Stefano Virgilli –
Time is the key asset that an entrepreneur should value sometimes even more than money. With regards to time, there are three specific habits that successful entrepreneurs regularly implement in their daily routine.
SPEED OF EXECUTION
All successful entrepreneurs seem to have a proactive approach to virtually any task. In other words they seldom procrastinate. Because they are able to see the big picture and less tendency to micro-manage, successful entrepreneurs see value in quickly completing tasks as individual items, so that the entire system in place can move smoothly. They usually see no obstacles in implementing rapidly, unlike unsuccessful people, who generally speaking tend to postpone even the easiest tasks.
In business, some expectations require fast response. For example setting up a meeting with a potential client in another country. Although I am not advocating jumping around the world talking to cold leads, it is crucial that when we have a warm or hot prospect, we immediately book a flight and get ready for paying a visit.
Speed of execution comes handy also in learning processes. A successful person may independently set learning routines finalised to the completion of a larger goal. For instance he or she could resolve to learn a new language and committing to a daily routine of a certain number of new words per day. This type of habit shows both speed of execution as well as the next of the habits that I wish to describe in this column:
METHODICAL TIME MANAGEMENT
A successful person avoids distractions at all costs. If you have the chance to look at the cellphone of a successful entrepreneur, unlikely you would find videogame installed. At the same time their social media presence could be quite scarce. They certainly place “browsing” as a very low priority in their daily schedule. Many of them do not browse at all. In other words, they make excellent use of the daily 24 hours, minimising or cancelling distractions while maximising productivity.
In the previous example, with regards to learning a new language, a successful person would want to get the task done as soon as possible in the day, so that focus can be placed on other activities.
On the other side of the spectrum, unsuccessful people give way to pretty much anything during the day. So even when they begin with good intentions, they end up changing the plan along the way. For example, while working at an important letter, they might get distracted and stop working simply because a friend commented on one of their pictures on Instagram. What is particularly unproductive about such behaviour, is that many think they are actually working while browsing social media stories, whereas in fact it is just another form of entertainment. Successful people know how to have fun and enjoy entertainment too, but they are able to draw a definite line between business and fun.
TAKING ACTION UNDER UNCERTAIN CONDITIONS
Micromanagement in general, in my humble opinion, is one of the worst enemies of dynamic business. Those companies that spend too much time handling small matters tend to face financial troubles when the market is unfavourable. Tough times are hard for everyone, especially when uncertainty kicks in. I have lived such scenario in the Middle East when oil price lost nearly $100 in a short period of time. The marketplace paralysed. Consumer confidence dropped and companies stopped spending or investing. This is usually the perfect growth opportunity for those successful people who can stand stress and uncertainty by thinking out of the box and taking massive action.
My most successful business was set up a few months after the 2008 financial crisis kicked in. While many held onto their savings, I used some little cash amount to launch an innovative business model in a relatively old and stagnant service industry. Needless to say, my ability to take action during uncertainty rewarded my efforts abundantly.
Coming to think about it, usually business disputes between partners, customers and vendors, are mostly due to mismatching expectations about timing. Partners could become upset when one is committing less time than the other. Customers could get upset when the products or the services are not readily delivered in time. Vendors could become snappy when customers are slow in approving purchase and in managing projects processes. Hence, implementing the routines described in this column can help almost everyone doing business with more ease.