It’s no secret that entrepreneurship is one of the most effective ways to build wealth. In addition to the unlimited earning potential, it can also bring you flexibility in how you live your life.
And when you consider that studies show that by 2020, 40% of the U.S. workforce will be a freelancer, contractor, or some other type of contingent worker, becoming your own boss is even more attractive.
But even with all the benefits of being an entrepreneur, many people struggle to realize them. Building a thriving business can be difficult. There are lots of bumps, bruises, and challenges along the way.
Don’t fret. You can build a successful business. You’ve just have to know where to focus your energy so you’ll be able to advance.
Here are five things successful entrepreneurs focus on. They’re lessons gleaned from more than 100 interviews I conducted with business owners around the world.
And if you’d like to accelerate your path to realizing the dream you have for your business, you’ll channel your energy to these five areas too.
1. The Proper Mindset
The way you think is the cornerstone of your success as an entrepreneur.
That’s because your mind is the engine of your business. And if your engine isn’t operating like the well-oiled machine that it is, your business will sputter along, and break down frequently along your entrepreneurial journey.
As such, you’ll struggle along, you’ll miss opportunities, and your experience will be plagued with much more frustration than freedom.
To make sure your mind works for you instead of against you, spend time making sure you know what to do with fear when it shows up. And while you don’t have to be the most confident person from day one, you will need to engage in activities that will help you build it methodically over time.
Because you never stop learning when you run a business, embrace that there isn’t anything that you can’t gain proficiency in, given enough time and effort.
2. Customer Focus
Your business wouldn’t exist without your customer. As such, she should be at the center of everything you do.
But too many entrepreneurs go with their gut. They assume they know their customer and what’s best for them. As a result, they end up with products that don’t sell.
To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, you’ve got to know your customer intimately enough that you are able to serve her problems like none other. And you have to do it in a way that provides a deep enough connection that keeps her loyal to you over time.
To put your customer at the forefront of everything you do, you have to invest time, making sure you stay in tune to what her dreams, desires, fears, and frustrations are.
Then you’ve got to use that information to deliver products and services that she wants to buy (rather than what you want to sell). You also need to do it in a way that delivers an experience that delights her.
A strategy is simply a plan for getting you from where you are to where you want to go. And it helps you do it with the least amount of detours along the way.
But, unfortunately, many business owners take the random approach to running their company. They may operate with a vision for their business, but often they aren’t actively focusing their energy on taking clear and deliberate steps needed to get them there.
That’s no good.
As a result, they’ll wander around, reacting to circumstances, rather than shaping what it is they’d like their future to be.
To skip the willy-nilly approach to building your business, map out your vision for the future, and get clear about what makes you different from the other options that solve your customers’ problem. Then incorporate that uniqueness into a customer acquisition system that consistently fuels your growth.
4. Time Management & Productivity
Action is what often separates the business owners who are really making a difference, from those who haven’t progressed very far over the years.
Those that have found a way to manage their time effectively are often the ones that are the most productive. The ones that are most productive tend to be the ones that are most successful.
If you want to grow your business, you have to take control of your time so you can get things done.
The starting point for effective time management lies in effective goal setting. From there you’ll be able to determine and establish the appropriate habits that help you do the tasks to reach your goals.
And once you’re able to find a rhythm of what the ideal flow is to get you optimal results, systematize it. That way you’ll be able to produce with both the efficiency and effectiveness of an elite entrepreneur.
I’ve rarely heard a story of someone who built an empire all on his or her own. Most people have a team of others working behind the scenes helping them be great. Those team members can play various roles, from mentors, coaches, peers, employees, and cheerleaders.
The relationships you have and cultivate in your business can propel you to a level of success you may have never dreamed possible.
Mentors and coaches can give you needed guidance for managing your business.
With the right people on your team, you’ll be able to amplify your message. They can help you reach more people by spreading the word about you and what you have to offer.
Because you already have a ton of things to do to grow your business, there’s no need to try to do it all yourself. Instead, find others who are capable of completing the tasks you don’t personally need to do yourself.
You’ll get farther, faster with the right people by your side.
So make it a point to prioritize building and nurturing the right relationships for your business.
As mentioned, one of the promises of entrepreneurship is freedom. With that freedom comes a lot of opportunity to run around diffusing your energy on a lot of different things.
But if you want to build a business that makes life better for the people you serve, helps you build wealth, and enables you to live the life you’ve always wanted to, put your attention on these five things. You will transform your business for the better.
Sonia Thompson spent more than 10 years living the corporate life, helping grow million-dollar brands around the world. Now she’s the founder of TRY Business School, where she helps entrepreneurs create and execute the right strategies to grow their businesses. Grab your free eCourse, The 5 Things Successful Entrepreneurs Focus On, here. Then connect with her on Twitter.