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How to be a more efficient entrepreneur

By Tim Fuell - April 2, 2015

You’ve made the commitment to run your own business, you are juggling the work / life balance, you may even be holding down a ‘real’ job at the same time. Be warned, it’s a tiring combination. There never seems to be enough time in the day and although the rewards are great, even the most committed get moments when they doubt they are doing the right thing. It’s all possible though, and with a few extra tweaks and some improvement in the efficiency of the way you do things, success needn’t be as hard on you when you are an efficient entrepreneur.

Make lists, set goals

girl writing list
So that’s nothing new, but there is a reason so many successful people repeat this mantra – it works! How can you achieve success if you don’t actually know when you set out what it is you need to achieve to be successful? Make lists but also make them manageable. If you have lots on, make sure you have one full and comprehensive list but then work with smaller lists on a weekly and daily basis. Set goals to tick so many items off each day, and keep those lists updated. It is vital you keep your goals achievable too – it’s immensely satisfying when you complete one – but failing day after day can have a negative effect as well.

Keep email away from your morning routine

It can be highly tempting but don’t immediately roll over, rub your eyes and read your email. If it was really urgent they would have called or will call. Reading email first thing is the perfect way to get distracted from what really needs to be addressed in the morning. Picking up from where you left off the night before is going to be far more efficient as that will be fresh in your mind. Deal with that to achieve a tick or two on your list and then look to address the emails.

Set reminders to take a break

coffee break
All work and no play not only makes Jack a dull boy, but it makes him unproductive too. Just as fartlek training – short bursts and changes of speed – helps long distance runners, so the same interval approach can help your business mind, helping you remain focused and building up your approach in meaningful increments. Plodding away for hours could be more self-defeating than a series of work bursts interspersed with some ‘you time’. Clear your brain, top up your energy levels and when you return to the work in hand, you will quite often come with a fresher look at things and potentially new ways to solve the problems faced. Taking a break needn’t mean grabbing forty winks or turning off completely, it can mean simply changing the problem you are looking at.

Use every spare moment wisely

Got a train journey lined up ahead of a meeting? Get planning or at least writing lists. If you were working for somebody else you may well see these as wasted hours or chill time, but as an entrepreneur these are your minutes, it would be your time you are wasting and that is no good for anyone. Using this time now is likely to save you time in the long run. Consider the space between meetings, commute times, even extended toilet break time as planning time. Think a bit differently and think about the way ahead.

Don’t forget traditional methods

workers pose showing relationship
Business, since time immemorial, has been done across the globe based on the simple tenet of trust. Trust between parties creates a relationship and it is relationships that drive the wheels of commerce, whatever you sell, wherever you sell it, whoever your audience is. Building trust and a reputation will take time as well as a commitment to your work ethics. Unfortunately, a reputation and trust is very easily broken too. It is essential you give value to building trust with customers and would be customers. Simple, open communication goes a long way here.

Be more assertive

Learning to say no more often is a key to being successful. Not only does it send out a message to others you deal with, that you aren’t one who can easily be bullied, but it also means that inevitably there will be less time pressure on you. Saying no isn’t about being obstructive it is actually about being constructive.  Equally pushing an idea, having faith in your thoughts and working hard to convince others to see the same, is a winning mentality for an entrepreneur. Being in charge of your own destiny and not at the whim of others is one of the reasons people become an entrepreneur and it is those who manage to take control who become the most successful.

As an entrepreneur, time is money and every second wasted is money you should have pocketed, so efficiency in your working practices and lifestyle choices is even more important than when you work for someone else. Make your efficiencies help make you a better business person.