When picturing an entrepreneur, what kind of person comes to mind? You may think of someone who is a self-motivated mover and shaker with an outstanding, strong work ethic. For budding entrepreneurs, running a full-fledged business might seem impossible. But that’s not the case, especially when you have the right mindset. In light of National Entrepreneurs Day, we’ve created a guide to help you gear up your strong work ethic.
Qualities of Strong Work Ethic
Entrepreneurs are natural self-starters. But, that’s only one of the components of a strong professional foundation. Let’s explore what other values align with a healthy work ethic.
What’s your hard work good for if no results come from it? Results, and more specifically, productivity, are essential to running a successful company. Consider your priorities and how you can be more proactive in achieving them. If you’re starting your business journey, this is a great time to establish what your company’s needs are and how to address them. For example, you might need funding to give your business legs to run with. In this case, your priorities would be writing a business plan and pitching to potential donors. On top of that, be sure to work efficiently and make the best use of your time toward those priorities.
As a business owner, you’re responsible for completing daily tasks and objectives. So, as a leader, you need to practice accountability and reliability. This principle applies whether you’re a solopreneur or have an established team. Demonstrating this quality can resonate with your team and instill it in them. Whatever the size of your company, take every opportunity to be a consistent and liable asset to it.
If you’re starting and running a company, you will likely come across hardships. When faced with adversity, what differentiates a successful business leader from an unsuccessful one? The answer is perseverance. Looking at failure as an opportunity to grow can yield many benefits. It’s not an end-all-be-all, but rather a force that can push you to keep moving forward toward achieving your goal. Besides, what’s the satisfaction in entrepreneurship if everything is easy-peasy?
The Importance of Strong Work Ethic
It might seem obvious, but work ethic plays a crucial part in creating a business that thrives. Effective entrepreneurs don’t wait for success to fall into their lap. They reach out and grab it. Not to mention, a strong work ethic is recognizable and sometimes infectious. It’s appealing to people other than you that can influence the success of your company. Displaying your values could attract more donors, employees, and partners.
Now that you know what a strong work ethic looks like and why it’s important, here are some pointers on achieving it.
Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Before you start changing your work ethic, you need to look inward. Make a list of the areas you’re proficient in and where there’s room for improvement. How do they stack up to the ones we’ve mentioned previously? If you’re unsure where to start, try taking an assessment to gauge your abilities. Or, ask yourself the following prompts to guide your reflection.
- How would you rate your self-discipline?
- How are you aligning your business mission with your business practices?
- Do you hold yourself accountable for your goals?
- Are you proactive or reactive?
- What motivates you?
- How do you prioritize your tasks?
You can also ask someone you trust for their insight into your strengths and weaknesses. Understanding these elements can benefit you, so don’t be afraid to reflect and receive constructive feedback. Use what you learn to create a personalized plan for achieving a well-rounded, strong work ethic.
Find a Role Model
Reach out to someone in your professional network for advice. Use LinkedIn to catch up with former coworkers, professors, or classmates. Connect with someone who has your best interest in mind. Preferably, somebody, you can count on to hold you accountable for your goals if you need an extra push. General Motors CEO, Mary Barra, reached out to her network in search of a mentor. She found not only one but two mentors during her tenure that helped propel her career. Barra’s advice she learned from her mentors is, “Speak up in meetings and take leadership roles.”
If you don’t have a robust professional circle to dip into, there’s no need to worry. You can find a role model in anyone. Take Gopuff co-founder Yakir Gola, for example. He found inspiration in his father, “My dad immigrated from Israel 40 years ago. Coming from a poor family, he moved here and was an ambitious self-starter. I learned a lot about running a small business from him. From how to make profits, negotiating and building relationships.”
It doesn’t matter how or where you find your mentor. What matters is that you have someone to look up to. They can instill values in you that could take your business to the next level. Values that you might not have picked up on if you hadn’t taken the time to connect with them. So, set up a time to chat with that coworker who is a consistent top performer. Ask that small business owner you’re a regular customer how they got to be where they’re at. People generally enjoy giving advice and being helpful, so don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone.
See the Bigger Picture
If you’re starting, it may be overwhelming to imagine where your business is going. As daunting as it is, it’s necessary to do. Picturing your end goal can help you design an actionable plan. With a detailed timetable, you’ll be more motivated to achieve your vision. Document your goals for the next three, five, and even ten years. Having these plans written down can help you stay accountable to them.
An ownership mindset will come with this bigger picture. This quality gives you a sense of commitment to your company. No matter the stage of your business, this mindset is crucial to keep top of mind. Your dedication will keep your eyes on long-term success instead of the short-term. Don’t shy away from being assertive and action-oriented in your entrepreneurial approach. You are integral to the success of your dream, so take pride in that!
Establish Actionable Objectives
You’ve made a vision for yourself and your company. Now, you need to give yourself actionable steps toward actualizing it. Start by setting SMART goals. If you’re unfamiliar with this method of goal setting, here’s a short explanation. The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based. It’s an ideal way to plan tasks and measure your progress to keep you accountable. All too easily, we can get carried away with goal setting, so try to keep realistic expectations. You’ll get to the finish line, one step at a time.
The last thing to remember is not to get discouraged and to be kind to yourself. Every day is a chance for you to hold yourself to a higher standard. If you have the drive to create a strong work ethic, you have what it takes to run a successful business.