What is something you make sure you do every single day in your business and why?
StartupNation asked 15 successful entrepreneurs what they make absolutely sure to do everyday and why. The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
1. Check in With Employees
I believe it is very important to know how your employees feel about what they are doing and for them to understand how it is crucial for the continued success of the company. Asking them how they are doing on a regular basis is important because more often than not, they have opinions about what they see the company doing, and it’s important for them to express those ideas and thoughts.
2. Work on the Business, Not in It
I make sure that most of my day is filled with tasks that are moving the company toward its long-term vision. A day where tasks were completed that weren’t part of that vision is a day that I feel unproductive. Make sure you allocate time and brain power to work on the future and not the present — especially if you have already trained someone to do that for you.
3. Do the Thing You Don’t Want to Do
We all know it, but few of us have the courage to face it: there are some things that would grow our business if we honestly saw and took action on them. We’d move to another level. We’d stop floundering and start really gaining momentum. Every day, I try to make a habit of looking at what I most want to ignore and taking action on it.
4. Personally Greet Every Employee
Every day, before I dig into my own work, I walk around my office and greet each of my employees personally. This demonstrates that I care about them, and that I value the work they do. Over the years, this small action has helped me build tremendous employee loyalty. I highly recommend it!
5. Talk to a Customer
Even if it’s just a five-minute touchpoint, I make sure to interact with at least one customer every day. Call a prospective customer and sell to them. Listen to their needs and objections. Call a current customer, thank them, and ask what you can do to serve them better. It’s best to build intuition and frame each day in the context of who you are ultimately serving.
6. Encourage an Employee
Employees are the backbone of a great company. They represent your brand to the outside world: clients, companies and strangers on the street. Encouraging employees, whether in their business or personal life, goes a long way in staying motivated as a team. It’s a simple act that takes a few minutes and will repay an entrepreneur tenfold.
7. Update the Team
Every single day, something should happen. There should never be a day when you walk away and think to yourself, “I am exactly where I was at the end of yesterday.” Something good should happen that you can build off of or something bad should happen that you can learn from. Either way, it is essential the whole team knows so everyone can learn and improve together.
8. Evaluate Priorities
Every day I look at what I’m doing, and I make sure that I’m working on something that is the highest priority and will cause a major change in our business. The last thing I want to do is realize weeks, months or years later that I went down the wrong path and wasted that time. I go through my to-do list and pick out the ones that really matter almost multiple times a day.
9. Decide What Not to Do
Every single day I decide what I’m NOT going to do. You have to take the time to prioritize the things that matter most and avoid the things that aren’t the absolute best use of your time.
10. Avoid Email to Get Important Things Done
Checking email periodically during the day isn’t the best use of my time because it takes too long to start back up on important tasks. Before I check email, I write down two important things to get done that day. I get at least one of them done before checking any email. I’ll get the next thing done, check email again for the last time that day and move on to whatever is next.
11. Huddle the Team
Every day we have a quick, high-energy team huddle to go over the company’s numbers, what’s working and what’s not. We air frustrations and praise team members who have stepped up to help the team. Every single team member is invited; it helps build cohesion, put everyone on the same page and get the energy levels up for the day.
12. Identify 3 Victories
At the end of almost every day, I write down three good things that happened and why they happened. These “victories” aren’t necessarily major wins — just reminders of the progress my company is making. By writing them down, it reinforces my commitment to my work. Also, acknowledging why the “good” occurred allows me to identify actions that lead to successful outcomes.
13. Focus on Revenue-Generating Tasks Each Morning
A business mentor of mine told me something I’ll never forget. He told me that before I get lost in my inbox or shuffle through team meetings and one-to-ones to focus two hours of each morning solely on revenue-generating action items. I do this to this day, and I believe it helps not only keep things on track, but also keeps me out of the weeds during the times when I am most productive.
14. Answer Every Email
I try to answer every email or pass it on to an employee for next steps by the end of the day. My clients are important to me, and I don’t want them to have to wait on important issues. Sometimes it means cleaning out my inbox late at night after my kids are asleep and before I head to bed. But all day, generally, I’m checking my email on my Blackberry or iPad between meetings and while traveling.
15. Lighten the Mood
Marketing and advertising agencies are under a lot of pressure to meet the “I need this ASAP” requests (and a lot of them can be pretty bizarre). I try to remind everyone that we’ve done it before, and we can do it again. In the process, I may or may not put on a wolverine costume.