There is no proven formula for success in the business world. That stroke of genius ad campaign that generated hundreds of leads for one company won’t work the same magic for the next. The product marketing guru that helped one company make an incredible successful exit won’t know how to approach the next product.
There are, of course, best practices, that you can implement and hope for the best, but one fact is proven. According to a recent study by the Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute, there are six traits that all (or at least most) business owners have in common. The study, “Six Dimensions That Characterize Success-Oriented Small Business Owners”, surveyed 1,100 small businesses with between 2 and 99 employees. What are those traits? Read on.
Collaborate, Collaborate, Collaborate
Successful small business owners surround themselves by people with greater expertise than they have, and listen to what their colleagues to say. Build a strong management team and trust what they have to bring to the table. Delegate and make sure that the best person is doing each task. Check out these tips to see how smart people collaborate for success.
Enjoy what you do. You won’t get far if you don’t enjoy coming into work every day and propelling the business forward. Cherish all the pros that come with being a small business owner. You get to be your own boss, control your income, and be creative every day as you look for new paths to market and boost your business. Come into the office every day with the understanding that you are creating something worthwhile.
Always Look Forward
A key to building a thriving business is planning, both in the short and long terms. Be clear on how the business will run day-to-day as well as following a roadmap for how the business will run for years. How will you grow? How many employees will you hire? What new services will you offer? Can your current developers create the next wow factor in your product? Jeff Bezos didn’t get where he is today without a plan. There are solutions on the market to help you make your business plans a reality.
Read. Learn. Ask questions. Study other businesses that are successful and those that have failed. Learn from their mistakes as well as your own. Analyze which employees are more successful and ask why. Curiosity may have killed the cat but unless you’re snooping where you shouldn’t be, it can only push you forward. Ask questions and never stop learning. There are plenty of resources out there for the purpose of answering your questions. Consider sites such as Reddit, Quora, and LinkedIn. Never underestimate the community’s willingness to share advice and experiences.
Be Action Oriented
Differentiate yourself from competitors. Look at what they’re doing and figure out how you can flip that business model on its head. Think in verbs. How is what your doing breaking the mold? Set a clear plan and do what is needed to make it happen.
According to Mark D. Wolf, director of the Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute:
“Success-oriented small business owners are a special breed of highly motivated, caring and curious individuals. They effectively balance their personal and business goals, take advantage of others’ expertise and continually seek to learn the best practices exhibited by peer companies.”
We live in an age of technology. Embrace that technology to improve your business practices. There are countless free and paid solutions available that can help you with everything from time management (Toggl) to social media automation (Oktopost). Take the time to learn what’s on the market and find the solutions that best work with your business. Remember that curiosity trait? Use that. Check out sites like IT Central Station or Trust Radius to see what real users are saying about the tools and solutions that work for them. The bottom line is that technology, when used correctly, can ramp up your efficiency and help you beat the competition.