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63 Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs

BY Eddy Hood In Profitability On Jun 23, 2013 With 12 Comments

Habits of a Successful EntrepreneurYou can have any lifestyle you want if you’ll adopt the correct habits.

If you want to get fat, eat a lot of junk food and don’t exercise. If you want to be a professional baseball player, throw a million baseballs. If you want to build a profitable business, live these habits and you'll enjoy that lifestyle.

I've gathered together 63 habits of successful entrepreneurs that I’ve learned over the years. These ideas come from coaching over 500 businesses across the nation on how to become more profitable. I've also picked up many of these from my mentors - thanks guys!

The 63 Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs

  1. Habits of Successful EntrepreneursCreate an Energy Playlist – Take 30 minutes today to shuffle through your music and create a playlist that amps you up. I don’t care if it’s AC/DC or the Opera, just add whatever moves you into a state of passion. Get 3 to 10 songs that light you on fire whenever you hear them. Now listen to the playlist before you walk into your office and greet your staff each day. When you enter the building full of energy, your business will pick up speed. To help you get ideas for your playlist, check out http://www.pandora.com
  2. Take a Short Break Every 90 Minutes – The goal is to give you a mental release for a few minutes. The trick is to not get sidetracked from your work. Instead of walking down the hall and chatting with your buddy, put your headphones back on and listen to your energy playlist from habit #1. This will keep you focused, energized and ready for the next 90 minutes.
  3. Work Standing Up – Consider buying a standup desk. When you work standing up, blood and oxygen flow better, you’re more alert and you’ll be healthier. Check out Greg Myer’s Post on The 5 Reasons to Use a Standing Desk.
  4. Know Your Margins – Get into the habit of calculating your gross margin. If you want to build a profitable company, have your accountant report this figure back to you on a monthly basis and consult with him on what it means. Check out one of my older posts on how to calculate gross margin. This is one of the more important habits of successful entrepreneurs in my mind.
  5. Drive 150 Miles – Go the distance for your customers. Get into the habit of listening for customer service opportunities. If you have a client that needs something that you can deliver, get in the car and take to them even if they live 150 miles away. Not only will they be shocked and thankful, but your staff will get into the habit of going the extra mile to make your customers smile. One company that goes the extra mile is Zappos. Check them out.
  6. Put Your Phone on Silent – Get into the habit of turning your phone off when you’re talking with someone face-to-face. Give them your full attention.
  7. Become a Storyteller – As an entrepreneur, you need to be the best salesperson in the organization. You need to sell your vision, your product and yourself as a leader. If you can get into the habit of telling short, relevant and entertaining stories in those situations, you’re going to be more approachable. For tips on how to master storytelling as an entrepreneur, check out Martin Zwilling’s article in Forbes.
  8. iStock_000019341573XSmallCrowd Source Your Questions – When you don’t know the answer to something, ask the question on your social media platform. For example, I’ll often turn to Twitter or Google+ to ask my followers a question. 
  9. Dominate a Social Media Platform – Pick 1 to 3 social media platforms and learn them back to front. Then make it part of your day, every day, to get in there and have relevant conversations with people that you have similar interests with. My favorite platform is Twitter. If you want to improve your Twitter for business skills, go to Twitter’s Business Tools.
  10. Come Out from Behind Your Brand – You’re customers want to know the face behind the brand. Get into the habit of showing your face instead of your logo. One company that is particularly good at this in my opinion is Copyblogger. The founder, Brian Clark, does a very good job of showing his face, connecting with his community and being present.
  11. Look People in the Eye – Get into the habit of listening with your eyes and your ears. As an entrepreneur, you’ll build much stronger relationships.
  12. Create “Never Again” Moments – There are times in life when you just can’t take it anymore. Those are good moments because they force you into making a change for the better. As an entrepreneur, if something isn’t working out, get into the habit of letting it agitate you enough that you solve it. Never put up with mediocrity just because something is partially working.
  13. Visualize the Outcome of Your Goal – All successful entrepreneurs can see, feel, taste, smell and hear the moment of achievement. Get into the habit of closing your eyes each day, visualizing your goal and experiencing the victory in your mind.
  14. Create S.M.A.R.T. Goals – Never set a goal that’s generic like, "I want my business to make more money". Get into the habit of making your goals smart. S = Specific, M = Measurable, A = Attainable, R = Realistic, T = Time Stamped.
  15. Keep a Success Journal – I love this one. Go to the book store and buy a journal of some kind. Bring it home and then write down the top 100 goals for your life, dedicating one goal per page. Write the goal at the top of the page. Next, find a picture that symbolizes the goal. For example, if you want your company to make $5 million dollars a year, Photoshop a picture of yourself sitting on a huge pile of cash. Then paste that picture onto the page. Below the picture, write out your S.M.A.R.T. Steps from habit #14.
  16. Lay out Your Gear the Night Before – Get your gym clothes, work clothes, laptop, cell phone, keys, wallet, etc. and lay them all out the night before. You’re morning time is too precious to waste on trying to find where those dang keys disappeared to again. For more information on this, check out Michael Hyatt’s post called How to Set Yourself Up for a Productive Day.
  17. Encourage Team Talk – Get into the habit of opening the lines of communication between you and your employees. I’m always surprised at what I learn when I talk shop with them. Learn about our process at Ignite Spot called huddles.
  18. Get Oxygen to Your Brain – Have a daily breathing exercise to get oxygen into your brain. Do this in the morning for just a few minutes and you’ll have more clarity throughout the day. Here’s how I do it: Breath in using your diaphragm for 5 seconds, hold it for 20 seconds, and then slowly breath out for 10 seconds. Do this 5 to 10 times and you're good to go.
  19. Drink Lots of Water – I want you peeing a lot. Seriously. It’s good for you. You need to stay hydrated if you’re going to have a great day growing your business.
  20. Read Blogs Each Day – You know 1 / 1,000 of what you need to know to run your business. We all do. The best part about running a business in today’s world is that so many successful people keep a blog and teach you how to do what they have done. Get a blog reader like Feedly and begin consuming blogs on a daily basis that talk about growing a profitable business. You can never learn enough.
  21. Drop Me and Focus on You – When you write copy for your website, brochures or any other sales collateral, stop talking about you and why you’re great. Instead, get in the habit of speaking to the customer, his or her problems and what solution you can offer to help them.
  22. Talk with Your Tax Accountant Each Quarter – Once a year is not enough unless you relish crappy surprises. If your tax accountant isn’t helping you in your business, it may be time for an upgrade.
  23. Have an Email List – If you aren’t currently building an email list to stay in touch with the fans of your business, you’re going to get left in the dust. Make it a habit to not only start one, but maintain it on a weekly basis. Connect with your community and send them valuable tools, tips and resources that only you can provide. I use AWeber to connect with my community, but any Email software will work.
  24. Use Auto Responders – An auto responder will send out a series of emails to your leads, customers or other groups of people over a set amount of time. Craft at least 7 to 10 emails that keep your company top of mind and then get in the habit of trying to get people onto your email list so that they can get your best content. Here's how AWeber managers their autoresponders.
  25. Ask for Referrals – Get in the habit of asking for referrals on phone calls, in emails and everywhere else you go. If you stink at asking for referrals, I highly recommend John Jantsch’s book The Referral Engine.
  26. Avoid Debt and Focus on Customer Satisfaction – Don’t fall into the trap of turning to the bank to bail you out when times get tough. I understand that you have to sometimes, but most of the time, you can turn to your customer base and focus on meeting their needs. When you do, they’ll pay you for a job well done.
  27. Have Hard Discussions One-on-One – I used to have a boss that would gather up the whole company and then announce someone’s mistake to everyone to ensure that it wasn’t repeated. Don't do this. Meet with the employee one-on-one and help them grow.
  28. Keep Your Receipts – Yes you need to do this. At the very least, throw them in a shoe box and keep them for 3 years. If you’re really proactive, you can keep them for 7 years. Here’s all the boring IRS stuff that only guys like me and the staff at Ignite Spot care about.
  29. File Your Paperwork Consistently – Spend $30 and 30 minutes today building your ideal filing system. Then stick to it.
  30. Find and Solve Pain – When you’re talking with a prospective customer, don’t assume that you know what his or her problems are. You have no idea. Get in the habit of asking questions to understand what their pain is, and then solve that.
  31. Mirror People – People like people that are like themselves. Get good at matching people’s energy levels, tone of voice and body posture and people will feel more connected with you. The important thing to remember here is to be genuine. Be careful though, when you mirror people, don’t copy them exactly or else you’ll be found out and attacked. See this Ellen video for the wrong way to mirror someone.
  32. Always Ask for The Close – Never leave a sale without asking the person to become a client.
  33. Always Get a Calendar Invite – Never leave a sale without sending out a calendar invite to the next meeting.
  34. Always Get a Deadline with Your Employees and Yourself - The acronym ASAP is a swearword at Ignite Spot. Get in the habit of asking your employees for a hard and fast deadline on all projects. Never accept “I’ll get it done ASAP”.
  35. Grab your SAAS – Always be on the lookout for new technologies and software systems online that will make your business more manageable, efficient and streamlined. SAAS stands for Software as a Service. Some of my favorite SAAS tools are Salesforce, Optimizely, CrazyEgg, HootSuite, Sweet Process, and millions more. Maybe I should do a blog post on 63 of my favorite SAAS platforms. Excuse me while I write that down...
  36. Use Email Templates – Get into the habit of watching for similar email responses. If you notice them, make email templates that you can use down the road to save on time.
  37. Put the Cook in the Kitchen – When you want to get good at something, find the best possible mentor for that skill and spend the day with them. As an entrepreneur, you could get mentors to teach you how to manage finances, run social media, motivate staff, etc.
  38. Do Daily Incantations – Start each day by saying your personal mission statement out loud several times. Be animated when you do it. Inject energy and scream it to the world if you have to. This felt really weird for me to do at first. I was the crazy guy in his car screaming, but after a while you get used to the stares. Scream on!
  39. lift-iphones1Track Your Habits – I use a software called “Lift” on my iPhone to help me track my habits to make sure that I remember to do them each day.
  40. Be Honest with Thyself – If you suck at sales, finance, or leadership then get honest with yourself and admit it. This habit isn’t designed to depress you. It’s designed to get real, find ground zero, and start building.
  41. Eat a Breath Mint – Whenever you go into a sales meeting, please be kind and eat a breath mint beforehand.
  42. Put your Family First – Make sure that spending time with your kids and spouse are at the top of your priority list each and every day. I don't want any hate mail for putting this at #42. I put it here to see if anyone was still reading.
  43. Hire Up – Get into the habit of spending a little more for competent employees. It’s worth it.
  44. Snowball Your Debt – Get into the habit of paying off a debt, and then using that money against another debt along with its minimum payment. If you keep doing this, you’ll pay off your debts in no time. This is a principle that has been famously taught by Dave Ramsey.
  45. Save 10% - Set aside 10% of every customer payment into a savings account until you have 3 months of operating expenses.
  46. Blog it Brother – If you want to have a great business today, you’re going to need a killer online presence. One of the best ways to do that is to have a blog that provides useful content to your businesses fans. Once I started writing daily, my business really picked up speed.
  47. Weekly Training – Some businesses don’t train at all. You’re not that kind of business. You train your staff weekly because you live the habits of successful entrepreneurs.
  48. Reconcile – Ensure that your accountant is reconciling your books at least once a month minimum. If you’re stuck in your QuickBooks file, holler at me. We do a free QuickBooks training session for entrepreneurs.
  49. Listen on Twitter – Get a Twitter account and learn how to listen to conversations about your company, your industry and your customers. The best place to start is Twitter Search. Type in words and phrases related to your company, what you do and the products or services you offer. When you come across a tweet where someone has a problem, help them out without selling your stuff.
  50. Go to bed at 10 p.m. – This is a hard one for me because I love what I do and sleep just gets in the way. It’s good advice though, and I’m trying to implement it. Just not tonight. If you watched the video above, you'll know that I'm still cranking away at 2 a.m.
  51. Accountability Sessions with Staff – Having a one-on-one with your employees once a year is crap. You need to hold them accountable to their goals weekly.
  52. Recruit for Passion – When you sit across the desk and interview applications, stop focusing so much on their resume and get into the habit of testing their passion and competence.
  53. Set No More than 3 Priorities – Each day, make sure that you have 1 to 3 major priorities that you will accomplish. These are not tasks, they're value driven things that you can do to improve how your company works.
  54. Get out of Email Land – Turn off the automatic notifications on your phone and computer so that you can focus on your work. Then spend no more than 30 minutes a day in your email account. To help me deal with the onslaught of email, I use Boxer to determine what’s important.
  55. Crush It by Gary VaynerchukRead Business Books – Get into the habit of always having a business book that you’re learning from. If you want a free business book to get this habit started, simply subscribe to our blog and we’ll send you a free copy of my book, The 8-Week Startup in audio format. It has 40 workshops in it that are designed to help you start and grow a company in just 8 weeks.
  56. Push the Work Down – Never do your staffs job just because you can do it faster and better. You should be running the business, not working in it. Period.
  57. Sale first, Eat Second – When you start off your day, get your sales activities out of the way. For example, if you get your customers via cold calling, pick up the phone now and not after lunch. If you struggle with this concept, read Brian Tracy’s Book called Eat That Frog.
  58. Have a Weekly Cash Flow Meeting – I cannot stress this one enough. Open up your calendar right now and schedule a meeting with your accountant each week to review cash flow. During the weekly meeting, you should also be talking about your key business metrics.
  59. Learn to Do One Thing at a Time – This one has been huge for me. If I’m writing a blog post, I shut my door, turn off my phone and write. If I’m working on my sales pipeline, I do that and nothing else. Multitasking is a lie that’s killing you.
  60. Say No – This is a great habit to have. Say "No" if you can’t complete the job. I would also suggest saying "No" if the project doesn’t interest you. Why work on something that you’re not passionate about? If you’re struggling with this one, I’m going to send you to one of my favorite blogs, called zenhabits written by Leo Babauta. The post is called 7 Simple Ways to Say “No”.
  61. Eat a Killer Breakfast – My favorite breakfast is a shake. I put in spinach, tomatoes, avocado, blue berries, ice, protein powder, apples, bananas, and anything else that’s fruit or vegetable related. Try it tomorrow morning.
  62. Zen and the art of small business accountingGo to the Gym – Get out of bed early and hit the gym. Once you do this, your business will thank you. I promise.
  63. Meditate – Last but not least, reward yourself with some quite time. Hide the phone, wait until the kids go to bed and turn your brain off. The goal is to listen to silence and let your brain relax. Watching television does not count. You need to mediate with a silent mind.

So that it’s guys! I know this was an extremely long post today. I appreciate you sticking with me through the end. If there are any other habits that I’ve missed, let me know by leaving a comment below.

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My name is Eddy Hood. I've coached over 500 businesses on how to become more profitable. I'm the Founder & CEO of Ignite Spot, and I have mad parallel parking skills.

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