I started CRAVEBOX in 2014. CRAVEBOX assembles and sells gift snack boxes and baskets. This company started as a small business operating out of my apartment from my laptop. I spent several years doing everything myself from buying inventory to assembling the snack boxes to sales and marketing. It required a ton of work and time to build CRAVEBOX into the successful company it is today. For anyone starting a business from scratch, the most important thing is to have the right mindset and develop the right habits with regards to work and productivity. You won’t see big results overnight but if you do the right things on a regular basis over time, success will come. I’ve found that the 3 biggest factors in maximizing productivity are: work everyday, prioritize tasks, hire and train good staff.
Our bodies and brains work in a circadian rhythm. Everyday there should be certain routines because we are made to do certain things for certain amounts of times during the natural rhythm of the day and night. For example, every night you should sleep. You should not take off on the weekends from sleeping. You should also drink water every day. You should probably also get some exercise every day – even if it’s just some walking. The point is, we are designed to do a moderate amount of certain things each day – not too much and not too little. That keeps us in balance and feeling healthy. The same goes for work. I notice, personally, that I want to work everyday. Soon after I wake up in the morning, I have a desire to get some work done and be productive. But I also don’t feel good if I overwork on any given day. There comes a point where I’ve worked hard for several hours and I need a break or I need to just wind things down for the day, rest, and get ready to work the next morning. If you take off entirely from work because you go on a vacation or you like to take weekends off, you are wasting that natural energy that’s given to you each morning to do a few hours of high-quality work. It’s not a good strategy to think you can take off weekends and work extra hard on the weekdays because our bodies don’t work that way. There is a finite amount of energy that we can use to do quality work each day and you should take advantage of that each day. Even if you only do solid, quality, productive work for 4 hours per day, 7 days per week, that’s likely better than trying to work for 8 hours per day 5 days per week and taking 2 days completely off. Because on those 5 – 8hour days, you won’t have the energy to work 8 full hours anyway – many of those hours will consist of low-quality work.
As I grew CRAVEBOX, there was always an infinite amount of things I could do. There are an infinite amount of routes you can go and things you can focus on. Your job as a person starting a business is to figure out which tasks are the most important. This is probably the hardest part of becoming successful because a lot of people can work hard but they need to work hard for someone else because if left to their own devices, they don’t know what to work on. I give thought each week to which very important tasks I want to complete for the upcoming week. You can actually get away with working less hard than someone else and still be much more productive than them if you’re working on the more important tasks that will lead to success. So give a lot of thought to what you’re trying to achieve and how you might get there. Also a good tip is that usually the most important tasks are the hardest ones. It’s easy to check your emails but it’s difficult to design new products and market them. The most productive tasks – the ones that will generate sales and improve your business – are usually the tasks that require lots of energy, brain power, and are usually the ones you don’t feel like doing. A lot of people deep inside actually know what they should do but they procrastinate on those important tasks because they are difficult.
Hire and Train Good Staff
As CRAVEBOX grew, I started to make a little profit and I noticed that my time could be better spent growing the business instead of making snack boxes in my living room all day. So, I took some of the profit, leased a small warehouse space, and hired my first employee. This employee would make snack boxes while I worked in the office on the computer, improving products, marketing them, and doing other activities to help grow the business. Over time I hired more employees to make snack boxes, manage the warehouse staff, and complete other important tasks. I also leased bigger and bigger warehouse spaces so my staff could operate effectively. I was always slow to hire and quick to fire so that anyone who remains on my team today is a great worker with a great attitude. I always train employees well, treat them with respect, pay them generously, and give them lots of freedom and autonomy to make decisions and do their job without my supervision or permission. This has helped my productivity in growing the business remain as strong as ever. If your business grows and you fail to hire good people, you will get bogged down in the daily operations of the business and you won’t have the time or energy to further grow your business. Even worse, you might not have the time to improve to the point where your competitors start taking your market share.
About John Accardi
John Accardi is the founder and CEO of cravebox.com and starcourse