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New businesses are being launched in record numbers by entrepreneurs setting out to find their freedom. All goes along well until they get their first customer. That’s when chaos moves in. They can’t follow-up with prospects or customers. They’ve been sucked into the business—pulling all-nighters, missing Little League games, eating cold dinners. These are symptoms of chaos. In talking with thousands of small business owners over the past decade, I’ve heard this same song play over and over. Not to mention that my co-founders and I experienced this ourselves in our business. Here are my suggestions for getting out of the chaos and taking back your life.
1. Build your emotional capital. Emotional capital is the passion, enthusiasm, and positive outlook that keeps you driving to achieve your goals. It’s the balancing of work, family, and emotional and physical health.
2. Practice disciplined optimism. It starts with the undying belief that your small business will achieve the success you have envisioned. At the same time, it helps you confront the brutal facts of your current reality and attack those brutal facts because you want to, not because you have to.
3. Assert your entrepreneurial independence. You decide the fate of your business. If you don’t believe something is going to work, no one else will.
4. Centralize and organize your stuff. You have to centralize your operations. Using separate systems for such things as e-mail marketing and CRM doesn’t make sense anymore. When you operate in the chaos of multiple systems, parts of your business start falling through the cracks.
5. Tap into the magical power of follow-up. When you fail to follow up, you’re losing out on incredible opportunities. Follow-up failure stunts your growth and prolongs your partnership with chaos.
6. Burn the to-do list and move from manual to automated. Most small businesses are havens for manual, grunt labor that wastes time, costs money, and enslaves the entrepreneur to the business. Automation is the key to liberating you from the busywork.
Co-founder and CEO
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