“Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world!”
Those are the words of Archimedes, a famous Greek mathematician and inventor with an infamous obsession for innovation. And while his words may seem anecdotal, or appear to be written for inspirational intent, Archimedes was referring to a real principle; a principle which has the power to not only move the world, but can also empower a single entrepreneur with the ability to accomplish more than would seem humanly possible.
What Archimedes was referring to is the principle of leverage.
The Most Powerful Human Leveraging Tool
I believe habits are one of the most powerful (and free) tools an entrepreneur can enlist in while building a business, and as you may have already witnessed among friends, family and acquaintances, habits contain the seeds of both success and destruction.
- Enlist the wrong habits and your business will fail.
- Enlist the right habits, and your business will grow. Freakishly fast.
What I’d like to present you with today are five daily habits to grow your business that can give you enormous leverage within your entrepreneurial journey.
But before we dive in, allow me to give you a word of warning. The power of any habit is the consistency at which it is performed. It’s not a one time thing, or a flurry of action. They are seemingly subtle actions which begin to build momentum and power over time. And faster than you think.
Here are five habits I suggest implementing – I doubt you’ll be upset at me for suggesting them to you!
Habit #1 – Create a Morning Routine
Benjamin Franklin said “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
But just getting up at the crack of dawn in and of itself will not make you rich or lower your blood pressure. It’s what you DO with those mornings that count.
During an interview on Youpreneur FM with Hal Elrod, author of the best-selling book The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM), Hal detailed his personal transformation that took place while studying and implementing morning rituals.
In case you haven’t read the book, or don’t know about Hal, his personal story takes you on a journey of both tragedy and triumph as he overcame personal death (he literally died for 6 minutes after being struck by a drunk driver) and then business setbacks, resulting in the loss of his home.
So what turned things around for Hal?
Things drastically changed the moment he decided to implement the habit he and countless others now refer to as The Miracle Morning. A set of six practices that sets up your day for success by taking control of the first hour of your morning.
Hal breaks down these miracle morning practices into the acronym Life S.A.V.E.R.S.
- Scribing (Writing)
But despite being very easy to begin implementing this list, what’s even more alluring is how FAST miracle morning practitioners are seeing results. Not only is the miracle morning helping entrepreneurs grow their business, but many people are also reporting that it’s completely changing their lives.
As Hal reminds us, a great life is built with great days, and great days begin by taking control of your mornings.
Habit #2 – Schedule What Matters Most
If it doesn’t get scheduled, it doesn’t get done. That’s an original “Ducker-ism”, which has been a personal secret to moving my business forward over the 10+ years that I’ve been an entrepreneur.
What works for me is using 30-minute chunks of time (sometimes longer), during which I schedule everything that will move my business forward – daily.
But before I give you my short list of items, I’d like to highlight the fact that it’s critical to schedule what matters most FIRST. Your time is extremely valuable and you’ve only got so much to work with each day so make sure it’s being invested in projects and opportunities that will make the biggest impact.
Here are a few of the tasks I schedule (along with tips for maximizing that time) on a regular basis:
- Clear and Concise Delegation: Having a team is one of the best ways to leverage your time. But if you’re unclear with the project and its objectives you’ll end up frustrating your team and dragging it out longer than it should be. Your team cannot read your mind. Put the time in to deliver a clear task with measurable ways for your team to know they’ve accomplished your objective.
- Responding to emails: One of the best tips I can give is to be selective about which emails you respond to. Not all e-mails should require a reply. Pay attention to the type of emails you’re consistently getting. It may be a sign there’s a process missing in your business.
- Reaching out to people I’ve just met at conferences: I’m a huge believer in networking. But handshakes and business cards are only the first step. It’s what you do with those introductions that matter. Why not make it a goal to reach out and see what value you can offer to your newly acquired contact. This also means you must be selective about who you reach out to – since you’re planning to make a time investment.
- Brainstorming Ideas for podcasts: Creating a podcast and securing great guests doesn’t happen by accident. In fact, the easiest part of podcasting is recording the the thing! If this is a medium you plan on leveraging you’ll need to be deliberate about planning your show, booking your guests and doing your research before pressing record.
- Building Processes: Time spent on process building is one of the best uses of your time when building a business. But it’s not easy. There will always be something else nagging at your conscious that needs to be be done right-now! Just remember that the only way to create control – is to stay in control of your time. So set aside time for process building, it’s really the best way to deal with tomorrow’s emergencies.
Your list will be different depending on the type of business you’re in and the maturity of your business. The most important take away is that you identify the important moving parts and schedule them.
That’s the key to developing your own daily habits to grow your business.
Habit #3 – Focus on What You Can Control
The craziest things will happen while building a business, and since luck is a coin with two sides you’ll discover that both good and bad situations will come knocking. The most important thing, however is to remember that your job is to only focus on what you can control.
- Identify the tangible steps you can take each day towards achieving your business goals. It’s not enough just to list them.
- Don’t lose sleep over losing a large client. Instead, focus on ways you can consistently cultivate new opportunities.
- Meet setbacks with a “what do we need to do right now” mentality instead of complaining about what happened.
- Make it a habit of over-delivering for your clients. The day may come when a mistake is made and it will be helpful to have a reputation of over-delivery which helps ease any frustration and will cause your clients to give you the benefit of the doubt.
Now, does this mean you’ll be able to prevent anything bad from happening in the future? No, unfortunately not. The purpose of this habit is to give you mental relief when the storms of business do strike, and strike they will. But that’s ok, you’ll soon discover that your biggest breakthroughs and innovations will come as a result of these unforeseen setbacks. So stay focused on what you can control.
Habit #4 – Learn to Say ‘No’. Often!
This is tough one. As entrepreneurs our minds are built to find ways around obstacles, and to inspire people that anything’s possible. But in order to build a business you must be focused on the actions that will move your business forward.
This is why learning to say no is important. Steve Jobs put it this way, “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”
So remember, when you say YES to something – you’re also saying NO to something else – and vice versa. Make sure you’re always saying YES to the right thing.
Habit #5 – End Each Day with ‘Tomorrow’ on Paper
Along with creating a set of morning rituals (as outlined in Habit #1) I recommend ending each day with a brief planning session of what tomorrow will look like.
This planning session should take no more than 10-minutes and should include the following items:
Morning ritual time: Even if you’ve learned how to get yourself up on auto-pilot I still recommend writing down your protected morning time. This habit will reinforce the importance of this time, while also increasing the likelihood of you sticking to it.
Calendar: Are there any upcoming meetings for which you should start preparing for?
Your #1 priority item: If nothing else get’s done tomorrow except for one thing. What should it be? Once again, this doesn’t mean you should only do one thing tomorrow, but this is the one thing that must get done at all costs. And with that said, why not make that the first thing you work on.
Fires: What “fires” (aka. emergencies) need to be put out? Every business will have its fair share of setbacks to deal with, but if you can use them as an opportunity to improve your procedures & systems they can actually become a blessing. But that only happens if you take the time to identify your “fires,” source how they happened, and then see what could be put in place to prevent them from happening in the future.
Today’s Highlights: Every day should end with gratitude. Even if your entire day felt like a mess there’s always something you can find. This practice will give you positive closure each day, which then sets up your next day for success. What you may also find is that you’ll start finding your days filled with more things to be thankful for. Coincidence? I think not.
Learn to Love the Journey, My Friends!
Building a successful business is a journey. The business you have today may end up looking a lot different than what you had envisioned, and that’s okay. It’s fine. This is why it’s important to truly fall in love with the process of putting together you’re own personal daily habits to grow your business.
Be excited about what the future holds, but make sure to love the place you’re at today. Pivots will come and go – get used to ’em!
What did you think about the message in this post? Tweet me, or drop me a note on Facebook quickly – I’d love to know. If you have any entrepreneurial friends that you feel should read this, too, please share it with them. I’d appreciate it.