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The Empowered Entrepreneur Five tips for entrepreneurs focused on new business success

By Microsoft

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"Do my employees have what they need to succeed? Am I tapping the right resources? Am I using the right technology?" As an entrepreneur building a new business, the path to success often comes with more questions than answers. Luckily you can learn from colleagues, mentors, and other professionals who have been in your shoes before. By focusing your time and resources on a few essential tactics, the ability to build momentum and put your business on the trajectory to success will be within reach. Read on for five tips on how to achieve entrepreneurial greatness.

1. Work Smart

There is true meaning behind the phrase "work smarter, not harder." It's all about efficiency! Your business is growing because you hired the right people, but are you using them to the best of their abilities? Your employees are your most valuable resource, so instead of trying to solve unfamiliar problems on your own, reach out to your colleagues for help. Avoid duplicating work and focus on delegating tasks to those best to complete them.

It's easy to get caught up in the small things on a daily basis, but working smarter also means prioritizing what is most important to you and your business. Don't waste time on work that will have a low return on your time investment. Recognize your high-priority and high-return projects, schedule time when you and your team can work specifically on those projects, and stick to it.

2. Sleep More

Becoming the CEO who only sleeps four hours a night may seem like a viable way to run your business. After all, working more hours means getting more done, right? Wrong. "Too little sleep leaves us drowsy and unable to concentrate the next day," reports the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Forty-three percent of business leaders say they don't get enough sleep at least four nights a week, as reported by a survey from McKinsey & Company. Lack of sleep affects your leadership ability. Most of the functions associated with leadership come from your prefrontal cortex, which doesn't do well with sleep deprivation, says BMC Neuroscience.

3. Grow Your Network

No matter your market or where you see your business in 10 years, your expansion potential reaches only as far as your network. Although attending in-person networking events is important, it's not always possible when running a business. Fortunately, social media and online communities make expanding your reach beyond your local community easier than ever. Can't make it to a local event? Instead join a Twitter chat or participate in on a webinar. Online discussions with others who attended will open your network to influencers you may not otherwise meet. Additionally, an online presence can boost SEO and position you as a thought leader in the industry.

4. Give Yourself a Break

Since the 1940s, studies have shown that break time is vital to the workforce, according to FastCoDesign. Unfortunately, if company leaders don't apply the practice to their daily routines, employees might feel like they can't take a break either, says Health.com. Consider taking active breaks throughout your day—like going on a walk—and encourage employees to do the same.

5. Mobilize and Look to the Cloud

Nine-to-five businesses that only operate within office walls are going the way of the fax machines that inhabited them. Growing a business means traveling to meet new customers, heading to trade shows, and collaborating with partners around the world. Investing in tools that give your employees mobile and cloud access means that they can continue working from virtually anywhere, while helping grow your business. Currently, nearly half of small-business owners use smartphones as their primary device for running operations, according to an Intuit report.

The mobile workforce is expected to grow to 105.4 million in 2020 (more than 72 percent of the US workforce by that time), according to the International Data Corporation. As the mobile workforce grows in 2020, so will the move for small businesses to move to the cloud. By that time, 78% will have adapted to the cloud, growing from 37% in 2015.

Ready to take the next step in jumpstarting your business to success? Register for the Office Small Business Academy webcast, Small Business, Big Ideas: Live Expert Q&A, in celebration of National Small Business Week. Submit your questions for our entrepreneurial experts on Twitter with the hashtag #OfficeSmallBiz and tune in on May 5th to see if they are answered on-air!

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