Advertising
Advertising

3 Essential Actions for the New Entrepreneur

3 Essential Actions for the New Entrepreneur

    I recently delivered a keynote at a conference on modern entrepreneurship. A new entrepreneur asked me, “What three things do you think I should do to start a successful business?”

    While there are a million pieces of advice to give to any budding entrepreneur starting with a laundry list of books to read and people to speak with, and ending with  getting used to eating ramen for a year or two, below are the three essential actions that any new entrepreneur will need to truly flourish.

    Doing one of these things will help you succeed. Doing all three will turbo-charge your new business and set you on the path to success.

    Advertising

    1. Burn your ships

    Imagine for a second that you are a warrior and that you have just sailed to enemy territory. Moments before you begin your attack your commander says, “before we attack we must burn our ships!”

    How would you feel?

    If you’re anything like me you would feel terrified. And motivated. Suddenly, the only way you would return home safely was through victory.

    As a new entrepreneur, if you really want to succeed, then burn your ships. Resolve yourself to succeeding and eliminate all possible alternatives. Do not contact your old boss to see if you can come back. Do not toy with the idea of going back to school if you’re not cash flow positive after 6 months. Do not take a part time job that will make ends meet to relieve pressure. Instead take a loan and let the fear motivate you.

    Advertising

    Commit to your own success by burning all of your ships.

    2. Get a mentor

    Now that you have burnt your ships, add an essential person to your team: a mentor. A good mentor will show you how to navigate failure and speed up your success.

    How do you get a mentor? Think about where you want to be 10-20 years from now. Find someone who is there right now in your city and email him or her. Ask if you can take them out for coffee, lunch, breakfast, or anything that would be convenient for them for 15 minutes.

    Once you setup the meeting spend 80% of the time listening. Contact them again a few months later giving them an update on your work and ask for another meeting. Continue repeating this process until you have developed a stable relationship.

    Advertising

    3. Stay playful

    It’s trendy to tell new entrepreneurs that life is easy if you’re passionate and committed to your success. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s true. While entrepreneurship is incredibly rewarding, it’s also an uphill battle for the first year or so.

    The trick to surviving the turbulent start-up phase of business is to ensure that your life outside of your business is still playful and fun. Make sure that each week has at least one personal activity that you are truly looking forward to. This will revitalize you and give you more energy to channel into your startup.

    Besides, life is too short not to have fun along the way.

    Starting up is tough. In fact, most businesses bust before they ever even have the chance to become successful. Leverage the odds in your favor by burning your ships, getting a great mentor, and staying playful along the way.

    Advertising

    Good luck!

    (Photo credit: lamp head male writing something via Shutterstock)

    More by this author

    3 Essential Actions for the New Entrepreneur The Only 2 Tricks You Need for Maximum Productivity How to Feel Like You’re Running on Rocket Fuel

    Trending in Work

    1 9 Tips for Starting a New Job and Succeeding in Your Career 2 How to Make a Career Change at 50 for Great Opportunities 3 What Job Should You Have? 10 Questions to Help You Figure It Out 4 10 Ways to Find Your Dream Job 5 8 Characteristics of Entrepreneurship That Will Lead to Success

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on April 8, 2020

    9 Tips for Starting a New Job and Succeeding in Your Career

    9 Tips for Starting a New Job and Succeeding in Your Career

    Congratulations, you’re starting a new job! You’re feeling relieved that the interviews and the wait for a decision from the hiring manager is over, and you’ve finally signed the offer.

    Feelings of fear and anticipation may surface now as you think about starting work on Monday. Or you may feel really confident if you have plenty of work experience.

    Remember to not assume that your new work environment will be similar to previous ones. It’s very common for seasoned professionals to overestimate themselves due to the breadth of their experience.

    Companies offer different depths of on-boarding experiences.[1] Ultimately, success in your career depends on you.

    Below are 9 tips for starting a new job and succeeding in your career.

    1. Your Work Starts Before Your First Day

    When you prepared for your interview, you likely did some research about the company. Now it’s time to go more in depth.

    • How would your manager like you to prepare for your first day? What are his/her expectations?
    • What other information can your manager provide so that you can start learning more about the role or company?
    • What company policies or reports can you review that can get you acclimatized to your new job and work environment?

    You’ll need to embrace a lot of new people and information when you start your new job. What you learn before your first day at work can help you feel more grounded and prepare your mind to process new information.

    2. Know Your Role and the Organization

    Review the job posting and know your responsibilities. Sometimes, job postings are simplified versions of the job description. Ask your manager or human resources if there is a detailed job description of your role.

    Once you understand your key responsibilities and accountabilities, ask yourself:

    • What questions do you have about the role?
    • What information do you need to do your job effectively?
    • Who do you need to meet and start building relationships with?

    Continue to increase your knowledge and do your research through the company Intranet site, organizational charts, the media, LinkedIn profiles, the industry and who your company competitors are.

    Advertising

    This is not a one time event. Continue to do this throughout your time with the company. Every team or project you engage with will evolve and change.

    Keep current and be ready to adapt by using your observational skills to be aware of changes to your work environment and people’s behaviour.

    3. Learn the Unwritten Rules at Work

    Understanding your work culture is key to help you succeed in your career.

    Many of these unwritten rules will not be listed on company policies. This means you’ll need to use all of your senses to observe the environment and the people within it.

    What should you wear? See what your peers and leaders are wearing. Notice everything from their jewelry down to their shoes. Once you have a good idea of the dress code you can then infuse your own style.

    What are your hours of work? What do you notice about start, break and end times? Are your observations different from what you learned at the interview? What questions do you have based on your observations? Asking for clarity will help you make informed decisions and thrive in a new work setting.

    What are the main communication channels?[2] What communication mediums do people use (phone, email, in-person, video)? Does the medium change in different work situations? What is your manager’s communication style and preference? These observations will help you better navigate your work environment and thrive in the workplace.

    4. Be Mindful of Your Assumptions

    You got the job, you’re feeling confident and are eager to show how you can contribute. Check the type of language you are using when you’re approaching your work and sharing your experiences.

    I’ve heard many new employees say:

    • “I used to do this at ‘X’ company …”
    • “When I worked at “X” company we implemented this really effective process …”
    • “We did this at my other company … how come you guys are not …”
    • “Why are you doing that … we used to do this …”

    People usually don’t want to hear about your past company. The experiences that you had in the past are different in this new environment.

    Advertising

    Remember to:

    • Notice your assumptions
    • Focus on your own work
    • Ask questions, and
    • Learn more about the situation before offering suggestions.

    You can then better position yourself as a trusted resource that makes informed decisions tailored to business needs.

    5. Ask Questions and Seek Clarification

    Contrary to common belief, asking questions when you’re starting a new job is not a vulnerability.

    Asking relevant questions related to your job and the company:

    • Helps you clarify expectations
    • Shows that you’ve done your research
    • Demonstrates your initiative to learn

    Seeking to clarify and understand your environment and the people within it will help you become more effective at your job.

    6. Set Clear Expectations to Develop Your Personal Brand

    Starting a new job is the perfect time to set clear expectations with your manager and colleagues. Your actions and behaviors at work tells others about your work style and how you like to operate. So it’s essential to get clear on what feels natural to you at work and ensure that your own values are aligned with your work actions.

    Here are a few questions to reflect on so that you can clearly articulate your intentions and follow through with consistent actions:

    Where do you need to set expectations? Reflect on lessons learned from your previous work experiences. What types of expectations do you need to set so that you can succeed?

    Why are you setting these expectations? You’ll likely need to provide context and justify why you’re setting these boundaries. Are your expectations reasonable? What are the impacts on the business?

    What are your values? If you value work life balance, but you’re answering emails on weekends and during your vacation time, people will continue to expect this from you. What boundaries do you need to set for yourself at work?

    Advertising

    What do you want to be known for? This question requires some deep reflection. Do you want to be known as a leader who develops and empowers others? Maybe you want to be known for someone who creates an environment of respect where everyone can openly share ideas. Or maybe you want to be someone who challenges people to get outside their comfort zones?

    7. Manage Up, Down, and Across

    Understanding the work styles of those around you is key to a successful career. Particularly how you communicate and interact with your immediate manager.

    Here are a few key questions to consider:

    • How can you make your manager’s job easier?
    • What can you do to anticipate her/his needs?
    • How can you keep them informed (and prepared) so they don’t get caught off-guard?
    • What are your strengths? How can you communicate these to him/her so that they fully understand your capabilities?

    These questions can also apply if you manage a team or if you deal with multiple stakeholders.

    8. Build Relationships Throughout the Company

    It’s important to keep learning from diverse groups and individuals within the company. You’ll get different perspectives about the organization and others may be able to help you succeed in your role.

    What types of relationships do you need to build? Why are you building this relationship?

    Here are some examples of workplace relationships:

    • Immediate Manager. He/she controls your work assignments. The work can shape the success of your career.
    • Mentors. These are people who are knowledgeable about their field and the company. They are willing to share their experiences with you to help you navigate the workplace and even your career.
    • Direct Reports. Your staff can influence how successful you are at meeting your goals.
    • Mentees. They are another resource to help you keep informed about the organization and your opportunity to develop others.

    Other workplace relationships include team members, stakeholders, or strategic partners/sponsors that will advocate for your work.

    Learn more in this article: 10 Ways to Build Positive And Effective Work Relationships

    9. Keep in Touch With Those in Your Existing Network

    “Success isn’t about how much money you make; it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” – Michelle Obama

    You are part of an ecosystem that has gotten you to where you are today. Every single person and each moment that you have encountered with someone has shaped who you are – both positive and negative.

    Here’s How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life.

    Make sure you continue to nurture the relationships that you value and show gratitude to those who have helped you achieve your goals.

    Summing It Up

    There are many aspects of your career that you are in control of. Observe, listen, and make informed decisions. Career success depends on your actions.

    Remember to not assume that your new work environment will be similar to previous ones.

    Here are the 9 tips for starting a new job and succeeding in your career:

    1. Your Work Starts Before Your 1st Day
    2. Know Your Role and the Organization
    3. Learn the Unwritten Rules at Work
    4. Be Mindful of Your Assumptions
    5. Ask Questions and Seek Clarification
    6. Set Clear Expectations to Develop Your Personal Brand
    7. Manage Up, Down, and Across
    8. Build Relationships Throughout the Company
    9. Keep in Touch With Those in Your Existing Network

    Celebrate, enjoy your new role, and take good care of yourself!

    More Tips About Succeeding in Career

    Featured photo credit: Frank Romero via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next