Take Five! Entrepreneurs Need to Keep It Simple

Jean Brittingham

I’ve been astonished by the incredible number of issues that the blogosphere believes entrepreneurs need to keep their eye on, do to succeed, and be prepared for.

This TechCrunch article tops them all with 23(!) things that entrepreneurs need to be ready to respond to! It’s not a bad article, but really, twenty-three?

How does a list of everything that could ever happen possibly help me stay focused, do well,  and not worry myself to death about what I’m not ready for?

Here’s what I think. It’s critical to try to narrow down the range of what you are really focusing on. That’s not to say that you wont respond to whatever comes along—good or bad. Being responsive to crisis and agile for opportunity is in the definition of entrepreneur.

But what should we really pay attention to in 2012? 

Here's a list paired down to a manageable size: 

  1. Take care of yourself first. Specifically, get some sleep. We’ve always known that it’s important and we also know that in general women aren’t very good at it. And the evidence about just how important it is keeps piling up. You’ll be smarter, sharper and better every day with that 8 hours of sleep.
  2. Focus on value creation. While this term coined in the 90s to put a happy face on the downsizing and restructurings of the time has questionable meaning in the corporate-world, the concept has great potential for entrepreneurs. Simply stated the rule is this—if you cannot easily articulate and track the value created from every relationship, effort and resource you expend, stop doing it.
  3. Beyond your strategy, goals, business plan and financials, understand your intention. If you can clearly state your intention  your for starting your business, you will win notic, and  the heads, hearts, and help you are seeking. What do I mean by intention? It’s easy. What do you intend to create, do, affect or improve with your business? 
  4. Absolutely get over being nervous about numbers—whatever it takes. Sit down with an advisor you trust, hire a CPA, maybe even hire a tutor. Figure out why you have been avoiding the numbers. I know you've reallly just been too busy right?  That's also avoidance. It’s the most common mistake entrepreneurs make (men and women) and it’s absolutely one that you are in control of. So just do it.
  5. Make a connections plan. It’s important to understand where the next opportunity is coming from and what you will need to do to make it happen. A good connections plan is a map to your next big thing—you just don’t know what it is yet. Use your intuition and creativity to create as many opportunities as possible, and connect the dots to see where these great relationships will take you.

So that’s it. Keep it simple. Life is complicated and it’s going to come at you fast enough without cluttering up your day with a list of twenty-three things you could do better.

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