Rick Dreise is co-founder of the digital agency Convident Groningen. As an internet entrepreneur, he visits many different entrepreneurs, consults with them, walks through their companies, talks to their employees, and looks at their processes. What often strikes him is that entrepreneurs have many good ideas, but before they have implemented one good idea, many entrepreneurs move on to the next plan. Dreise addresses an essential question for many entrepreneurs: How do you ensure that you maintain sufficient focus as an entrepreneur?
“By bringing focus to your work, it is also clear to your customers and employees which direction your company is heading. Focus ensures that you stay busy with the right things. I know how tempting it is to have a good idea. and want to get started right away. You want to keep going and you want to turn your good idea into action. You want to go immediately, not to delay. But sometimes it is also good to stop and think. Does this plan bring me further with my long-term goal? Is this what my customers and/or employees want? Will this benefit me, my partner, and my company?”
How do you distinguish between main and side issues? And how do you keep the focus on your core tasks? Where is your focus as an entrepreneur in the coming day, week, month, and year? Determine where you want to be in five years, two years, and one year. What do you have to do to get there? Dreise: “Start big, but make it smaller and smaller. My motto: ‘If you change, you’re done”. It does not matter whether you are a starter or an experienced entrepreneur: it remains tempting to take on all tasks and responsibilities. Even if you have too little time or expertise for that.” Still, it is quite easy to keep your focus on what really counts, says Dreise. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey have played an important role in this.
Some entrepreneurs regard their administration as an afterthought. Especially fast-growing companies sometimes pay little attention to their administrative obligations or to the efficiency of the associated work processes. “Don’t fall into the trap,” Dreise warns. “Performing your administrative work adequately and consistently is an important condition for success. Unfortunately, that importance is often underestimated.”
The motto: ‘If you change, you’re done’.
“You have to embed information in your company in a consistent way. In the first place you think of accounting obligations, but it goes much further than that. From marketing automation to a suitable CRM system: quotations, contracts or the notes of conversations with customers or prospects also require a consistent approach, which is why you need well-thought-out processes, systems and work instructions, otherwise you are working on quicksand and you increase the chance of a policy failing.” In his role as co-founder and director, Dreise is responsible for all areas and activities of his company and sees himself as a generalist. He is not an expert in every field. want to develop”, continues Dreise. “They often need custom software and advice, and they demand extra attention in all areas for their extensive IT infrastructure. We consciously focus on open source development in techniques including WordPress CMS and know how to link this to user-friendliness and conversion. By recruiting the right employees, we have all the expertise in-house to meet that demand.”
“Every entrepreneur has his or her own strategy. At Convident Groningen, I determine the direction of the company in consultation with business partner Rutger. But it even goes a step further, because my employees also have an influence on this. Because if my employees are having a good time, then so am I. So their vision can certainly influence my focus. We plan a ‘hut on the heath’ session with our entire team twice a year. With our strategy you have your long-term goals in order. You know where you want to go. Maybe this is a turnover target (I want to achieve at least amount X in turnover this year). Or a customer target (I aim for 5,000 unique visitors to my website each month). Not every entrepreneur has this on paper. But certainly every entrepreneur has this in his or her head.”
“It’s impossible to concentrate in an environment that is disruptive. Of course this varies from person to person, so make sure the environment suits you. While some people need silence, others work best with buzz in the background.” The disruptors are often:
“See what you can do about each situation. For example, work somewhere else (distributed), put on a noise canceling headset (this one is highly recommended!), check your e-mail at specific times and put your phone on silent (responsible for your company). So if you are not doing well, it has a lot of effect on your company. The most important thing is to take good care of yourself. Sleep enough, eat healthy, exercise regularly. Even when it is busy. If you are inclined to say: ‘I’m going to skip sports because I have a deadline’, then you should start exercising,” says Dreise. “Those are the moments that make the difference. Usually the new ideas even come when you do nothing at all. You need time to process all the information and you do that by relaxing and taking good care of yourself.”
What is the core task that you should cherish as an entrepreneur? Dreise is quick about it: “Growing your business. And to achieve that you especially need a distinctive vision. And don’t underestimate authenticity. “Stay yourself”, he clarifies. “Because I think that is the ingredient to enjoy and 100 percent committed to doing your job.”
“Entrepreneurship is not something you learn from a book,” adds Dreise. “You have to experiment and explore new routes. In addition, it is and remains an indisputable fact: as an entrepreneur you have to keep working hard to conquer, expand or continue your place in the market.”
Are you overflowing with ideas and can’t decide which one to implement? As an entrepreneur, do you have trouble focusing? Do you waste time on useless things or get distracted too easily? Feel free to contact Rick Dreise for more (personal) practical tips and advice!