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7 Success Hacks for Budding Entrepreneurs

7 Success Hacks for Budding Entrepreneurs

Being your own boss can be both fun and rewarding but don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t hard work. Several years back I started my very first business, and the memories are still as vivid today as when it happened.

Indeed, I can recall the feeling that I had after filing my articles of incorporation with the Secretary of State. It was like, ‘So now that it’s official, what do I do now?’ Fortunately, I was very lucky to have made mistakes early enough to catch them and make my corrections. But it wasn’t easy. However, the good news is that today I’m going to let you know everything I wish I’d known then about what to do after starting a business. Let’s get started!

After you officially launch your business, it won’t be long before you find yourself wondering what to do next. If your launch is anything like mine, the weird thing about trying to map out a game plan isn’t necessarily that you don’t have anything to do. You might even find that there’s so much that just trying to decide what to do first triggers analysis paralysis.

If I could do it all over again here’s how I’d tackle my new business checklist.

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1. Ready Yourself for Growth and Success

While on the face of it managing growth might either

a) seem like a great problem to have or

b) like the type of problem that you only worry about when you’re actually facing it.

Nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, the irony of it is that quick, unexpected sales growth could be just as detrimental to your business as no revenues at all! If it all sounds a bit far-fetched, consider this news from one of the most widely recognized business publications in the world – the Harvard Business Review – which cited the inability to handle growth as one of the biggest problems faced by new businesses. To support this observation, they referenced several examples of startups who hurt themselves by not responding adequately to the unexpected growth.

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Here’s what you need to know about growth hacking for the unexpected.

If you haven’t already done so, you’ll want to be 100% certain that your method of production can be scaled; this applies both to companies who supply products or services. One way you can tell if you’re sufficiently capable of handling rapid growth is to ask yourself if your current production process could withstand 100 more orders – should they come in right now. If the answer is no, then you know that you need to scale your production procedure.

2. Have a Sales Team in Place

If you run a sales driven company, it’s critical that you find ways to generate sales – day in and day out. Without a doubt having a knowledgeable sales force in place to close deals is one of the best ways to achieve regular sales.

3. Become an Expert in Your Market

If you have a sound understanding of the fundamentals that drive sales for your industry, you’ll be in a position to stay a step ahead of the competition. One way to do this is to stay plugged into what’s going on in the industry. Of course, if you have an internet connection, it is remarkably easy to follow the trends that matter.

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While not everyone wants to prepare themselves to be ready for the worst, so many new companies go out of business because they weren’t ready to experience success.

4. Don’t Over-Rely on Your Company Launch for Sales

It’s so easy to adopt the mindset that your launch buzz will follow you into the post-launch phase. However, remember that this does not have to be the case and it usually isn’t. In fact, after that first round of PR wears off, you should prepare yourself to fight for every second or word of publicity that you receive.

Sadly, that initial buzz will wear off quicker than you think, so be ready. Another thing is that the sooner you internalize your new business’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP), the faster you can position yourself for long-term growth. Here are some things you can do to keep the sales rolling in longer after your initial launch.

Hire a professional sales person. Thanks to sites like Upwork and Freelancer, finding top sales talent is closer within reach than you probably thought. Nonetheless, it’s critical that you remember ever to be on the lookout for good talent in this area, as you never know when you may need to hire another sales person. Upon finding your sales pro, be prepared to train and equip them with a realistic quota.

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5. Maintain a Positive Outlook

Once you fully transition from being a startup to being a full-fledged business with a track record under your belt, it’s important that you maintain your enthusiasm. Why? There will be days where things simply don’t go your way and when they come it’s essential that you meet them head on.

6. Consistently Seek New Networking Opportunities

While you may have a core of customers that keeps the gears churning for your business, you never want to rely on them as you never know when they might disappear. The key to not being too dependent on long-standing customers is to acquire new customers on a regular basis.

So let this be a reminder always to be selling. But it won’t happen unless you make sales the focus of your business. And remember, it doesn’t matter how much success you’ve already achieved, so long as you intend to stay in business, you should always be bringing new customers onboard.

7. Additional Considerations for Your Startup

  • Connect with Like-minded People Online: Building a business can get lonely sometimes. Things can get so quiet that if you’re not careful, you could find yourself drifting into depression. One way to offset this is to find a community of others in your field that you can reach out to when you want to talk. An added benefit of employing this strategy is that it can sometimes help you find new customers as every now and then you may stumble across someone who refers you business because they’re too busy to take on new work.
  • Banking: Banking is something that you want to establish even before you start your business. If you haven’t already had an opportunity to build a banking relationship, now is the time to do so.
  • Decide Whether an Office is Necessary: Unlike years past where not having an office meant that you might not be taken seriously, in the present day and age, many businesses opt for a virtual presence. So depending on your market, a physical presence may not be necessary. However, if you work in an industry where your audience expects you to have a storefront or physical location, just know that there are options. For example, if you’re on a shoe-string budget, you can rent a shared space or something similar.
  • Establish a Web Presence. If you’re still using a free email provider for your email address, please stop as this is one of the best ways to brand yourself as a newcomer. Instead, get a branded email. They are now easier than ever to get and are often very affordable. The same can be said of your website. If you don’t already have a site, go ahead and build or order one now. In fact, even if you’re low on funds and don’t possess web design experience, starting a website has never been easier as most website builder platforms allow you to drag and drop.

There you have it. While this list certainly wasn’t meant to be comprehensive, it at least covers the key areas. Armed with this list of ‘to dos’ you should now have a clear idea of what to do next.

Featured photo credit: readbrightly.com via readbrightly.com

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

If you spend any time at all researching life hacks, you’ve probably heard of the famous Pomodoro Technique.

Created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique is one of the more popular time management life hacks used today. But this method isn’t for everyone, and for every person who is a passionate adherent of the system, there is another person who is critical of the results.

Is the Pomodoro Technique right for you? It’s a matter of personal preference. But if you are curious about the benefits of using the technique, this article will break down the basic information you will need to decide if this technique is worth trying out.

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management philosophy that aims to provide the user with maximum focus and creative freshness, thereby allowing them to complete projects faster with less mental fatigue.

The process is simple:

For every project throughout the day, you budget your time into short increments and take breaks periodically.

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You work for 25 minutes, then take break for five minutes.

Each 25-minute work period is called a “pomodoro”, named after the Italian word for tomato. Francesco Cirillo used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato as his personal timer, and thus the method’s name.

After four “pomodoros” have passed, (100 minutes of work time with 15 minutes of break time) you then take a 15-20 minute break.

Every time you finish a pomodoro, you mark your progress with an “X”, and note the number of times you had the impulse to procrastinate or switch gears to work on another task for each 25-minute chunk of time.

How the Pomodoro Technique boosts your productivity

Frequent breaks keep your mind fresh and focused. According to the official Pomodoro website, the system is easy to use and you will see results very quickly:

“You will probably begin to notice a difference in your work or study process within a day or two. True mastery of the technique takes from seven to twenty days of constant use.”

If you have a large and varied to-do list, using the Pomodoro Technique can help you crank through projects faster by forcing you to adhere to strict timing.

Watching the timer wind down can spur you to wrap up your current task more quickly, and spreading a task over two or three pomodoros can keep you from getting frustrated.

The constant timing of your activities makes you more accountable for your tasks and minimizes the time you spend procrastinating.

You’ll grow to “respect the tomato”, and that can help you to better handle your workload.

Successful people who love it

Steven Sande of The Unofficial Apple Weblog is a fan of the system, and has compiled a great list of Apple-compatible Pomodoro tools.

Before he started using the technique, he said,

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“Sometimes I couldn’t figure out how to organize a single day in my calendar, simply because I would jump around to all sorts of projects and never get even one of them accomplished.”

Another proponent of the Pomodoro Technique is Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal. Shellenbarger tried out this system along with several other similar methods for time management, and said,

“It eased my anxiety over the passing of time and also made me more efficient; refreshed by breaks, for example, I halved the total time required to fact-check a column.”

Any cons for the Pomodoro Technique?

Despite the number of Pomodoro-heads out there, the system isn’t without its critics. Colin T. Miller, a Yahoo! employee and blogger, tried using the Pomodoro Technique and had some issues:[1]

“Pomodoros are an all or nothing affair. Either you work for 25 minutes straight to mark your X or you don’t complete a pomodoro. Since marking that X is the measurable sign of progress, you start to shy away from engaging in an activity if it won’t result in an X. For instance…meetings get in the way of pomodoros. Say I have a meeting set for 4:30pm. It is currently 4:10pm, meaning I only have 20 minutes between now and the meeting…In these instances I tend to not start a pomodoro because I won’t have enough time to complete it anyway.”

Another critic is Mario Fusco, who argues that the Pomodoro Technique is…well…sort of ridiculous:[2]

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“Aren’t we really able to keep ourselves concentrated without a timer ticketing on our desk?… Have you ever seen a civil engineer using a timer to keep his concentration while working on his projects?… I think that, like any other serious professional, I can stay concentrated on what I am doing for hours… Bring back your timer to your kitchen and start working in a more professional and effective way.”

Conclusion

One of the best things about the Pomodoro Technique is that it’s free. Yeah, you can fork over some bills to get a tomato-shaped timer if you want… or you can use any timer program on your computer or phone. So even if you try it and hate it, you haven’t lost any cash.

The process isn’t ideal for every person, or in any line of work. But if you need a systematic way to tackle your daily to-do list, the Pomodoro Technique may fit your needs.

If you want to learn more about the Pomodoro Technique, check out this article: How to Make the Pomodoro Technique More Productive

Reference

[1] Aspirations of a Software Developer: A Month of the Pomodoro Technique
[2] InfoQ: A Critique of the Pomodoro Technique

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