• Create a list of business-related books and do the reading.
  • Goals are more likely to happen when they're recorded on paper.
  • Never reach a point where you've "made it" because you should always be growing and evolving.

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Before you read and watch this post, please note a couple things. First, don’t let the word entrepreneur throw you off. It’s a strong term. Some people believe they are entrepreneurs, and others, even if they’re trying to grow a business, might not feel comfortable claiming the label.

A lot of people in real estate, for example, might not consider themselves entrepreneurs, but they are looking to grow a business and are, therefore, entrepreneurs. Anyone of any kind who’s looking to grow a business — this applies to you.

Also, this article should help you lay out a road map. Business shouldn’t be a confusing, magical, strange thing where people don’t realize what leads to success in the growth of companies, or any kind of business model.

Many successful entrepreneurs and business owners do the exact same things. That’s what we’ve learned over time. Here are the productive practices you can take away from the leaders we follow on social media or know in person:

1. Create a reading/learning list

Many people we’ve met over the years and other successful business owners we follow have a list of their favorite books related to business. Hot topics includes mindset, marketing, and technical stuff in a given industry.

But there are a lot of common books on different people’s lists:

  • “The 4 Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss
  • “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill
  • “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey.

Do the reading because you need to learn this stuff.

2. Put goals on paper, or create a business plan

It’s been shown many times over that you are more likely to make any kind of goal happen if you actually put it down on paper.

It can be a regular piece of paper. It can be Evernote. It can be anything that’s written out so that you can refer back to it frequently.

3. Get a mentor or coach ASAP

Seeking the help of any successful person is extremely important, rather than just going it alone — blindly. A mentor can be a family member, someone you know in your community, an actual executive coach, etc.

There are great business coaches out there — some of them are inexpensive, some are pricey, but finding someone who has already found success is a crucial place to start.

4. Prepare to change mentally

That’s a strong statement, and it should be. The process of who you become, how you develop and how you evolve when learning to grow a business throughout the year is a powerful thing.

Some people are prepared for that mental change and are willing to evolve. And some people, frankly, are not. If you want to grow a business, your business is only going to be as good as you are. Your business will become an extension of you. So however good you become is how big and awesome your business can be.

5. Be in constant beta mode

That’s a term I picked up from an article years ago, and the guy was describing his company as being in “constant beta mode,” a constant state of change and improvement.

A lot of times you want to think: when we get to this point, when we get to X amount of revenue or when we get to X number of employees, then we’re there, and we’ve made it.

But there really isn’t a point of “making it.” It’s going to change forever. That’s a tough thing to swallow for a lot of people. It’s a little daunting to think that you’re always going to be in constant beta — always changing and improving. But in our 10 or more years in business, that’s exactly what we’ve seen.

6. Stay hyperfocused on what works

Remain disciplined and diligent about what really brings in the dollars and makes your business move. Always doing new things and changing different elements around you is important, but don’t lose sight of what pays the bills — what allows your employees to get paid.

Follow the steps that many successful entrepreneurs before you have taken instead of reinventing the wheel.

People always want to say, “that doesn’t apply to me or my business.” It’s a big mistake to think that way. Just do what successful people do — and you’ll take out a lot of the guesswork.

Chris Haddon is an entrepreneur based in Washington, D.C., a partner at Hard Money Bankers and a co-founder of REI360.net.

Email Chris Haddon.