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5 Tips for Growing as an Entrepreneur

Probably you must have heard the saying, If you aren't growing, you're dying.That's because the world is in constant flux. If you stand stagnant for too long, you'll definitely be left behind.
We know that companies continually need to innovate, or they'll fall prey to a younger or nimbler company. But I believe that growth is critical for entrepreneurs as well. Every entrepreneur per say is privileged to grow and also has an opportunity to innovate, create new jobs and have an impact on society. It's our sole responsibility to continually grow and push forward, often beyond our comfort zones. Here are five things I try to do to grow as an entrepreneur.

1. Seek out diverse points of view.
It's more valuable to get the counsel of someone who has done it before, but I think we can get too fixated on having a mentor. The fact remains that, a single perspective isn't just enough. It's better to seek out advice from variety of people with life differences and business experiences.
Confidently speaking, I have a group of CEOs, of which we meet once in every two months, and on our days, we lock the doors and turn off phones for three hours. ...It is a free environment and a moment where we can share some of our challenges, experiences and ideas, and I can utilize the power of my peers to help solve my problems and vice versa.
You might probably choose to have regularly scheduled meetings with your band of peers, or just informally meet a colleague or two for coffee or a walk. Just be sure to expose yourself to a variety of life experiences and philosophies. And, if the people you talk to always agree with you, you're meeting with the wrong people.
2. Read books and articles.
For many new entrepreneurs, first mentors are often found in the pages of books and blogs. Much can be learned from the writings and articles of others, and fortunately today, people are sharing their experiences more than ever.
One survey found that 88 percent of the world's wealthiest people read for at least 30 minutes everyday. By comparison, only 2percent of the general population reads this much on a daily basis.
Just read articles, posts, and blogs everyday though some concepts may not be directly relevant to what you're really doing today, but may come or occur one day in future even when you don't expect it. My advice is for you to look out for those writers and leaders who resonate with you. You'll come to realize when you've hit on something and when you find yourself returning to a book for answers and inspiration time to time.

3. Perform SWOT Analyses.
Students attending business school and old-school marketers should be very familiar and used to mapping out SWOT Analysis charts (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) for any new project or product. I love to apply a similar analysis for my strengths and weaknesses as a leader and good entrepreneur. On the other hand, I use the same device to help improve my marriage and personal relationships, but that's another article.
If you've never made a SWOT chart, you essentially write out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in four quadrants on a paper. In life, you can just jot down a few notes on the back of a cocktail napkin, but despite the simplicity, if rightly done, a SWOT can shed light on crucial areas that needs improvement.
I suggest you write out your chart -- even if it's just on a napkin -- and save it for accountability. There's no point identifying weak areas if you don't take steps on improving them. Most importantly, don't be far from the truth. Dissecting your weaknesses is never fun, but no good comes from avoiding and neglecting the truth.
4. Law of growth.
One of my special concepts surrounding growth comes from "Around the Year with Emmet Fox". The concept is that our thoughts are powerful, and our choice to choose to occupy our minds can have a profound impact in shaping our future.
Fox writes: What you think upon grows. Whatever you allow to occupy your mind you magnify in your life. ...The more you think about your grievances or the injustices that you have suffered, the more such trials will come your way; the more you think of good fortune you have had, the more good fortune will come to you.
Reflect and have a re-think on what you spend your time thinking about. Are you dwelling negativity? If so, try to swing the pendulum towards thoughts that are more positive, appreciate what's going well and have a confident vision of the future. As entrepreneurs, we have a unique opportunity to re-direct our own futures. But, it's up to us to construct this path. And so I continually remind myself, as I think, so shall I become.

5. Take regular breaks.
Running a business is just like a marathon, not a sprint. If you don't pace yourself, and maybe stop for the occasional break, you'll burn out pretty quickly. Most entrepreneurs I know sacrifice everything for their business for years on ending. But come think of it, you will see that no one ever thinks "I really wish I had taken fewer vacations".
The simple fact is that we are better at things -- and happier doing them -- when we take regular breaks. As a dancer, I know that one needs to take regular breaks from training. It's the same for entrepreneurship. Downtime not only helps recharge the batteries, but having unstructured time when the mind is free to wander, inspires new ways of thinking. Some of my most creative ideas and solutions have come while walking on the beach or driving to the gym.
N/B: In order to grow as an entrepreneur, it's important to nourish and equip your whole self and continue to do everything you love.

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Content by: Henry Okere

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