Over the course of my career, I have worked with many successful small business owners and, sadly, some that were not. In most, if not all cases, success was driven by things that were within the control of the entrepreneur.
Common traits that they share include;
1. They Get to the Contest.
They know what their most important activity is and this drives everything in their business. By having a clear focus and putting first things first, they maximise their output from limited time and resources.
2. They take a step back and reflect.
If you are about to take a big business decision or just going through the flow of your steady career, it helps to take a step back from time to time to assess and reflect on where you are now and where you want to head. Clear your mind, get clarity on your goals, then focus on implementing strategies to hit your targets.
3 .Successful business owners slow everything down when it comes to strategy
This may seem counter-intuitive. We live in a fast-paced world. Everyone expects results instantly. Businesses have to be fast paced and quick to innovate. However, there is still a time and place to slow things down. There is an old anonymous quote which i feel is applicable here: “If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I would spend 6 of those hours sharpening my axe”.
In my experience, successful business owners will take their time to make the right decision strategically and then implement.
4. They are open to change and implement quickly.
Once a strategy is considered and agreed, they implement quickly. Those who are reluctant to change often have the line, “That’s a good idea, but it won’t work for us. Our business is different”. Those that succeed push past this resistance and lead the implementation.
5. They listen and learn.
Every day is an opportunity to learn. There are no failures in life. These are just learning opportunities. Successful entrepreneurs tend to take this approach to be resilient and take this approach to inevitable setbacks. Those that are less successful tend to repeat the same mistakes and reluctant to make any changes to their business.
6. They have a mentor.
A recent study of American small business found that 70 percent of mentored businesses survive more than five years, double the rate for non-mentored small businesses over that same period. Having a mentor literally doubles a business’s chances of survival!
If you can, get yourself a mentor and who can share their expertise; Always be looking to learn. Once you stop learning and innovating, you will surely be irrelevant.
7. They know their numbers.
They understand their numbers. They understand the sales cycle, margins, and overheads. They know where they make their money and which products or services are most profitable.
This means they can better target their clients and know which deals to say yes to and which to walk away from. A part of knowing their numbers is keeping track of their books in real time. Xero is perfect for this.
8. They have a partnership with their accountant.
Successful entrepreneurs know their strengths and limitations. Those that work closely with their accountant are better able to manage profitability, cash flow, tax, and have significantly better asset protection. Successful entrepreneurs involve their accountant in the decision making process. Major strategic initiatives and investments can be almost impossible to “unwind” - so getting guidance before taking action enhances the chances of success.
9. They manage their cash flow.
Cash is King. It’s one thing to make a profit; it’s another to turn that money into cash. Growing businesses suck the cash out of a company - often to the point that profitable companies go under. Those that plan their cash flow and have great relationships with customers, suppliers and lenders are best placed for success.
10. They read.
Leaders are Readers. Reading and learning opens your mind to new ideas and innovations. The book doesn’t have to be related to your specific industry. Often the best ideas come from a completely different perspective.
If you are time poor - check out the Audible App. Audio book are a great way to learn. If you are yet to use Audible, contact our office and we can send you your first free audio book, with no obligation to sign up to any ongoing subscriptions.
11. They make it easy to do business.
Successful businesses make it easy to do business. It feels seamless and easy.
Put yourself in the buyer's shoes. Walk through your sales process. What are the likely blockages or frustrations of a customer? What can you do to remove the obstacles to doing business?
These can be things like: Do you accept credit card; Do you offer a finance solution to the purchaser; Do you offer a money back guarantee; What is your turnaround time on proposals and quotes. The above are just some examples of things which can be the difference between a customer signing up on the spot or missing out on the sale.
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I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!