There’s a lot more to shifting from employee to business owner than meets the eye. One of the toughest challenges is changing your mindset, lifestyle, and habits from that of a staff member to an entrepreneur.
This transition to “ownership thinking” can be more difficult than you imagined, even if you were the top performer in your company – mainly because as an employee, you had peers and executives to help you and keep you on track. When these people are gone and you’re suddenly your own boss, it can be more than just a shock – it can be totally unknown territory, which you’ll have to walk through alone.
But not to worry – here are a few habits that you, as an employee-turned-startup-owner, can adopt:
- Align your actions to the business’ purpose. Your reason for opening a business should be more than just making money or being in charge of your own time. You can even tap on your employee mindset – after all, to be a good employee, you need to look beyond your immediate tasks and see the rationale behind them. In the same way, your new business should be customer-centric and even altruistic.
- Work on as well as in the business. When you’re so used to working in the business, you forget that it’s equally important to plan your next move. At the same time, your own employees will be more productive if you’ve made your goals and strategies clear to them as well.
- Understand investments. Don’t be a slave to instant gratification – if there’s one thing every entrepreneur needs to learn, it’s how to evaluate investment size and cycles for future payoffs. Rather than aiming for quick results, aim for smart investing.
- Determine the return on investment before you act. Don’t build things just because you can, or create products that you aren’t sure will appeal to customers. First, evaluate the value equation and see if this product, strategy or feature will move your business forward.
- Recognize that personal and business growth go hand in hand, and that business growth brings in more customers. No growth means falling behind, whether in business or in your career. Basically, when you’re an entrepreneur you need to train yourself to look at the bigger picture. Focus on the two dimensions of the customer pipeline: how many people need your product or service, and what percent of those people will actually buy it based on your marketing, advertising and even cost strategies.
- Prioritize business efficiency. As an entrepreneur, the focus of your work doesn’t have to be on hours spent working, but time and cost savings without micro-management. Emphasize more efficient work resulting in higher customer satisfaction.
- Enhance your office culture. In every business, there shouldn’t be any internal competition. Team members need to be working cooperatively and effectively. Promote a culture of win-win relationships rather than having employees compete for advantage over each other.
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