Do you have what it takes to get through hard times? Here are the traits that help small business owners thrive.
Regardless of your definition of success, there are, oddly enough, a great number of common characteristics that are shared by successful businesspeople. You can place a check beside each characteristic that you feel that you possess. This way, you can see how you stack up. Even if you don’t have all of these characteristics, don’t fret. Most can be learned with practice and by developing a winning attitude, especially if you set goals and apply yourself, through strategic planning, to reach those goals in incremental and measurable stages.
The Start-up Business Musts
Like any activity you pursue, there are certain MUSTS that are required to be successful in a chosen activity. To legally operate a vehicle on public roadways, one must have a driver’s license; to excel in sports, one must train and practice; to retire comfortably, one must become an informed investor and actively invest for retirement. If your goal is success in business, then the formula is no different. There are certain MUSTS that have to be fully developed, implemented and managed for your business to succeed. There are many business MUSTS but this article contains what I believe to be some of the more important MUSTS that are required to start, operate and grow a profitable small business.
1. Do what you enjoy.
What you get out of your business in the form of personal satisfaction, financial gain, stability and enjoyment will be the sum of what you put into your business. So if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, in all likelihood it’s safe to assume that will be reflected in the success of your business, or subsequent lack of success. In fact, if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, chances are you won’t succeed.
2. Take what you do seriously.
You cannot expect to be effective and successful in business unless you truly believe in your business and in the goods and services that you sell. Far too many start-up business owners fail to take their own businesses seriously enough, getting easily sidetracked and not staying motivated and keeping their noses to the grindstone. They also fall prey to naysayers who don’t take them seriously because they don’t work from an office building, office park, storefront, or factory. Little do these skeptics, who rain on the small business owner’s parade, know is that the number of people running small businesses and making very good annual incomes, has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years.
3. Plan everything.
Planning every aspect of your start-up business is not only a must, but also builds habits that every small business owner should develop, implement, and maintain. The act of business planning is so important because it requires you to analyze each business situation, research and compile data, and make conclusions based mainly on the facts as revealed through the research. Business planning also serves a second function, which is having your goals and how you will achieve them, on paper. You can use the plan that you create both as map to take you from point A to Z and as a yardstick to measure the success of each individual plan or segment within the plan.
4. Manage money wisely.
The lifeblood of any business enterprise is cash flow. You need it to buy inventory, pay for services, promote and market your business, repair and replace tools and equipment, and pay yourself so that you can continue to work. Therefore, all small business owners must become wise money managers to ensure that the cash keeps flowing and the bills get paid. There are two aspects to wise money management:
* The money you receive from clients in exchange for your goods and services you provide (income)
* The money you spend on inventory, supplies, wages and other items required to keep your business operating. (expenses)
5. Ask for the sale.
A small business entrepreneur must always remember that marketing, advertising, or promotional activities are completely worthless, regardless of how clever, expensive, or perfectly targeted they are, unless one simple thing is accomplished, the sale. This is not to say that being a great salesperson, advertising copywriting whiz or a public relations specialist isn’t a tremendous asset to your business. However, all of these skills will be for naught if you do not actively ask people to buy what you are selling.
6. Remember it’s all about the customer.
Your start-up business is not about the products or services that you sell. Your business is not about the prices that you charge for your goods and services. Your business is not about your competition and how to beat them. Your business is all about your customers, or clients, period. After all, your customers are the people that will ultimately decide if your business goes boom or bust. Everything you do in business must be customer focused, including your policies, warranties, payment options, operating hours, presentations, advertising and promotional campaigns and website. In addition, you must know who your customers are.
COMMON CHARACTERISTICS OF SUCCESSFUL START-UP ENTREPRENEURS
BY James Stephenson