Everyone has stress in their lives. Entrepreneurs have much more stress than normal. We believe we have to do everything ourselves. We don’t know what a weekend or holiday is, we don’t take a day off or get a good nights sleep, and we feel very alone. These are just a few of the unnecessary things we do to ourselves that increases our stress.
After my second heart attack at the age of 47 my doctor told me that if I didn’t change 3 things in my life I wouldn’t live long. The first was losing weight and I succeeded at that, it just took me 30 years to do it. The second was working out, and I discovered I could watch people work out for 2 hours without taking a break, what endurance. The third was reducing stress, and I truly succeeded at that.
I failed miserably at Number 1 and 2, but I discovered if you limit your stress, you can live a much longer life. Making this work for you is much easier said than done. If I could only give one solution, it would be to figure out what’s really important in your life and never get stressed out over the little things. This usually eliminates at least 95% of the stress.
Leading with integrity means doing what you say you will do. The worst thing you can do is make commitments and then not follow through with them. It’s important that your commitments have a realistic time frame, every now and then there’s an emergency and a commitment can’t be kept. It should then be explained to everyone why the commitment wasn’t kept.
Many leaders believe their job is to get people to do what they want no matter what the means, this includes a lot of maneuvering and dishonesty and in my experience, will eventually be revealed.
The rule is simple, you must act with integrity to build and keep your employees’ trust.
When you have more than a few employees, it’s impossible for everyone to like each other. It’s very important that you teach your employees that they have to respect each other. In today’s world, a large part of each person’s time is spent on the job, the needless bickering and gossip and backstabbing is such a waste of time.
People come from all types of different backgrounds and have many different types of personalities and it’s not possible to like everyone that you work with. You don’t have to become friends, but everyone deserves respect, it makes all those hours you work much more enjoyable.
Your employees, vendors, customers and investors all have different interests and it’s not uncommon for all of these interests to be in conflict. So what do you do when everyone wants something different from you?
Set this simple standard for decision making and make it clear. The only criteria for making decisions is what is in the best interest of the business.
This is how successful business people can make fast, decisive decisions under pressure. By establishing this principle you set the standard for decision making that everyone understands.
Your perspective is one of the most important things to making you a winner as an entrepreneur. As the leader you set the tone. You have to keep the organization moving forward confidently.
Always communicate with confidence despite the challenges. When things are screwed up talk to yourself but not out loud, never talk catastrophe, no matter how you feel. Avoid cockiness, it is essential that you are confident, but people have to like you. You don’t want customers and employees thinking to themselves “do I want to work with this person”.
Your perspective changes everything. It determines what we see, how we see it, how we solve it and whether we succeed or fail.
When you’re starting out in business, the most important thing is getting customers. Without sales there can’t be a business.
As time goes on, it’s always important to get new customers, but there’s something even more important, in my opinion. Keep the customers you have.
It has always amazed me how many times I’ve seen companies spend a fortune on advertising to bring in new business, but when you get there to buy something, there’s no one to help you. So they constantly bring in new customers, and at the same time, they lose their old customers with their lack of customer service.
In order for a business to grow properly, you always need new business, but you also have to retain the customers you already have.
Almost every entrepreneur that’s successful in their first business, eventually goes into another business. Almost every entrepreneur that fails in their first business, does the same.
A lot of fear goes into doing this. Everyone tells you what can go wrong, just like they did the first time around. You also think you have to learn a whole new business,and what could be scarier then that?
It took me a long time to realize that once you’ve been in a successful business, you shouldn’t be afraid to try something new. You don’t have to totally learn a new business, you already know 80 to 90% of what you need to know.
Every business has to deal with many of the same things; we all have bank accounts, accountants, lawyers, insurance, employees and the list goes on and on. All we need to learn is the new service or commodity that we’re selling. So if you realize that you already know 80 to 90% of what you need to know, that should take the fear away.
In my last blog I talked about isolating myself when I have situations that I can’t work out and taking time alone to try to work them out. Many times I came up with the answers I needed, but not always, sometimes you just need someone else to talk to.
We almost always think we’re alone in our first venture, but in reality, every other entrepreneur in their first venture is in the same position. About a year after I started my first business and looked like I was on my way to a heart attack, I got lucky and a very successful businessman gave me an idea that I used for years. He told me to find 4 to 6 people that were also in their first venture and try to get together every month. Every month one person would share what they were having the hardest time solving and that night’s discussion would be to give them as many different ideas as we could. We helped each other move forward through many situations that seemed impossible.
Remember, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
No matter how many times you take a step backwards, there is always a way to move forward again. Many times things seem impossible; you don’t have enough money, resources, etc, the list goes on and on and on.
Successful entrepreneurs are creative, they can think their way through every situation. You have to ask for help when it’s necessary. You can’t avoid the issue, you must take action.
When things are really rough, I put myself in a situation where I can’t be bothered unless there’s a real emergency for a whole day. I know this is old school but I take out some paper and I write what I have to solve on the top of it, then I start writing down whatever comes to my mind. I do this for 2 or 3 hours, I never look at any thing I’ve written until I think I have nothing left to say.
I’ve found that when I read it back there’s a lot of pretty bad ideas, but there’s always some thoughts that could be solutions. I then spend the rest of the day going over those thoughts and refining them until I decide my next move.
If you allow your self to get frozen and not do anything you will fail. That’s not what entrepreneurs are about.
Last time I talked about your expectations from your employees. The conclusion is the business is your dream, not theirs, but there is a way to make them want to help you to achieve your dream.
One of the fears of entrepreneurs when they first start out is losing good employees. It took me many years to learn that everybody is replaceable, even us eventually.
One of the most important and satisfying things I’ve learned about employees is that if you help them reach their goals, even if it means they’re going to leave you, they will work much harder to help you reach your goals while they’re with you. It is the best way I’ve learned to get the full potential from my key employees.
With this plan, both you and your employees get what they need. What could be better?