Tech Biz Tips: Self-Discipline for Tech Entrepreneurs
Photo: Robert Donnelly Photo Credit: Courtesy Robert Donnelly
Robert Donnelly | Courtesy Robert Donnelly

Everybody wants to achieve financial independence, be fit and trim and spend more time with our families. This is the fundamental wish list we all have. But most people are not willing to invest in the self-discipline needed to achieve these goals.

Self-discipline isn’t easy for the typical entrepreneur, who is tortured with a head full of ideas and wants to explore them all simultaneously. Simply stated, “Self-discipline is the ability to do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.”

It’s a fact that the lack of self-discipline is a major cause of failure for most entrepreneurs. On the other hand, successful entrepreneurs make a habit of doing the things that unsuccessful people don’t like to do. When you master the power of self-discipline, you will be unstoppable.

The age-old Pareto Principle (the 80/20 rule) applies to everything in life, i.e., 20 percent of your time equals 80 percent of your results; and, conversely, we waste 80% of our time and are only productive 20% of every day, if that. It’s a fact that 20% of the population earns 80% of the money, and enjoys 80% of the riches and rewards in society. Unfortunately, the bottom 80% make little or no effort to upgrade their skills, which is becoming more and more obvious in our technology-driven society, as routine jobs are automated out of existence.

Every entrepreneur should study the law of cause and effect, which says that if you want to achieve success in any endeavor, you must study how success is achieved in that area, and then practice those skills and activities repeatedly to achieve the same results. This is self-evident in sports, politics, war and business. The winners are disciplined and the losers are not.

Another problem most entrepreneurs have is the lack of a written plan for their business. You would think that anyone starting a business would have a plan — right? WRONG!

Many entrepreneurs rush wildly into starting a business based on their idea of how to make a better world. Frequently, they start their business with other like-minded tech entrepreneurs who don’t have a plan either. The results are obvious, as the majority of new businesses fail in the first 12 to 18 months. Why is that? Basically, because they haven’t developed a well-thought-out business plan and they run out of money due to a lack of business experience.

Even more fundamental is the fact that they haven’t even developed a simple break-even analysis to determine how much they will have to sell month-by-month just to cover their startup expenses. That should be the first critical planning lesson for any entrepreneur.

Many entrepreneurs spend all of their startup funds just getting ready to do business, so they fail before they start. The reasons for developing a business plan are as follows:

  • You get to understand all that is involved in starting and managing a business for profit. It’s a wonderful educational experience for any entrepreneur.
  • Developing a business plan before starting is relatively inexpensive and can be done on paper, or on a computer. It may save an entrepreneur from himself.
  • Doing a break-even analysis for the first year of a new business to determine if you can sell enough of whatever you are creating to cover your startup expenses is another eye opener for entrepreneurs. Even just developing a new app takes time and money.
  • Measuring actual results against a budget is another fundamental exercise in cash flow for entrepreneurs.
  • Every business is about numbers, pure and simple. Accounting is another much-needed staple for any entrepreneur.
  • Lastly, business is also about marketing. Most entrepreneurs are great salesmen, but not good marketers. You can have a great new product, but if you don’t understand how to let consumers know about it, how great it is won’t matter.

In conclusion, to be successful is to become someone you have never been before. That means you will have to do something you probably have never done before — become more disciplined.

Bob Donnelly is an author, educator and brand builder for businesses and individuals. He is an entrepreneur himself and has started and sold several technology based businesses. He teaches Entrepreneurship & Innovation MBA courses at Saint Peters University, and also for an online global university. His book,  Guide book To Planning - A Common Sense Approach, is available on Amazon in a soft cover edition, an E book, and an audio book. He can be reached at: rdonnelly@saintpeters.edu.

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