7 productivity tips to help you accomplish your biggest goals (entrepreneur.com)

By: Nina Zipkin

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/288254

As a young entrepreneur who says her mission is to help others reach their potential, Caroline Ghosn understands the link between happiness and doing work that is of value. Ghosn is the founder and CEO of Levo, an online hub dedicated to helping millennials build and grow their careers by providing tips, tools, mentorship and networking opportunities. We caught up with Ghosn to talk about how to achieve peak productivity and meet your goals head on. Here are her seven tips to reach your goals.

  1. Write everything down.

Don’t hold on to every plan, thought or feeling in your brain. You will get stressed out just trying to remember everything.

“What makes people feel anxious and unproductive is that loop,” she says. “You can have hundreds of those going on at once and it can be completely distracting.” Simply writing down what you want to accomplish will free up space to focus on what is most important, Ghosn says.

  1. Make a plan.

“It is never wasted time. You’re actually making the rest of your day productive by spending 30 minutes reviewing your to-do’s, prioritizing them and ruthlessly removing things that shouldn’t be there,” Ghosn says. She recommends structuring your to-do list with actionable items — only those things that start with a verb. If it takes only a few minutes to do, just do the task right away. Create lists around a single theme or intention.

  1. Put social media away.

“Actually remove those tabs from your computer and phone,” Ghosn says. Turn off notifications so you don’t feel the urge to check your social media accounts and lose your concentration and momentum. Uninterrupted work time is key. In a survey conducted by Levo and Microsoft, Ghosn noted that respondents identified social media as the number one distraction.

  1. Block off your calendar.
    Ghosn recommends dividing your day into several sections — for example, one dedicated to catching up on correspondence and meetings, another to plan out your to-do list and a third to execute on those tasks. “They all require very different mindsets and they should be separated as such,” she says.
  2. Find out when you are most productive.

“I used to think I was a night owl,” Ghosn says. “I realized I’m not because I have energy at night but I’m not as focused and productive when I try to get things done.” She recommends figuring out where and when you are most engaged and excited to work and use those times to tackle the most important items on your list. In the survey, 38 percent of those polled reported that the mid-morning was their most productive time period, followed by the early morning. Only 1 percent said that their mind was the sharpest during the lunch hour.

  1. Remember that it is OK to fumble.

“When you experience difficulty at work or in your life, instead of looking back on it as something that was really challenging, look at it and ask yourself, ‘what wisdom did I learn from that?'” Ghosn says. “It’s approaching it with gratitude vs. bitterness or negativity, and it allows you to be better.” You can learn from every mistake and use it to motivate you rather than blame yourself or give up something that is important to you.

  1. Check in with yourself.

Ghosn recommends doing a weekly review and checking off what you achieved and giving yourself credit for even the most incremental wins. “Take the time to close the loop with your brain,” she says, “and affirm that you did a great job.”

5 necessary conditions for entrepreneurial success (Entrepreneurship)

By: Steve Tobak May  14, 2015

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/246121

Every week I hear from people desperately trying to become successful entrepreneurs. They inevitably have loads of basic questions that instantly tell me they’ve taken the plunge prematurely and, as a result, have severely limited their chances of making it on their own. I’m sure that’s not what you want to hear, but if I don’t tell you the truth, then who will? The problem is that’s the wrong way to do it. The hands-down best way to become a successful entrepreneur is to not try to become an entrepreneur in the first place. Wait, what? That doesn’t make any sense. It sounds like a contradiction. Au contraire, it does make complete sense. Not only that, it’s the best advice on entrepreneurship you’ll ever get. The thing is, nobody becomes a successful entrepreneur over the long haul by setting out to become one. It happens organically under certain conditions.

The problem is one of competitive markets. Entrepreneurship is about business, and a business that beats the competition and takes off is not so easy to contrive. For a venture to have even a snowball’s chance in hell of making it, several factors have to come together:

Opportunity.

Like it or not, opportunities don’t just pop out of your Mac’s screen and shout, “Here I am!” You have to go out and find them and explore them. Think of opportunities as branches off a tree trunk. You need to get out in the real working world to gain exposure to enough branches. That’s where everything else stems from.

Discovery.

Perhaps the hardest thing about a business is figuring out the right customer problem that needs to be solved. Without that, you’ve got nothing. Usually, that requires significant exposure, expertise, and experience. Otherwise, you’ll never come up with a winning product that beats the competition.

Expertise.

Every successful entrepreneur has some sort of expertise by the time they come up with the product or company that ends up making it. Maybe it was their passion from day one or perhaps they developed it while working for others. Whichever it is, there’s something they can do better than the pack … and BSing isn’t it.

Network.

Whether its equity partners with the right mix of talent, investors, adult supervision, or some combination thereof, successful businesses almost always have several key players involved from the start or relatively early on. That requires a network – not an online one, a real network of real people you meet in the real world.

Savvy.

Not to be cliché, but businesses have lots of moving parts and it’s not easy to get everything working together unless you have some sort of business savvy. There are only three places to learn that: from your family, from business mentors, or by working hands-on in the business world.

Notice that the factors overlap. They’re actually all intertwined. That’s why not setting out to become an entrepreneur but getting out in the world and getting your hands dirty working is the easiest way to someday make it on your own. The real business world is where all those conditions come together. And that’s where most successful entrepreneurs find them.

The only caveat is that I assume you’re looking for some sort of breakout success where that becomes your livelihood and you make a very good living at it. Of course, you can slug it out with a gazillion competitors in a number of small businesses or make a go of it as a solopreneur, but that’s not exactly knocking the ball out of the park, if you know what I mean.

Look, I know this might be disappointing for some of you, but trust me when I tell you, if you really want to make it big someday, you’ll be better served by getting out and getting some experience than banging your head against a wall trying to figure out why things aren’t working out for you.

3 simple but powerful tips for startup success (entrepreneur.com)

By: Michael Noice September 29, 2016

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/283061

Everyone has to start somewhere. Whether he or she works for the largest corporation or the hottest start-up, every entrepreneur starts at square one. What separates the haves from the have-nots, however, is the path they take after stepping off square one. Though many paths lead to success, some are more direct and have fewer bumps along the way. No one, of course, finds success without encountering a few obstacles. So, below are three tips I share with my clients to help them navigate the startup process and find success.

Dream big and map it out.

When you are contemplating making the entrepreneurial leap, remember this: It doesn’t take any more effort to dream big than it does to dream small. Perhaps you doubt your ability to make great things happen. Maybe you don’t want to appear greedy or materialistic. Or, you may feel that you don’t deserve all that being an entrepreneur has to offer. Regardless of the reason, you can’t listen to that voice in your head telling you to play it safe and not dream big. My most successful clients have developed the ability to dismiss that voice and replace it with an inner dialogue based on visions of what can be. They have the habit of asking themselves, “How can I?” when everyone else is saying, “You can’t do that.” They see opportunities that no one else sees. While others may be quick to point out why their vision will not work, they have the drive to prove those naysayers wrong. Now, with a big dream motivating you, it is easy to want to go all-in right now. However, before you quit your job, develop a detailed plan for your business. Most entrepreneurs are visionaries with the drive to get things started. But they are easily bored and quick to move on to their next project. By creating a detailed plan for your dream, you learn to hold yourself accountable to yourself and that accountability brings progress. Without a plan, your big dream is just a day dream. With it, it becomes a reality.

Identify your priorities, but be flexible.

As you put your plan together, you’ll find it obvious what tasks contribute the most to your business’s success. These are the tasks that must be pursued relentlessly. One reason entrepreneurs fail is that they fail to properly prioritize their work. By separating the good from the best, you create the focus that would not exist if you pursued everything asking for your time and attention. As you begin building your business, take time to identify the essential pieces of your business that will sustain your venture and provide the necessary cash flow. Also, be aware that if you do not prioritize correctly, you run the risk of taking on too much and doing nothing well. Every venture has critical pieces that create the successful outcome. It is when you focus more on the support tasks than the critical ones that you begin watering down your best work. Designing eye-catching packaging for your product, for example, may help you stand out from the competition, but if you have neglected the necessary legwork to get your product on the shelves in the first place, your efforts will all be for naught.

Fail fast and fail often.

Most entrepreneurs are not risk adverse. If they were, they would still be playing it “safe” in their 9-to-5 jobs. However, in order to be successful, you need to experiment and take chances that may frighten you at first. If you are reading this in the hopes of not making any mistakes, then you’ve already made your first one. Do not look at mistakes as something to be avoided at all costs, but as unique learning opportunities custom-tailored to you, your circumstances and your business. The more lessons you can learn from in the quickest amount of time, the more you can shorten your learning curve and place yourself in a position to grow your business. By adopting the mindset of “fail fast and fail often,” you’ll begin to leverage the power of iteration — the process of repeating and refining a process in order to meet a goal. The ultimate goal for your business is to stay alive and ultimately to thrive. In order to accomplish this goal, you must iterate until you find the “breakthrough” that makes your business a self-sustaining entity.

When you are starting a business, speed is critical for success. The more tightly you can run experiments and the faster you can iterate, the more chances you will provide yourself to find that winning combination. It is that winning combination that helps you become scalable. And scalability is what allows you to realize your big dream. So, do not be afraid of making mistakes. You have to try, make mistakes, learn and try again. If you try, make a mistake and give up, you will never be the success you could have been.

The 10 traits that define entrepreneurial success(MSN)

By: Jacqueline Whitmore March  01, 2016

Source: http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/smallbusiness/the-10-traits-that-define-entrepreneurial-success/ar-BBqcdd4

Why is it that some people succeed more than others? Is it an innate ability, present from birth, or a learned behavior? What are the traits that identify a successful entrepreneur? According to Sangeeta Bharadwaj Badal, Ph.D., Senior Researcher, Entrepreneurship at Gallup, “Innate talents seem to make some people better at noticing new business opportunities and more likely to be risk-takers, natural salespeople and adept at cultivating social networks — all traits that drive entrepreneurial success.” Badal studied and interviewed 2,500 U.S. entrepreneurs to learn and understand just what actions and choices led to the creation and growth of businesses. Through this study, she and her team consistently observed 10 behaviors and discovered that every entrepreneur uses some of these talents to start or grow a business. The 10 talents of successful entrepreneurs are:

  1. Business focus

Decisions are made based on the effect of profit, whether observed or anticipated.

  1. Confidence

The entrepreneurs know themselves and have an understanding of others

  1. Creative thinker

The people in this study exhibited creativity in taking an existing product or idea and turning it into a better one.

  1. Delegator

Successful entrepreneurs aren’t afraid to let others assist. They realize that they cannot do everything themselves and are willing and able to allow a shift in style and control.

  1. Determination

Every entrepreneur goes through difficult times. While some throw in the towel, subjects in this study persevered through difficulties.

  1. Independent

Independence doesn’t necessarily mean working alone, as these successful entrepreneurs have shown. They are able to do whatever is needed to be done to make the venture successful.

  1. Knowledge-seeker

Those who succeed are always seeking relevant knowledge that will help their business.

  1. Promoter

Nobody promotes the business better than its owner. This person is able to clearly convey what the business is about and convince others of its value.

  1. Relationship-builder

Entrepreneurs realize that it’s the people around them that can help them the most and build relationships with those who can benefit the business for its survival and growth.

  1. Risk-Taker

Any new venture or growth involves risk. The successful entrepreneur has an instinctive knowledge of how to mitigate and manage high-risk situations.

According to this research, entrepreneurs perform best when they are able to utilize their dominant natural talents. While education and training may help, having the innate ability will make the job easier. Therefore, entrepreneurs need to recognize their talents and create a consistent effort to nurture them to full fruition. What do you see as your best talents? Sales? Organization? Idea generation? Once you identify your top skills, put your energy into developing them further. For those parts of the business at which you are not talented, or have no interest, find others to take over those responsibilities. With a focus on your talents, you’ll be able to point your venture in the direction of success.