The year 2023 is almost upon us and it is the perfect time to start your own business idea or start growing an existing idea. Many people reading this column have set a personal goal of growing their entrepreneur or small business revenue to $1 million—or a personal number that will bring them the security and freedom they can’t find in a traditional job. .
So how do you get there? There is no one-size-fits-all formula. Based on my research and interviews with many seven-figure entrepreneurs, you have to do a lot of the “right” things at once.
So what are those things? For my book 2022 Small business, big money (WW Norton & Co.), I surveyed 50 entrepreneurs running businesses with $1 million in revenue. Most had fewer than five employees and some relied exclusively on contractor teams.
Based on that survey, here are seven things you can do to follow their lead:
1. Automation: If you’re doing rote work in your business that could be done by an app or software programs, you’re probably wasting time that could be better spent on strategy, research and development, sharp execution, or growth. 90% of respondents said they use automation in their business.
2. Find great contractors. 100% of entrepreneurs rely at least on the contractor. Often, this starts with hiring a virtual assistant for a few hours a week and evolves into using contractors for tasks such as social media.
3. Join an entrepreneurial group. 45% of entrepreneurs belong to one. If you’re an introvert, join an online group where you can chat from the comfort of your living room. You will still be able to expand your thinking and network.
4. Find a business coach, formal or informal. If you’re running your business on a shoestring, find a peer coach. 37% of entrepreneurs said they have a coach.
5. Find time for exercise. 88% exercise, with the top choices being yoga and strength training. If you are hunched over your computer for a long time, you will be less productive.
6. Support your soul. 64% of entrepreneurs have a mind/body, spiritual or religious practice. Life is not all about business for many of these entrepreneurs. They embrace a deeper purpose.
7. Don’t hire early. Businesses that hit $1 million reached that revenue level after an average of four years and hired their first employees after four years. Why four years? This is a topic for further research, but what it told me is that waiting to add jobs until you can safely make payroll can result in better cash flow and sustainability.
These steps may seem deceptively simple, but as with all positive habits, there is a knowledge gap. Adding even one to your repertoire can be a great way to build momentum in your business. Before you know it, it will be easier to incorporate more of them and take your income to the next level.
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