“If you're not getting better, you're getting worse.” – Pat Riley
One of the hardest parts about being an entrepreneur is continually making progress. I struggle with it just as much as anyone. And while your “competitors” are always improving to catch up to or pass you, you cannot afford do go long periods of time staying the same or regressing.
Whether you have a YouTube channel, restaurant, freelance business, etc., it is a grind just to make a little more money this year than last year.
Being an entrepreneur who's had his fair share of struggles, I've spent a lot of time succeeding and failing to make continuous progress over time.
I've also read about other people's experiences as well which is something I believe all of us business owners (and employees) should be doing.
So, after years of building a business and reading on the subject, here are the 5 main factors I believe we can boil progress down to:
If you don't constantly read about, listen to, or watch people who have already done something similar to what you want to do, your progress, if any, will be very slow.
Studying the success and failures of others is one of the best ways to speed up our progress in any area, because it saves us from having to spend more time doing what doesn't work.
So, you might want to do what many of the most successful people in the world do and read a little every day.
Mainly, focus on learning about human psychology, general business principles, and the particular field you're trying to succeed in.
Knowledge and experience are what help you become good at things. Experience comes from doing something yourself.
So, to make the most progress, you need to spend a lot of time working on what you need to be good at.
In many cases, you will have to start out doing almost everything yourself as a small business owner before you can start getting help. This isn't a bad thing by any means either.
By doing almost everything yourself in the beginning, you learn what it takes to do all aspects of your business well, which will serve you well when getting help later.
No matter how much help you have though, you still need to keep taking action to improve progress s quickly as possible. All that changes is what actions you yourself will focus on.
One of the things that is most difficult in any business is removing yourself as a bottleneck. In other words, as your business grows, you will eventually get to a point where you cannot do everything yourself manually anymore.
There;s a famous principle abut business that basically states, “You must work on your business, not in your business.” This means, as the owner, you should be focusing on the grande vision and big decisions, not the day-to-day tasks.
With automation, you can use technology to make your business much easier to run. In fact, this what a lot of “solopreneurs” that don't have employees do.
To keep costs down, you may want to look at software, apps, code, browser extensions, bots, and templates to help get tedious, low-level tasks done before hiring others.
You might surprised how far technology has come and how much you can actually automate.
Another thing you need to do is always track what is working and what isn't. You do this with analytics, split tests, etc. As you take action, you should also be experimenting with new methods that have a good chance of improving your business.
As you experiment and take action, you will find that some things just aren't worth the time. Maybe a certain social media platform just doesn't work well with your type of business.
Maybe your audience would rather read your blog posts than listen to you on a podcast. There are many things that are just a waste of time and money that you have to identify.
So, with those things, don't just try to automate them, eliminate them altogether. You want to run your business as lean as possible.
Technology is great, but sometimes you just need a human touch. For instance, you need people for writing blog posts, doing graphic design, making changes to your website, serving food in restaurants, etc.
Technology just doesn't do everything well. So, if something needs to be done, you either do it yourself, automate it, or delegate it to someone else.
If you are at the point where your time is too valuable to spend on lower level tasks and you can't effectively automate it with tech, find a freelancer, firm, or employee to do it.
Just make sure that what they do is necessary for the business and their return on investment is a lot more than what they charge.
If you can master these 5 things, you can rapidly increase your progress with just about any business, as long as you keep putting out quality products and services that help or entertain people.
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