10 successful habits every startup owner should adopt

Successful startup businessman Elon Musk
Bill Gates. Photo: Kees de Vos, Wikimedia Commons

Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Bill Gates; these are the names that frequently make the front news. But what do they have in common?

Yes, they all share incredible entrepreneurial ingenuity (and of course luck!). But delve a little deeper, and you’ll find that it’s only half the story behind their success.

The other half: productive habits.

If you are a startup owner, you need habits to sow the seeds to your success. The following ten habits sharpen your decision-making, expose you to new ideas, and keep you aligned with your goals.  

Top successful habits to acquire

Rise with the sun

If you want to take your startup to new heights, waking up early is the first habit you need to nail. Studies show that more than 40% of successful people get up 3 hours prior to their work.

Getting up early before sunrise gives you the head start to tackle your most demanding activities. It is the time when your mind is most active. So use it to check emails, schedule meetings, prioritise the day’s tasks, or even read an interesting book for inspiration and focus.

A startup owner’s life is busy – use your time well.

Network with experts

I’m sure you have heard how important networking is. But many don’t give details. As a startup owner, you need to network to build rapport with as many experts and referrals in your niche or industry as possible.

Aim to connect with at least 5 new referrals and experts every month through social channels, startup events, conferences and meetups. It helps open doors to business opportunities and benefits you when you least expect it. You never know how easily you can land a high-paying client or a viral word-of-mouth marketing opportunity.

So be sure to participate in IRL and social media events (particularly on Twitter and LinkedIn) regularly.

Stay physically active

You may not see a direct connection, but getting medium to intense exercise – by walking, running, or weight training – can do you wonders. You bust stress, sharpen your focus, improve brain power, and keep yourself productive at work.

Most important of all – you gain the grit and confidence to face any challenge that comes your way. And as an entrepreneur who has to wrestle several challenges, this is one big blessing to ask for. So in the early hours, make sure to squeeze around 20-40 minutes of physical movement everyday. In time, this successful habit will make you will feel the results for yourself.

Read to lead

Readers are Leaders; let there be no doubt about it.

If you don’t like reading, you need to crack this ASAP. If all successful entrepreneurs have one thing in common, it is that they read tons of books.

The examples are endless. Mark Zuckerberg challenged himself to finish a book every two weeks, Bill Gates reads more than 50 books every year, and Tai Lopez is a strong advocate of reading a book every day.

Reading exposes you to new ideas and inspirations and is a great way to connect with top influencers and thought leaders. Mention you’ve read their book or raise an interesting question, and you have their instant undivided attention.

Thus, the more you read, the better leader you become for your startup.

Talk to customers on social media

Never shy away from talking to customers. Thanks to social media, actively engaging with customers by connecting with them and asking questions has become easier.

Doing so on a regular basis can give you important insights into the thought patterns of the customers. It is also a good opportunity for requesting reviews and testimonials, which can boost your business’ visibility and search engine ranking.

Be sure to check Twitter and LinkedIn on a daily basis for brand mentions by customers.

Keep your friends close, keep your competitors closer

The common wisdom is: choose your friends wisely. But this equally rings true for competitors. The more efficient your competitors are, the more incentive you get to improve yourself and your business practices.

Make sure to keep a close watch on their activities. Staying abreast of their campaigns, customer service quality, reviews, partnerships, and new offers reveals important information about their strengths and weaknesses.

Have a weekly problem-solving session

Let’s face it. Your business will get shelled with problems from unexpected directions. The challenges include everything from limited financing to intense competitive rivalry. A dedicated problem-solving session on a weekly basis helps you address these challenges and find ways to overcome them productively.

Set aside an hour session on a specific day every week with your staff. Be willing to identify and embrace current problems and then look for means of tackling them one by one.  

Learn by experimenting

Having research and strategy are important requisites for entrepreneurship. But, if you don’t have the successful habit to experiment and try out different things, you lose out.

Netflix is a great example. It started as a DVD rental firm. But it knew the tides were going to change soon amid the evolution in technology. So it ran countless split tests and experiments over several years until it was able to find its unique positioning as an online streaming giant.

The key takeaway: don’t get attached to one specific way of doing business. If you don’t keep experimenting and learn, you will become stagnant, and your business will no longer have value.

Have a focus diary

With the demands of juggling reading, managing your business, as well as family and personal commitments, it is easy to lose track of your goals. But journaling your thoughts into a personal diary can help you unwind and free your mind to relax.

A personal journal works as a focus exercise. It helps you reflect and have an honest conversation with yourself. It is also key for managing stress and other emotions. To put this into practice, set aside 15-20 minutes to reflect and write whatever that comes to your mind.

Take 100% ownership

Leading from the front is the most important trait and quality you can have as an entrepreneur. A hundred things can go wrong in your business. But if you don’t take full ownership of it, you can’t move ahead.

Build a successful habit of taking ownership of your actions. If you make a mistake, own it; don’t blame it on anyone else.

Endnote

Entrepreneurship isn’t only about coming up with a creative business idea and raising funds. It is also to do with developing successful habits to imbibe the productive qualities and traits that can help you win in both your professional and personal life. Invest the time to develop these habits, and you will see life change around you.