The entrepreneur lifestyle, by default, comes with a proactive tendency to accept challenges. After all, founders are known to be passionate about problem-solving matters and transformative changes. They’re not afraid to start from scratch or make necessary improvements in order to grow and disrupt.
With this profile, when it comes to new year’s resolutions, one might think it’s easy for startup founders to comply with whatever they’ve set their minds and resources on. But whether it is finally expanding or guiding their team towards a more diverse company culture, the hard thing about resolutions is actually following through when we’re in mid-March and nothing has really happened.
Truthfully, there is no secret sauce when it comes to how to stay committed. But if we could nail down the closest thing to do the trick, then it’d be all about prioritizing and thinking about what is it that you really want to achieve through the year in terms of your startup. Then, the next step would be reflecting upon what you’ll need to make that happen. And to help you a bit on that exercise here are five resolutions that might help you get a sense of it of the type of things you could aim while staying realistic.
Find a mentor
Something that everyone has to come to terms with is the fact that we don’t know it all. We might be great experts at certain practices like marketing or masters in the art of networking, for example. But on the other hand, we may struggle a bit when it comes to other fields human resources or group dynamics. Good thing is that in the vast world that is the startup ecosystem, there’s always something new that we can learn.
Having a mentor can help you gain all the business experience you may be lacking, either because you’re a newcomer to the startup world or because you specialize in a very specific field. In that sense, finding guidance through experienced individuals, entrepreneurs or not, who were once at the same stage you’re at and are now successful, can get you way ahead.
Build a personal brand
As a founder, certainly one of your top priorities in managing a company should be building a relationship with your customers in a way that they perceive your product or service as reliable and trustworthy. To tackle this need, instead of hiding behind a company’s brand, founders are taking on the latest trend: personal brands. Recently Entrepreneur published an article about how developing one can actually help your company’s success.
Mind us, we’re not expecting you to become Elon Musk or Kylie Jenner (though those are good examples), but whatever your expertise is, sell yourself — and your startup — through that window.
You can start off by using your LinkedIn and Instagram profiles or your YouTube channel to give industry advice or showcase quick “how to’s” that speak to your target audience. Building this type of credibility can help you not only forge a connection with your constumers, but attract investors who are more likely to put their money in people rather than ideas. With social media, marketing yourself as a bundle deal with your company has never been easier. Give it a chance.
Know when to disconnect
Work-life balance, peeps. It shouldn’t be one of those things where it’s easy to preach, hard to follow. An entrepreneur’s life is uncertain and that might come in with some anxieties and pressures to deliver. In that sense, knowing when to take a break to breathe is something you learn over time as part of the journey.
As a founder, there’s no way to avoid stress, but you can avoid chronic stress. Here are three steps that can help you get a start:
- Practice breathing exercises like mindfulness. You can do this from your couch, your bed and even your desk in between meetings. These techniques are a chance to slow down and rest your mind even in the most fast-paced days. You can find a 5-minute meditation routine here.
- When you know you’re ready to take a break, delegate responsibilities to your co-founder or employees. We know it can be hard to let go of all the work you’re used to doing on your own, so our advice is to do it step by step assigning small tasks over time. This will allow you to evaluate the performance of your peers until you’re confident enough to leave for a more extended period of time without having to worry.
- If you’re on vacation, you’re on vacation. Mute WhatsApp chats, sign out of your email and give strict instructions to only be contacted if it’s an emergency. You’re not going rogue, you’re getting your well-deserved rest time. Which, by the way, can help you re-energize and come up with fresh new ideas when it’s time to get back to work.
Next year, check in with yourself from time to time. Even in marathons, people stop to drink some water and recharge. Burnout is not an option, as it means you’ll be out of the game. Instead, be strict about how much time you’re going to spend hustling and how much time you’re going to take to rest.
Treat data with love
Data has long been regarded as something complicated, but those who have conquered the fear of working with it know just how it actually helps makes things easier. Reasoning out important decisions based on data can help founders move towards more assertive marketing and growth strategies.
Looking over data and tracking how the numbers change is the key to understanding how your business is performing. It gives you a deeper look at what’s working and what’s not and, in turn, it can help you spot potential pitfalls before they occur. Soooo, how about next year you commit yourself to start treating data right. Who knows, you might end up falling in love.
Apply to an acceleration program
One way to get ahead faster than planned and with a whole package is participating in an acceleration program. Basically, these programs are designed as support structures to promote the exportability and scalability of a startup.
Parallel18 operates under this concept. To make it happen we offer a US $40K equity-free grant, growth structure, continuous support, access to corporate partners, investors, contacts and a community of entrepreneurs to exchange knowledge. Plus it all happens within a coworking space that facilitates the interaction of innovation-oriented people that are always looking to collaborate.
Mentorship is also an integral part of programs like this and, in our case, we make sure each curriculum brings a new mix of tailor-made experienced mentors. And if your New Year’s resolution includes expansion, then know that’s all acceleration programs are about. You can kick off the year with a chance to be part of an endeavor like this. Applications for our eight cohort open on January 13th! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
So why are these resolutions easy to follow through? Simply because if you’re head of a startup, they should be in your plans already. Each of them plays a role not only in your development as a founder but in how fast your company can scale. When thinking about what is the next step for you in this amazing rollercoaster that is to be an entrepreneur, these are just small goals you can start the year with.