What are the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs? Courage, willpower or the ability to raise capital? According to a new global survey, 89% of respondents said that to be successful, leaders must make mistakes, learn and grow from those lessons learned.
The international study, conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Herbalife Nutrition, surveyed 8,000 small business owners and employees in 15 countries with more than 10 years of experience. The study asked respondents to share the specific lessons they learned from workplace mishaps. Sharing insights from entrepreneurs around the world teaches valuable lessons to anyone who owns, or plans to own, a business.
Fail fast…and move on
Entrepreneurs reported having, on average, two failed business ideas before finding one that worked. While failure is difficult and discouraging, entrepreneurs said that making mistakes helped them learn, grow, and succeed in future endeavors. The key is to learn from mistakes and ideally avoid them in the future. Nearly 90% of small business owners said they learned valuable lessons from each unsuccessful venture.
The importance of entrepreneurs learning to be more productive is high on the list of lessons. More than 40% of small business owners said that productivity was essential to success. Many entrepreneurs used to work for companies where other people set the deadlines. Suddenly becoming a boss can be intimidating for business owners, with many feeling overwhelmed by work and less productive at first. The old adage “take one step at a time” can be applied to productivity. Set attainable goals and make sure you complete each task.
The survey asked small business owners what they would say to someone starting a business; and the number one tip was getting organized (42%). Documents should be labeled for easy access, whether you save them digitally or on your desktop. Another way to organize your workday is to make a list of tasks and prioritize those that need to be completed.
Using color codes—for example, red for urgent, blue for today, and yellow for completion later—helps many owners identify priority activities. Set a timer to dedicate yourself to each task before taking a break. Being aware of time constraints and knowing that you have something else to do can help you complete the task faster.
Learn to prioritize
Over 30% of global respondents believe learning to prioritize is essential. But how? From school, we learned to make lists and set deadlines. Many business owners make lists and then feel overwhelmed by the workload. Instead of concentrating on completing the task, they leave everything for later. In addition to making lists, entrepreneurs need to understand what tasks they need to complete and why.
What is essential every day for the business to be successful? For example, when inventory is low, the number one priority is to order products. Perhaps visiting clients is the next item on your to-do list to keep your business profitable. Devote at least 30 minutes a day to thanking customers and partners. Appreciating a recommendation or a large order is essential for the growth of the company.
Never stop learning
Entrepreneurs also believe that continuous learning is essential for innovation and the development of new ideas. More than a quarter believe continuing education is the secret of business owners to staying on top. With so much to do during the day, how do entrepreneurs fit training into their schedule?
During breaks or at night they can read articles and attend events thanks to more and more content available on demand. Reading different newspaper articles, as well as industry blogs and research, can help you develop new ideas to stay current, as well as the company. In the workplace, keep a “trigger list” handy to jot down thoughts and ideas that will help you grow.
Learning from mistakes makes us all stronger, especially business owners. Understanding how to prioritize, be productive, and organized helps you stay on task and stay on schedule. Keeping pace with the industry can help you generate new ideas for managing work and running a successful business.