Daily Routines and The Stages of Business

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A question that I noticed pop up a lot when speaking with entrepreneurs is about how to stay productive or how to manage time wisely.

After getting variations of the same questions, I decided to write these posts so I could refer people to it:

http://ruizhidong.com/5-roadblocks-to-productivity/

http://ruizhidong.com/6-time-management-hacks/

Since then, I’ve made some changes to my habits and my business, and the role of creativity in everyday entrepreneurial life has become far more important than I initially gave it credit for. But what you do as an entrepreneur on a daily basis will vary according to the nature of your business and the stage that your business is at. What you should be doing as an entrepreneur at the start will differ a lot from wha

The Cycle of Business

When you start your business, you usually go through the grind. You typically don’t have much capital when you first start up so you have to do a lot of things yourself, or with your business partner (if you have one), and the amount of work you do is usually correlated in some way with the amount of sales you generate.

Once you get over the grind and you start building income, effective business owners start to delegate. You stop trying to do everything yourself. You build teams, systems, processes. Ineffective ones will try to do everything themselves or micromanage which in most cases will leave people burned out. Through our experience as entrepreneurs, we associate being busy with being productive, so most entrepreneurs will do this quite naturally and this usually requires entrepreneurs to make a mental shift for the necessary adjustments.

Graduating to the Next Level

Once you’ve got systems in place, processes documented, and effective people working for you, your role shifts from managing everything to managing only key parts of the business such as HR, marketing, strategy, and risk.

You spend more time working “on the business” rather than “in the business”. You can disconnect from the business when you need to. You spend more time learning and figuring out where your biggest value add in the business is, where you can make the biggest impact.

This is an ongoing process that’s going to take some time and effort. Obviously the business will need cash to sustain this effort as well as itself, whether in the form of sales or investor money. For self-funded or boot-strapped businesses, the shift to the next level will usually start happening at around the 6 or 7 figure level in annual sales though if you live in somewhere like Vietnam, I suppose you could start doing this with less income.

Spurring Boredom and Creativity

Laziness is the first step towards efficiency. – Patrick Bennett

Growing up in Sydney, Australia and having worked in the corporate world of finance for some years, I was accustomed to always being “on the go”. I’ll have my espresso to go, my conversations to go, so I can get back to my office desk and work. After quitting my job and becoming a full time entrepreneur, I’ve spent a good deal of time in the mediterranean where drinking frappe during the afternoon with friends over a few hours is quite the norm. That was in 2010.

In today’s world of super-connectedness, it’s difficult to disconnect. We’re constantly switched on, checking our smartphones. That does not leave much time for boredom and creativity.

In my daily routines, I have made it a daily ritual to swim in the ocean everyday and then have some Greek coffee afterwards.

beach

my favourite beach to swim

I find that during or after the swim, I get a rush of ideas. Kind of like the Aha! moments in the shower. Small things about processes that could be improved, to gaining a different perspective on a problem, to completely new product ideas. Everyone probably has their own unique space where creativity is spurred. Mine is the combination of the sea and cafe.

The more your business moves higher up, the more important it is I think to find moments to give yourself some space, to meditate, to embrace boredom.

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