Originally posted February 13, 2014 by Richard Feloni on http://www.businessinsider.com
Each morning, small business owners awake with a fresh determination to continue growing their companies, developing their employees, and keeping their customers happy.
This unique intimacy with both staff and clients requires a high level of effective time management that starts as soon as they get out of bed.
We spoke with 15 successful entrepreneurs who have developed morning routines that clear their minds, energize their bodies, and prepare them for the day ahead.
Jeffrey Zurofsky, CEO and co-founder of ‘wichcraft, Riverpark, and Riverpark Farm, is ‘an animal’ about his rituals.
Zurofsky is a co-founder of the gourmet sandwich chain ‘wichcraft, which started in New York City in 2003 and grew to 15 locations spread over New York, San Francisco, and Las Vegas. He and his two business partners, Tom Colicchio and Sisha Ortuzar, also opened the restaurant Riverpark and its accompanying urban farm.
Zurofsky is so passionate about his morning ritual that he prepares the night before, when he writes out his to-do list and organizes emails. Before he goes to sleep sometime between midnight and 2 a.m., he eats two scoops of almond butter because he says it helps build energy for the following morning.
After he wakes up at 5:30 (he makes up for the limited sleep with a nap later in the day), he walks his dog and does some kind of exercise, whether it’s running, a workout, or squash. He follows it up with some meditation, and then he’s ready for an intense meal. “I have an enormous breakfast: 1,000 calories, 30 grams of protein,” he says. “It changes cuisines, but it’s always eggs, a cup of legumes, veggies, and typically some meats — whether it’s chicken breast or leftover something.” He washes it all down with a glass of green juice with ginger.
Jeffrey ‘jeffstaple’ Ng, founder and owner of Staple Design, starts his day with a Japanese pour-over coffee.
Ng, who goes by jeffstaple, started his cutting edge design brand in New York City with a single T-shirt back in 1997. Staple Design has worked with international clients such as Nike, HBO, Puma, and Uniqlo, and his signature pigeon logo has made Staple Clothing an instantly recognizable brand in streetwear.
Ng brings the same energy to his mornings as he does to his business. He wakes at 8 every day and scans his phone for urgent emails or messages while still in bed. And rather than settling for a cup of Folgers, he hand grinds quality coffee beans and then does a Japanese pour-over, a style of drip brewing that takes five to 10 minutes for a single cup.
In the shower, he uses AquaNotes, a waterproof notepad, to jot down ideas as his mind wanders. Three times a week, he’ll work out with his personal trainer after coffee.
And of course, his outfit is a top priority, which he said he starts from the bottom up: “I get dressed by choosing my footwear first, then build my outfit based on which shoes I’m going to be wearing. Luckily, my wardrobe is mostly clothing I’ve designed…so it’s pretty straightforward.”
Jamie Walker, co-founder and CEO of Fit Approach and SweatGuru, starts her day with a ‘good sweat session.’
Walker and her cousin Alyse Mason-Brill started Fit Approach in 2010 as a San Francisco-based fitness “boot camp” that has grown to a network of over 4,000 “ambassadors” throughout the country. The two then launched SweatGuru last year as a tool to set up workouts with friends and colleagues. Walker says that over 1,500 businesses are using SweatGuru’s services.
Taking a dose of her own medicine, Walker gets up at 5:30 each morning to get in a “good sweat session,” which can mean running, working out, or yoga. It helps her begin her day “on a refreshed and calm note,” and making exercise her first priority ensures that it doesn’t fall off the to-do list later, “since things tend to come up throughout the day when you own two businesses.”
Dave Gilboa, co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker, gets going by riding his bike to work.
Gilboa founded the innovative eyewear company Warby Parker with Neil Blumenthal, Andrew Hunt, and Jeffrey Raider back in 2010. Since that time, the brand has sold over half a million frames, a healthy number for an online startup competing against the near-monopolistic Luxottica prescription eyewear corporation.
Gilboa’s not really a morning person, but he thinks he’s found a solution: “I’m usually a little groggy in the morning, but I find that anytime I exercise to get the blood flowing, I have more energy throughout the day. So I’ve been riding my bike to work, even in the winter.” He usually makes it to the office by 8 a.m., with his brain “woken up” by the bike ride.
Geoff McQueen, CEO of AffinityLive, holds stand-up meetings each morning in the office.
AffinityLive is a growing small business in Silicon Valley that creates business automation software. It doubled its business last year and the team made significant software upgrades.
McQueen hates meetings that serve only as status updates, because he finds that they waste time and lower efficiency. But he also knows the importance of checking in with his team. His solution is a stand-up meeting to start each day.
“We all gather in the middle of our office and stand while bringing up any urgent updates that need to be discussed,” McQueen says. “Standing enforces a sense of urgency, so these meetings are quick and efficient, and I’m still able to get a sense of exactly what’s going on with my business.
Elle Kaplan, founding partner and CEO of LexION Capital Management, draws inspirations from watching the sun rise over New York.
Kaplan started LexION in 2010, making it one of the few American asset management firms owned by a woman. Within her first month, she achieved $1 million in assets, due to the network she established at firms she had previously worked for.
Kaplan wakes up some time before dawn to make coffee and give her dog Magic a bone. She then gets to reading the news and sifting through emails.
“Although I have technically begun working, the dog at my feet and the rising orange sun evoke a time before the work day begins,” she says. “I look out over the park at Lincoln Center and see New York waking up, the energy invigorating me, too, and I get excited for the day. And I am ready to work.”
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