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Updated 29 Sep 2020

Why the disciplined entrepreneur is a happy, successful entrepreneur

Successful entrepreneurs are usually admired for the disciplined approach they have in life and business.  This attitude enables them to spend seemingly endless hours tackling the important and small tasks that come with every enterprise.

01 October 2014  Share  0 comments  Print

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The difference between self-disciplined entrepreneurs with successful, sustainable businesses and those who don’t rise to their full potential is simple.

True entrepreneurs do what they should, when it should be done, and whether they feel like doing it or not, says Ravi Govender, Head of Small Enterprises at Standard Bank.

Getting on with what has to be done

The ability to focus on ‘what has to be done’ is a common trait shared by the 12 finalists who recently participated in the ‘Think Big - Building Business Champions’ TV series, and is undoubtedly an attribute that put them all in line to win a R1 million cash injection into growing their business. 

“Whichever way you look at business, it is always the people who have drive, ambition and the discipline to work through problems who succeed. Those who struggle to get motivated to tackle unpleasant jobs are the people who don’t achieve what they could.” 

“Willpower and self-discipline go hand in hand. Developing good habits is something that can be learned,” says Govender.

There are several behaviours that we can all cultivate. They include:

1. Changing basic attitudes.

The person who says that he or she has no self-discipline, will be exactly what they tell others. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

2. Taking full responsibility for your company’s performance.

When you acknowledge that the buck stops with you, you become action-orientated. Blaming outside influences for non-performance will stop, allowing you to concentrate on what is important.

3. Making the jobs you don’t enjoy priority tasks.

Entrepreneurs often do everything within their companies themselves, especially during their start-up phase. By doing the jobs you dislike first, you clear the day for the things you enjoy and do best, and create more time to do these tasks excellently. 

If you allow the disliked tasks to accumulate until crisis point, more time and effort will be required. If you have a partner whose skills supplement yours, rather delegate the unpleasant jobs or share the load. Better still; think about outsourcing to a specialist. 

4. Motivating yourself.

When things are tough, remind yourself that you control your destiny and are building a legacy, you have freedom to act and have goals you are working towards.

Look back at what you have achieved and then look to the future. This should fill you with renewed energy. 

5. Being honest about your weaknesses and planning around them.  

If you are easily distracted during the first hour at work, make it policy that no-one bothers you or simply close your office door.

If you are in greater demand at a certain time of day, plan to get the important things done before this time.

6. Creating a work schedule and sticking to it.

You can get the difficult jobs done during a set time. Because they are scheduled, they become ‘top of mind’.

7. Making yourself and everybody else accountable for outcomes.

If you have to report to someone else on what you have achieved, there is more chance it will get done. Follow this process throughout your business and productivity will increase. 

8. Once you are aware of a job, doing it as soon as you can.

If it is a small task that will take a few minutes, do it immediately.

“Good discipline is habit-forming. If you make a decision to become more self-disciplined at work and work hard at it for a month or two, you will find it starts to come automatically. Better still, when you slip back into old habits, you will find that you feel uncomfortable and will naturally get back on track.” 

“Effort without reward is also tiring. Take time to congratulate yourself and those working with you when things are done well and the results are great. This way you build a happy, disciplined and loyal team,” says Govender.  

While the ‘Think Big’ series has concluded on TV screens, episodes can still be viewed online by visiting

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