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These 7 Behaviors Prove That You’re A Born Entrepreneur

These 7 Behaviors Prove That You’re A Born Entrepreneur

Have you always felt like you were destined for more? Like you were meant to strike out and do your own thing? That’s how I’ve always felt. I wasn’t much interested in fitting into society, but was more focused on how I could change it. My earliest memory of entrepreneurship was coming up with the idea to sell balloons to my friends at school. I seem to recall that I would sell them for $2.50. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as intelligent as I was ambitious. I still remember trying to cram a blown-up balloon into my school bag and wondering how I was going to fit in more than one. Fast forward about 20 years and I’ve still got that itch. The company I work for was recently acquired by a huge, billion-dollar corporation. It made me think: Do I want to subject myself to the whims of forces out of my control? The answer was “no”. I felt like I could be an entrepreneur, but I had to model myself after other people who have made it. Here are the seven behaviors I discovered that make people born entrepreneurs:

1.  Never felt as interested in buying things as I did in working out how they were being sold

No matter the craze: Apple products, mobile games, clothes, sneakers, or luxury goods, I couldn’t get sucked in. Instead, I watched on the sidelines as other people couldn’t help themselves and shelled out their hard-earned cash to buy something they couldn’t live without. I was more fascinated how companies and brands did this. What made them so attractive? How did their customers feel after acquiring their products? How did they make them feel this way? I was hell-bent on understanding this.

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2. An insatiable hunger to learn more about people and what makes them take action

I’ve always been interested in people and what makes them tick. There’s this quote which is often attributed to Einstein that I love: “Computers are incredibly fast, accurate, and stupid; humans are incredibly slow, inaccurate, and brilliant; together they are powerful beyond imagination. ”Our brilliance comes from our minds. They can sometimes fail us when we most need them to work, but they have already gotten us this far. Having said this, there are numerous “loopholes” which make us susceptible to triggers that can make normally very rational people behave irrationally. This fascinates me. It’s what makes people consider that something is a bargain if they see a “SALE” sign next to it, even though they may not know what the original price was. If it fascinates you too, then you could be a born entrepreneur.

3. Refusal to settle and accept that this is all there is to life

When I commute to work I try to block myself from the wave of dreariness that hits me every time I board the train. Everyone looks bored and is trying to distract themselves from the reality that they have created. When I surreptitiously peek at their phones it’s always the same culprits: Facebook, Candy Crush, Instagram, envy, instant gratification, and jealousy. This is not how life’s meant to be lived. I don’t have any of those apps on my phone. Don’t get me wrong. Some days I just want to forget the world and get lost in a game. The problem is when it happens every single day, without knowing it you’re conditioning your brain to get stuck in a rut. Once you’re there it’s hard to get out.

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Entrepreneurship is about getting out of your comfort zone every single day. The only thing that’s certain is that there will almost always be a new challenge to throw you off balance. If you don’t like that then the routine of a regular job probably suits you.

4. Have a high emotional intelligence

Being an entrepreneur is less about being smart and more about knowing how to manage your own emotions. Time and time again we see people who have no formal education coming out on top simply because they possess grit and the courage to keep the dream alive. While this might seem simple, it’s not easy. Think about Colonel Sanders trying to find a kitchen that would cook his Kentucky Fried Chicken. 1,009 times he was told “no” before he found a place that would accept his recipe, and now look at the legacy he has left: thousands of jobs and happy customers all over the world. He might not have considered himself an entrepreneur, but in every sense of the word, he was. Would you take 1,009 “no’s”? I’m not even sure I would. Think hard about this before you decide to venture out.

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5. Constantly having ideas of ways to improve existing products

I can’t help it. When I see products I have to analyze them and see whether they can be improved in some way, shape, or form. Sometimes it’s not even the product. It’s the marketing and advertising. If it’s done poorly and doesn’t accurately communicate the benefits it drives me up the wall. This circles back to a desire to understand people. If there’s no interest in people, there’s no interest in their problems. That’s reflected in the product. People don’t want something cool and shiny. They want their itches scratched.

6. Unafraid to lead, be unpopular, and buck the trend for the greater good

This is something a lot of people can’t handle. Too much of their self-worth rests in the basket of other peoples’ opinions. Of course, this is all in their heads; people will respect you more if you tell them “no” sometimes. The difference here is when you’re an entrepreneur and trying to change people’s opinions or behaviors, you’re doing it on scale which is exponentially more difficult. Entrepreneurs are about creating value through new concepts. Sometimes it takes months- maybe years- for acceptance of a concept. That’s why patience and perseverance in the face of rejection are important traits in entrepreneurs. If you aren’t able to do something by yourself for a period of time before it becomes popular, entrepreneurship may not be the right avenue for you.

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7. Great keeper of habits

Entrepreneurs are able to fall in love with boredom and compound consistent, hard work every day. Too often the romantic aspect of entrepreneurship is emphasized, while the hard work involved is overlooked. Yes, entrepreneurship can sometimes provide stomach flips but a lot of the work is also dull and uneventful. For example, you might do a lot of cold calling trying to find customers. Not only can this be nerve- wracking, it’s also dull. In the early days if it’s just you on your own, you might have to do a lot of the writing, coding, or designing yourself, which is hard work and can be monotonous. Entrepreneurship isn’t for people who can’t focus and stick to tasks. Keeping good habits is the fuel that supports the belief that you can create something worthwhile that will benefit society.

How many of these seven behaviors do you possess? Do they reaffirm that you are (or are not) a born entrepreneur?

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Last Updated on January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

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