Starting up and running your own small business opens a lot of doors, and can be the gateway to all sorts of incredible adventures, and productive life paths.
But, as everyone knows, running a small business isn’t easy, and requires an often-extraordinary amount of hard work, focus, and dedication over a prolonged period of time.
All of this is complicated by the fact that small businesses – in fact, the business world in general – are inherently chaotic, and it’s difficult to predict just how things are going to stand on any given day or to foresee what sorts of mishaps and challenges will present themselves to you.
There’s no real way of escaping the naturally chaotic nature of business. Instead, becoming a successful entrepreneur is largely a matter of learning from the challenges that confront you, the blunders you make, and adapting your strategy on the fly.
Still, there are certain things you can do to reduce the inherent chaos of running a small business and to make the process significantly more manageable. Here are a few tips.
Use tools that help to bundle together different tasks and streamline them
As an entrepreneur, you will typically find that there are an extraordinary number of things that you have to deal with at any given moment, and that spending all your time putting out fires and micromanaging things is a great way of burning yourself out, and ensuring that you have far too little time at your disposal to spend on the “big picture” decisions and considerations that will have the greatest impact on your professional life.
Fortunately, we live in a time when all sorts of digital tools are available to bundle together different tasks and streamline them efficiently, so that you can do more of the “admin stuff” with a couple of keystrokes, as opposed to intensive number crunching, and restless nights.
Square, for example, is a service that allows you to take easy card payments, send invoices, gather analytics, and more, without having to hop between half a dozen different programs and systems.
A great way of combating the chaos that you encounter in your professional life is to use advanced tools and systems that can act as surrogate additional employees on your behalf.
Structure your days mercilessly on a calendar, and hold fast to a regular routine
Many people are driven to pursue entrepreneurial careers, in part, because they hate having to abide by the timetables, rules, and expectations that are inherent in most conventional working arrangements.
An important point to realize, however, is that you don’t get to live a structure-free life as an entrepreneur – at least, not if you want to be successful, withstand the challenges that come your way, and enjoy any degree of longevity.
Rather, you have to become your own boss and impose a pretty merciless structure and yourself, as a way of setting certain parameters and ringing off an area that you can then focus on in a deliberate, consistent, and careful manner.
One of the great tips that frequently gets shared around by some of the most successful business figures of the last century, is to use a daily calendar in order to schedule and “time block” everything you want to do any given day. Then, once you have set up your daily schedule, you need to hold yourself to it quite mercilessly.
The more structured things are in your professional life, the more systematically you can develop your business, address issues as they arise, and maybe even maintain a bit of work-life balance, too.
Commit to doing fewer things, but do them better
Any chaos that is present in your professional life will only expand dramatically if you try to do too many things at once. Companies who try to please everyone, and cover every conceivable corner of the market, invariably end up spreading themselves too thin and collapsing under the intolerable number of things they have to pay attention to.
Success in an entrepreneurial venture largely relies on your ability to “simplify” things (but not make them “easy.”) You should have a clear idea of what it is you need to be working on each day when you get up, and you should be able to dedicate the majority of your time and energy to one or two key tasks, instead of 30 or 40 smaller ones.
Commit to doing fewer things, but do then better. Be a specialist, rather than attempting to be a generalist. This will help to illuminate the path ahead and allow you to disregard most of the distractions that arise.