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The restless entrepreneur

A successful entrepreneur is always restless and never satisfied. I don’t mean they’re unhappy all the time, but when they wake up in the morning, they immediately think about something in their business they want to fix. I should know. I’m one of them.

They’re restless because they’re driven. Driven people are not happy with the status quo and want things to be better than they are now.  When you’re restless, it’s because you’re not complacent. You’re impatient and you know your business can be better.

Restless entrepreneurs never feel successful, because when they meet a goal, they set a new one. That’s why so many entrepreneurs work six or seven days a week on building their business. They know which problems need fixing in their business, and they’re not happy to wait until Monday to fix them. It’s just the way they’re wired.

Restlessness breeds success.

It’s an interesting contrast, because the fact that entrepreneurs never feel successful is exactly what makes them successful. They’re always working to improve whatever they have – even if whatever they have is pretty good!  Here are some common traits you’ll see in restless, successful entrepreneurs:

  • Quick, bold decision-making. This doesn’t mean they make snap decisions without thinking about them. Quite the contrary. An entrepreneur is able to move fast because he or she is constantly thinking about the business and how it could be better. He or she has considered all the ramifications of a decision well before that decision has to be made.
  • A long term view. They don’t care if they made more money today than they did yesterday. Successful, unsatisfied entrepreneurs get excited about quarter-on-quarter, year on year growth.  If they’re not achieving this, they’ll be restless until they are; if they are achieving this, they’ll start focusing on achieving more long-term growth.
  • The ability to focus on what matters and ignore what doesn’t. An entrepreneur’s restlessness helps define focus on the things with the biggest impact and avoid sweating the small stuff. This is good.
  • Taking calculated risks. The actual process of weighing up risks and rewards, then making a decision is often as fun for an entrepreneur as the end goal itself.  When you’re restless, you know every element involved in making a move, you like to make the big decisions and have the self-belief to back it up and make another move depending on the outcome
  • Talking business. A lot. Verbalizing helps them reaffirm different options and possible decisions. This comes from living and breathing their business; since they’re always thinking about their business, it’s top of their mind, and therefore their go-to conversation topic.

Entrepreneurs: what parts of your business are making you restless? What are you going to change today?



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Diane Crawford-Errington
1 August 2012 #

Hmmm sounds just like me! And yes, I am always trying to improve how we do what we do, so we can deliver better results. One of the reasons we are now a Xero partner is to improve the services we offer. Thanks Xero!

Michael Carter
1 August 2012 #

Good thought provoking post Hamish.

What makes me restless is whenever I see humans doing things that either should be eliminated (via process simplification) or automated (via technology).

It’s so tempting in a business to ‘accept as normal’ those myriad manual tasks that happen every day, that just chew up time and don’t add enough value. Things like manual data entry, copying data between unconnected apps, typing emails, repeating instructions.

Automate, automate, automate is a mantra in our business. It is disruptive in the short-term to invest in process redesign and tech automation, but the satisfaction that comes from the efficiency and elimination of error opportunities is, for the entrepreneur, sublime.

6 months ago it used to take us about 90 minutes of admin work when a new client came on board – various data entry and database updating.

Now it takes us not one second of our own time.


2 August 2012 #

What a relief! Having read this I know realise that I’m a totally normal entrepreneur – I constantly monitor, question, fix and analyse what we do to make it better, more slick and more efficient for our clients – am so relieved to hear too that my complete lack of satisfaction is normal as have asked myself many many times when will enough be enough – now I know that never is the answer! Thank you Xero!

Steph Hinds
2 August 2012 #

Awesome as always Hamish :)

Richard Francis
4 August 2012 #

Good stuff Hamish. I’m restlessly taking notes on my iPhone re business at midnight. Should be watching Olympics I suppose :)

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