procedures for when you’re not around. If you’re not the type to write out procedure manuals, find someone who is! If you cross-train everyone on those procedures, no one person can ever sink the ship.
Originally published on Entrepreneur.com. ©2017 by Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.