7 Startup Habits

Posted: June 3, 2012 by Bill Cunningham in Leadership, People, Planning, Startup

Getting started in business is a lot more work than running the business. That’s why 50% of the potential entrepreneurs never act upon their great. You need to look inward to find the courage and strength to “Take that job and shove it.” Sometimes, however, a little external inspiration justifies your perspiration and reduces the FUD factors — FEAR, UNCERTAINTY and DOUBT.

Using Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, let’s build a list of ideas to get that business launched!

Be Proactive!

  • Get started today – what have you got to lose – the only thing you will be waiting for is your competition getting ahead of you.
  • Don’t worry about your business plan (just yet), but tell the story of your new venture. Visualization helps you determine your goals.

Begin with the End in Mind!
Habit #2 requires imagination and creativity and a willing suspension of your judgment (your brain tends to resist change and gives you many reasons not to do this — don’t listen!)

  • Act like you have achieved your goals. Not in a gloating way, but carry the confidence you imagine when  you will have when you achieved your goals. Imagine yourself as a successful online apparel entrepreneur, then people sense your confidence and expertise!
  • Don’t skimp or cut corners if you wouldn’t do it later. Prevention beats remedies every time.

Put First Things First!
Number 3 means you have to make choices — and you must choose the most important ones, not the most urgent ones.

  • Decide what factors are the most critical to the success of your venture — then just do them and them alone!
  • Don’t respond to the urgent things, unless they are important. It takes willpower to decide and choose – so just do it.

Think Win/Win!
The fourth habit creates positive aura in your venture — showing the “abundance mentality” of creating value making everyone a winner.

  • Create the attitude in your culture where everyone wins in the organization if every one is winning! Don’t create zero-sum activities with your employees, your customers or your suppliers.
  • Customers who become winners with your help will never forget you!

Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood!
More simply said “Listen before you speak” Understanding your customer (or your employee, or your spouse) enables you to more effectively communicate — thus you will be better understood.

  • Create opportunities for listening in every part of the business – customer service, accounting, manufacturing, sales and marketing.
  • Let everyone know your company listens by responding. People who feel they have been heard increase their sense of worth and purpose. Wouldn’t you like to be the cause of that?

Synergize!
The sixth habit simply says “You can’t do it all by yourself.”

  • Look for complementary talent — don’t hire everyone like yourself (a common entrepreneurial disease.)
  • Look for ways to partner with other firms — you don’t have to do everything yourself. When you are just starting, it is better to have the best team doing the work part-time.

Sharpen the Saw!
The last habit keeps you from going stale. Buddy LaRosa says “Make your good better and your better best” You need to keep ahead of the pack (or the scenery never changes.)

  • Plan for reinventing, reorganizing and rejuvenating your business.
  • Do the same thing for yourself and your employees.

Abraham Lincoln once said “If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I would spend the first four hours sharpening the saw.

The list is long and the road is distant – but the journey is the reward! Enjoy the ride!

Bill Cunningham is the CEO of OneMorePallet.com and shop foreman at the Greater Cincinnati Venture Association.

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