In the current climate, business start-ups are the most popular form of new job creation, with 2013 having seen a record number of new businesses launched. Now in 2014, thanks in no small part to government schemes that aim to support budding entrepreneurs; the number is set to increase yet again.
If you are among those that have made the decision to venture out on your own, you've undoubtedly read a ton of fantastic materials offering practical advice on how to make your business work. However, being a successful entrepreneur is more than just about having an amazing idea and writing a complimentary business plan; it's also about taking the right approach to tuning your mind and body for success. For tips on how to prepare for the latter, read on.
Work on being mentally strong
John F. Kennedy once said that "the human mind is our greatest resource." For entrepreneurs, arguably, the sentiment found in this quote applies to an even greater extent.
In discussions around the qualities that make an excellent entrepreneur, the possession of psychological characteristics such as grit, tenacity and unfailing optimism are frequently cited as being more important than an actual business idea itself. Whilst many believe that only people who are born with these skills can become entrepreneurs, others such as Amy Morin believe that anybody can work on building better mental strength.
Morin, a licenced clinical worker, who also works as a psychological instructor, has outlined five exercises that anyone can and should use if they want to improve their mental strength. Collectively, the focus of the exercises is to learn how you can control, manage and recognise your thoughts and thought processes, so that you able to stay positive and find the courage to strive for success.
Learn to embrace mistakes
Even the best and most successful entrepreneurs make mistakes. Henry ford, before going on to make the Ford Motor Company the success it was, failed not once, but twice. Richard Branson, one of the most famous and successful entrepreneurs, has made a string of mistakes within his business career which have led to a series of failures.
As an entrepreneur starting out, mistakes are going to be par for the course. And as an unavoidable occurrence, you'll simply have to learn to embrace them. If you are able to do this effectively or not will most likely come down to an extension of your ability to remain mentally strong, so that when mistakes do occur you don’t let them put you off your stride.
Mistakes will happen, but as long as you learn from them and don't make the same one over and over, they can be used to your advantage. Something that is possible to succinctly sum up by using Henry Ford for reference again, as he once said, "Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement.”
Make sure that you get the required amount of rest
In research released by the call handling firm, Penelope, entrepreneurs work 63% more than the average worker. In empirical terms this equates to an average of 52 hours a week for the entrepreneur in comparison to just 37 for the average worker. Whilst it remains true that if you're not prepared to put the hard work in you probably shouldn't be opening your own business, it's still important that you strike the correct balance between work and rest.
The main cognitive functions that the majority of us need to perform the entrepreneurial functions of our own business start-ups such as planning, problem solving and lateral thinking are performed by the prefrontal cortex section of the brain.
In a brain that is well rested, the prefrontal cortex consumes a disproportionately high amount of the energy that is reserved for the cerebral area. In a brain that isn't so well rested, the energy that is otherwise used in the prefrontal cortex needs to be directed elsewhere in order to perform other basic functions such as breathing and swallowing.
In short, if you're not getting enough sleep than your brain will not have the energy to function to the best of its ability. In this case, the extra hours you think are boosting the chances of your start-up being a success are being spent on work that cannot be produced to the highest standard because you are not getting enough rest for your brain to allow it.
A healthy amount of sleep is considered to be between seven and eight hours a night; most entrepreneurs have between five and six. If you want to maintain a high standard of concentration throughout the working week, then you should consider readdressing the balance.
Eat healthy and make time for exercise
As well as making sure you get enough sleep, eating correctly and ensuring you are physically fit are two important components in the toolbox of the successful entrepreneur. There are a multitude of tactics and techniques that you could explore to achieve this, and they all centre on diet and exercise.
In terms of diet, avoiding processed foods as much as possible is recommended; fill your plate with vegetables, supplement your coffee breaks with fruit rather than biscuits and make sure you get enough protein through good quality meats. Walking is an excellent form of exercise, so leave your car behind whenever possible and use your legs instead. If you're more ambitious, you could try running, cycling or gym work, but the most important thing is that you your regime match physical activity guidelines for adults.
Create an environment conducive for work
In the current climate of new start-ups reaching record numbers, as many as 40% are running their businesses from home. If you are running your start-up from home, creating an environment that is conducive for work is the most important thing you can do for keeping your mind focussed on success.
Almost every homeworker will agree that at some point their work has been interrupted by one of a myriad of distractions found within the homestead. For this reason, you will need to find a solution for creating your own space that keeps you away from the TV, that pile of ironing or an excitable child vying for your attention.
Using one room in your house as a dedicated office is one possible answer. However, if you have the space and budget, creating your own garden office presents an even better solution. Ideal for providing the space that will keep your family and work life apart, the type of garden offices that are now available on the market come complete with all the features you will need to successfully run your start-up from home.
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