Achieving entrepreneurial success is not easy. It requires forward-thinking, the ability to quickly abandon plans that do not serve you, and an internal drive that will get you out of bed while everyone else sleeps in. I have been working as an entrepreneur in Los Angeles for more than 20 years. The companies I have founded are north of $1.1 billion in valuations, and my ventures have been recognized as some of the best places to work by the Los Angeles Business Journal.
Over the years I have developed several habits that have empowered my success. Here is my advice to anyone looking for success of their own:
Be Ruthless With Your Circles
The people you surround yourself with have a massive impact on your life. They influence the way you think, the way you feel about yourself, and the way you come to decisions. I decided early on in my career to be very strict about the people I kept around me and the influences I invited into my life. This is the foundation of any self-improvement journey. If the environment you find yourself in is toxic, it is going to be difficult to achieve any kind of success. The support of the people around you is absolutely crucial.
When it comes to choosing which people to keep close to me, I prioritize a good work ethic, high moral standards, a strong character, and ambition. Anyone who does not display those characteristics does not get a seat at my table. By keeping my circles tight and exclusive, I have ensured that the opinions and advice I am privy to are well thought out and intelligent.
Keep One Eye on the Clock
Every challenge you face comes with a timer. Advancing competition, market changes, and consumer preferences are all on a clock. I have seen many brilliant people fail to achieve their goals simply because they refused to move forward with an imperfect idea or product. Whenever I am faced with a new challenge, whether it is founding a new business, making an update to an existing product, or adjusting our marketing efforts, I always remind myself that time to make decisions will quickly run out. Success is driven by the ability to stay nimble and make quick, decisive choices. I firmly believe that there is a solution to everything in life, but many people fail to implement their solution or idea simply because they are not keeping a close enough eye on the clock.
Think 18 Steps Ahead
Running a business is all about forethought. In my experience, success is directly proportional to how far ahead someone can think. When I decide to start a new venture, before I do anything else I sit down and think as far ahead as I possibly can. If a roadblock is going to appear at step twenty, I know about it before I even come up with a company name.
Thinking ahead applies to managing a business as well. Business leaders do not have the luxury of putting their heads down and simply doing the work. In order to ensure the health and future of your company, you always need to be thinking past the horizon. Leaders who rest on their laurels often get left behind. Don’t be one of them.
Plan for the Worst
My mantra is “if something can go wrong, it will go wrong.” It may sound negative, but it is actually just the reality of running a business. If you are not constantly thinking of the worst case scenario, then you are at risk of paralysis when things inevitably take a turn for the worst. In my opinion, I think the biggest mistake a business owner can make is to expect everything to go well. If you do not go in expecting your plan to change, then you will be sitting on a disaster waiting to happen. I have started several businesses and the company I set out to create has never been the company I ultimately wound up with. Things changed, plans collapsed, and I was ready for it every time.
Remember that in order to build an impressive structure you need to lay a strong foundation. These habits are a part of a foundation that can and do support success. Start here.
Written by Blake Johnson.