How to Be a Productive EntrepreneurAUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.” ~ Peter Drucker
You’ve been developing a business idea in your head for a while now and you think it might work. You could finally have your own business, do what you like, make the decisions and not depend on anyone. What you’ve always wanted.
But the next step is huge, you need to transform that idea into reality. And that, alone or with a team, takes executing tons of actions of different nature, in the right order.
Your idea may be brilliant and innovative, but if you don’t have the right personal organization and the necessary productive habits developed, it’s very likely for it to be executed in an inefficient way or even not being done at all. Although a brilliant idea is more likely to become a big business than a simply good idea, a decent idea that is masterfully executed will most likely end up producing a profitable business
The importance of execution
The greatest risk of failure faced by an entrepreneur is a poor execution of the plans. Planning is not usually the problem. Not even the ideas. In the end, the fact that your idea is good enough won’t be decided by you, but by the market. There must be enough customers willing to pay for it, so the business you’re going to create will be profitable. In any case, if the original idea is not good enough, a good execution should help you notice that quickly, and let you adapt that idea according to what your potential clients really want.
For an entrepreneur, getting things done is not that easy. When someone starts a new project, they usually do it with few resources. With little money and little time available. Even if you dedicate yourself to the project full-time, at the beginning you’ll need to take multiple roles, and each one of them requires an important dedication. If you’re lucky enough to have a small team you can delegate some of those roles, but managing that team, and delegating and prioritizing tasks will also be your responsibility.
For example, you can find that, in addition to programming, designing, analyzing and researching, you have to manage a website, write articles for the blog, support users, search for partners and investors, keep your brand present in social networks, and do marketing campaigns. To this, add that you surely want to spend some time with your friends and family, along with making time for yourself, enjoying your hobbies. You know, to have a life and all the stuff.
Doesn’t seem easy, does it?
Execution depends on your personal organization
To develop your business idea you must put your attention on the right actions at the right moment, and that can’t be done without previous organization.
New things will constantly come up, some distractions, and some tasks that seem more important than they truly are. That’s why, in addition to self-discipline, consistency, and passion for what you’re doing, you also need a system that helps you focus on what’s important.
There are many personal organization systems, almost as many as people on earth. But there’s one that, throughout the years has proven to work better than the others. It’s called Getting Things Done (GTD for short), and I have been using it myself since I decided to launch FacileThings.
GTD is a personal management system suitable for anyone who’s looking to improve their effectiveness at work and in their personal lives and, at the same time, remove the stress that doing a lot of things provokes. That’s why it is perfect for anyone who is immersed in an entrepreneurship situation.
But I’ll be more specific:
- GTD encourages you to capture everything that goes on in your head, including any ideas that you have for your new business. This is very important for an entrepreneur. You’ll have ideas to improve your product or service, to make it stand out against the competition, to make it more appealing to your target market, and even if it’s not the moment to carry them out yet, you can store them in the “Someday/Maybe” list so you can go back to them in the future.
- GTD teaches you to plan your projects in a natural way, starting from the original purpose and then defining each action you should take. The GTD purpose is to make the path clear and make the mental process of having ideas and sorting them out a real thing. GTD pushes you to go forward each day because you’re constantly asking yourself “what’s next?”
- GTD does not only define your workflow to manage your day to day life, but it also works with the levels of perspective that help you distinguish the importance of your tasks on the long run, and your areas of responsibility. It’s really common that sometimes you put aside tasks that are important to do the ones you enjoy the most. As an entrepreneur you need to have a balance between your day to day and your long term goals, and that’s where GTD can best help you.
- GTD leads you to make decisions at the moment things come up, not when there’s a crisis about it. This allows you to adapt to the changes that will inevitably occur in your planning. There will be many occasions when you need to change or adjust the direction of your startup so as not to lose opportunities for growth and improvement.
- GTD doesn’t distinguish between work and personal life, and that in my opinion is essential not to burn yourself out. If you’ve taken the challenge of starting your own business, it must be to live better in every way.
With GTD you can do everything necessary to launch your project in an efficient and calm way, having the feeling that everything’s under control. I can assure you that GTD works. You might not be able to implement the method the first time you try — changing some habits takes time and effort — but it’s worth the challenge.