Train your idea muscle.
Come up with 11 business ideas each day. They can be improvements related to your business or someone else’s, it doesn’t matter. The point is to keep your brain primed for solving challenges. Thinking is hard if you’re not used to it, so make sure you practice.
Write about your business.
There are several benefits:
- writing forces you to really think about your business and explore new ideas
- by educating your customers about your industry you’re providing them value and position yourself as an expert
- you make it easy for someone to reach out to you and form a business partnership
- you’ll attract the right kind of talent who care more about doing good work than simply finishing work and getting paid.
Treat hiring as a unique opportunity.
Sure, you’re looking for someone to do the job, but bringing on a new person can give you so much more than just a bigger pool of billable hours. This is your chance to see your business through a fresh pair of eyes, review your processes, and challenge your assumptions. This is also an opportunity to bring someone who does things differently so you can learn new things.
Read every chance you get.
Books are great if you’re new to something and need a general overview, a thorough analysis, or simply an introduction to a complex topic. Blogs, on the other hand, are great to keep up with the latest trends or when you’re interested to know a bit more about a topic but don’t have the time/will to read 400 pages.
Keep your business processes fragile.
When a problem happens, it’ll be much harder to sweep them under the rug. Having fragile processes helps you surface problems on time so you can deal with them immediately. If one error stops everyone from working, you’ll be sure it’s fixed right away. To contrast, with robust processes, it’s easy to put fixing a problem on your to-do because there won’t be that much damage; but the real problem is you’ll never get around to fixing the problem and they’ll just keep piling up.
Go to meetups.
The real value of meetups (and conferences) is that you get to see people from your industry you haven’t seen in a long time, ask what they’re up to, get new ideas, and meet new people. Meetups are also a good place to meet your next great employee. New potential clients are also there, but keep in mind that you’re not there to sell but to learn.
Invest in training.
Your company is only as good as your least skilled employee. Instead of ordering a pingpong table or sodas, invest that money in training. Not only will you have more qualified employees, you’ll also attract and retain talented individuals.
Study your environment.
Keep an eye on what your family members/kid/ employees buy, what they think about different products, who their idols are, and how they use gadgets. While observing the people in your environment, you’ll get new ideas and stay on top of the latest trends.
Don’t celebrate your success too much.
When you’re celebrating, you get comfortable and complacent. Suddenly, you don’t have to try so hard anymore and you start resting on your laurels. That is when you stop challenging yourself and stop growing. Instead, remind yourself that tomorrow will be even more difficult and you should work even harder. Remember that you’re only as good as the work you did in the last 7 months.