[Part 1] 3 Keys To Business Success: Discipline

The keys to business success are all things that you have control over

Are you wondering if you’re ready to become a successful business owner? Perhaps you’re concerned that you don’t have enough capital, or that you don’t have the right connections.

As it turns out, success in business ownership almost entirely relies on three key elements. And the good news is that they’re all things you have control over. They are discipline, mindset, and resilience.

“I keep a Post-It note with these three words on my computer: discipline, mindset, and resilience,” says Crestcom franchisee Rutger Bierens De Haan. “This way, I am reminded every day what needs to be done.”

This week, we’ll take a closer look at discipline: why it’s important in the context of business ownership and how you can improve it.

1. Discipline

“Formula for success: Rise early, work hard, strike oil.” – J. Paul Getty

Every successful person, whether they’re a world-class athlete, best-selling author, CEO of a Fortune 500 company, or successful solopreneur, knows that discipline is the key to winning. Discipline, in this context, can be defined as the practice of training oneself to do what must be done to succeed consistently and without exception.

Entrepreneurs need discipline as much as anyone, particularly if you’re a solopreneur with no one to be held accountable to but yourself. Why? Because every business has its ups and downs. There will be days, or even weeks, when running your business will feel like a slog—even for the most successful entrepreneur.

It’s during these times that discipline will make you (and your business) unstoppable. You will need discipline to keep picking up the phone and making cold calls, follow-up calls, and scheduling appointments even after you’ve been turned down by the last 20 gatekeepers. You’ll need discipline to get up, get ready for your day, and get to work in your home office, even as your TV or favorite book calls your name.

As author and business coach, Dan Kennedy, puts it: Discipline “…is rarely easy, but is often simple.”

9 Ways to Master Self Discipline

From Entrepreneur Magazine, Deep Patel provides us with a fantastic list for improving self-discipline.

1. Know your weaknesses

Being honest and realistic about your weaknesses will help you identify when you need to put extra effort into discipline. For example, perhaps you don’t mind making sales calls, but you dread updating your notes in your CRM system. Knowing that you’ll need extra discipline to stay diligent will keeping your CRM update will help you set a plan for getting it done—no matter what.

2. Remove temptations

Anyone who has had to quit a habit knows that temptation is a killer. Do everything you can to remove temptations and distractions from your goals. This may mean creating a clear office space without a TV or other entertainment outlets. Maybe you need to turn off your social media and text notifications for a few hours during the day.

3. Set clear goals and have a plan

Without goals, you don’t have something to work toward that keeps you focused and disciplined. When you have a goal, and a plan to get to it, discipline becomes easier. You have a motivator to keep you on track. When you’re starting a business, you should have both large and small goals. Small goals should be relevant and attainable. They give you the extra confidence boost you need to work toward your large goals. An example of a smaller goal is to set three prospect appointments every week. An example of a large goal is to be at $50,000 in revenue in your first 6 months.

4. Create new habits, and keep them simple

This one is great because it’s simple and effective. Creating new habits doesn’t have to be a big deal. Working out at least 30 minutes every morning before work is a fantastic habit to try to build toward, but let’s be honest, it’s difficult for many people to achieve for a variety of reasons. So, break it down and take it a step at a time. Maybe you’ll start with walking your dog every morning. Then you move to jogging with your dog every morning. Then you add on five or ten minutes for some strength training after you’ve established a solid jogging habit. Taking small steps and building to a bigger habit is a fantastic way to develop your discipline and reach larger goals over time.

5. Eat often and healthy

You know you feel bad when you’ve been eating like junk. We’ve all been there. The energy crash, brain fog, and general bad attitude when you haven’t fueled your body properly absolutely impacts your ability to stick to your goals. We’re not talking about counting calories and weight loss here. We’re talking about fueling yourself with healthy, nutritious food that will help keep you focused and energetic throughout your day.

6. Change your perception about willpower

Self-deprecation about personal willpower is common. But you need to change how you think about willpower to master self-discipline. Make willpower your friend rather than your enemy. Harness it to stick to those small new habits that get you to your small goals, and you’ll ultimately achieve your big goals.

7. Have a backup plan

Many people think of discipline and success as a fierce commitment that you can never quit. In truth, you need to learn how to balance sticking to your plan with knowing when it’s time to pivot. If you’ve set a goal that you’re finding is impossible for you to achieve right now or doesn’t serve your bigger vision, then it’s time for your backup plan. Having one will help you make better decisions about when it’s time to move on. It’ll also help you bounce back when you experience a setback.

8. Reward yourself

Celebrate your successes with rewards. You’re working hard to change habits, build self-discipline, and launch a business—this is not a small thing. Take the time to reward yourself when you’ve achieved even small victories. You just landed your first real sales meeting. Closed your first decent sized client. Or maybe you’ve successful stuck with your health goals for a full three weeks. These are all victories that propel you forward. Celebrate them!

9. Forgive yourself and move forward

No one is perfect. You will slip up. There will be setbacks and failures. It’s just part of life. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Accept that you’ve “fallen off the wagon”, learn from it, forgive yourself, and re-set your intention. Don’t wallow in despair over disappointments; accept them and keep moving forward.

Improving self-discipline will help you improve in so many areas of your personal and professional life. It is absolutely the first key to success as a business owner. Building your self-discipline will make you and your business unstoppable, no matter what the world has to throw at you.

Stay tuned, because next week we’re going to talk about the second key to business success: Mindset. 

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