For you entrepreneurs who are just getting started, I’ve gathered nine surprising tips from leading entrepreneurs. While these tips may be unexpected or even strange, rest assured these people have learned from experience.
Number One: Health First
Prioritize sleep and eat a healthy diet. This means eating high quality, non-processed food. You should even put your health above deadlines. A peak performing entrepreneur will allow a PR deadline to be an hour late, but won’t allow sleep or diet to suffer.
They know three days of bad sleep and three days of bad eating results in five days of bad performance, which is far more expensive than that one hour it would take to get back on track.
Number Two: Know Your Mission
Stand firm in what you value and why you’re doing what you’re doing, but be flexible about how to do it.
As an example, a peak performing entrepreneur starts out with a greater mission, but will actively seek out people who are wiser and smarter to help decide what the most effective way of accomplishing that mission is, and what the best approaches are for accomplishing their goals.
Number Three: Build Something First, Be Unique Second
Enter a crowded room. Peak performing entrepreneurs build products and services with lots of competition and then once they are in that crowded room, they look for the opportunity to be unique.
Entrepreneurs who are not peak performing often look to be unique first and do something no one else is doing. Then once they’ve chosen their niche, they try to apply best practices from everyone else to make it successful. That doesn’t tend to work.
All the best ideas have already been thought of. So pick something that other people are already trying to accomplish and use what’s unique about you to accomplish it better, more efficiently, and more effectively.
Number Four: Hire Your Friends
Conventional wisdom says to keep personal and business life separate and that nepotism is a bad thing. But peak performing entrepreneurs know that the most important element on any team is trust, and the people they trust most are their friends and family.
Of course, you never hire someone who’s incapable of doing the job just because you like them, but top entrepreneurs look for the job qualifications they need amongst their best friends and start there.
Number Five: Lead by Doing
There’s so much attention paid to leadership for entrepreneurs. How to inspire other people and what kinds of communication styles are most effective. But on a small team, which is usually what an entrepreneur has, the most effective way to lead someone is to do the same thing that you’d like them to do. Literally lead by example.
Any time you want your team to behave differently, look for ways you can behave differently first and then communicate your expectations.
Number Six: Set Side Projects Aside
Drop your side projects. Your excitement about a side project is in direct proportion to your lack of belief in your main project. Every idea that you have that’s worthy of being a $100 million plus company is worthy of 100% of your time and focus. If that feels like a sacrifice to you, then that means your idea isn’t well formed enough yet.
If you’ve got five things on your plate, practice dropping some of them and revamping your number one idea to make it deserve more of your time.
Number Seven: Every Relationship Counts
Peak performing entrepreneurs treat every relationship like it could lead to the most important connection. Be respectful and curious about what every person you meet might have to offer you and what you might offer them.
Number Eight: Remove, Reduce, Re-Use
Reduce the variables. We all have a limited tolerance for uncertainty in our lives. The more you can lock down your morning routine, your work schedule, the amount of time you devote to email, the wardrobe that you wear, the location of your work, the variety of questions and demands that customers and team members place on you, the more leftover willpower you have to apply to the really hard questions, like what business are we in and how can we give more value to every customer?
Many peak performing entrepreneurs adhere to rigid guidelines for themselves around diet, orderliness of their workspace, and I even know some who wear the same two shirts again and again just to remove variables.
Number Nine: Maintain Momentum
The last tip is that momentum is more important than direction. Pay attention to the momentum of your team, customers, partners, and how your interactions with them affect that momentum. Notice when a new idea kills the forward momentum for the next two days. Notice when your feedback or criticism kills momentum.
It’s much easier to turn a ship that’s running at full speed than it is to turn one that’s standing still.