Traits of a Successful Small Business Owner

There is no secret formula in this world which will make you the most successful small business owner. Every business has a different nature and different products or services to offer and that is why the success of a small business as a result of its business strategies. But it is the business owners who make those strategies and execute them to achieve the business goals. Some traits in personality and character are needed in a business owner on a very basic level. The entrepreneurs with the best professional and personal traits will prove to be the most successful. In this article I will share with you the characteristics and traits of small businesses owners.

Believe In What You Are Doing

If you don’t believe in your business then why would your customers believe in it? Think of a boy who has always wanted to be a choreographer and he is forced to study mechanical engineering. He will never be good at being an engineer because his personal interest lies in creating and directing professional dancers. Same is the case with business. So always chose own a business which has your personal interest in it. Then take it seriously. If you would take it for granted, very soon your interest in it will vanish. You will not like what you are doing and you will lose the motivation to keep running the business. So believe in what you are doing and act on your passions.

Planning and Management

Business strategies really make a difference. If you want to ensure the success of your small business then you need to plan your every move. Analyze every situation and do the necessary research to gather facts. Compile those facts and make calculated decision on the basis of it. Don’t rush into making business decision because every decision has a perfect impact on your business. Also make it sure that your business is excellent managed and organized. Keep your eye on the prize. Whether it is financial management or general management, always be proactive and don’t let yourself or others distract you from your goal.

Great Reputation

Would you ever buy from a company who has a reputation that they never deliver the product on time? The answer is no, because that business broke the trust of its customers by not delivering the product on time. Earn the trust of your customers and as a reward your reputation will increase. Don’t promise something you cannot deliver and always have principles for yourself and your company. Reputation is not something that you can buy. It’s intangible and you have to earn it. Don’t let anything hurt your personal or company’s reputation as it will result in serious consequences for your business.

Negotiate Effectively

A business man without effective negotiation skills is like a pilot without a plane. But there is an important thing to understand. If you are always able to win in a business negotiation, that doesn’t mean that you are good at it. It could mean that you might be losing business in the long run. You have to master your negotiation skills in such a way that you should be able to create a win-win situation for both parties. If everybody would feel that they have got something after that negotiation then you would have good business relations with your customers.

Promote Your Business

Get involved with people and the community that is beneficial for your business. Grab attention and never lose a chance to introduce and promote your business. Just make it sure that you don’t waste your time and money. Your small business may become insolvent if you try to raise awareness about your company by spending money. Try to build relationships. Would you like to do business with a person you just met or someone you have established a history with? People like to do business with those who they know. So, build contacts and promote your business in a very effective and inexpensive way.

Be Collaborative

Individual performance can never match team work. You should be able to work with your team to achieve the goals of your business. It is a very important trait as it ensures team effort, which eventually leads to the success of a small business. You should know that you cannot do everything on your own. So intelligently delegate tasks to your team and get them done in the most effective and efficient way. Don’t be a control freak. Motivate your staff and have a great relationship with them. Enable your staffs to make decisions, contribute ideas, and work on project that interest them. As a result, the performance and productivity of your team will increase and support your path to success.

Honest and Respectful

You should be honest and fair in your business dealings. Always be polite and respectful to the people you deal with. Both of these characteristics should be a permanent part of your personal and professional life. People really appreciate these traits as they increase their trust in your business. Be tactful and never take your customers lightly.

Dedicated and Hard Working

You should not be the kind of person who runs away from work and just builds castles in the air. It is all right to dream about success but success can only be achieved through hard work. Moreover, be dedicated to your work and stay focused. Don’t settle for anything less. Put your heart into your work and never stop until you are done with it.

In the end, I would like to make a special note. Occasionally you plan your business perfectly and have great personal and professional traits but still the business remains unable to reach its goals.

Sometimes it is simply having someone else look at your business with objectivity and creativity to identify the areas that need to change. Don’t be afraid or intimidated to ask for help.

You will be amazed what a fresh set of eyes can bring to your business and strategic goals. In the meantime, be consistent and stay connected. Use these strong personal and professional traits in yourself and soon your small business will be on the road to success.

The Secret to Transforming Your Business Into a Very Profitable Enterprise

In general, people who start their own business possess a wealth of desirable traits and skills that compel them to initiate their ventures. Virtually without exception, they’re very capable individuals who are naturally optimistic, passionate, creative, dedicated, highly motivated, action-oriented, and are not afraid of hard work and long hours to realize their goals and ambitions. Although many business owners consistently display these positive characteristics, it’s no secret that many new entrepreneurs find themselves faced with severe challenges while trying to turn their business into successful enterprise. There’s a lot of truth in the statement, “starting a business is the easy part, the real challenge is making real money from it.”

One of the main occupational hazards of owning a business is getting buried in the trivia of the daily business operations. When owners get caught up in the details of running their business, they can easily lose sight of what they, as an owner, should be doing to turn their business into a profitable venture.

The vital step on the path to turning your business into a profitable enterprise is to become more of a CEO (chief executive officer) type of owner. In other words, keep your eye on the big picture and create a system that will ensure your business operates the way you want it to, without your constant involvement in attending to each and every detail. You’ll also need to know what type of activities you, as an owner, must be focused on to achieve any degree of sustainable success.

The potential benefits of becoming a CEO type of owner are significant and will have a profound impact not only on the financial performance of your business but on the quality of your lifestyle as well.

As more of a chief executive owner, your business won’t be totally dependent on you being there all the time, so unlike many business operators, you’ll be able to have a life outside of running your business too. In addition, you’ll be better positioned to grow your business through new marketing initiatives, setting up additional lines of business, developing multiple locations or even franchising your concept, if that’s what you want to do.

Let’s establish the cold hard fact here; knowing how to run your business isn’t enough. Many people who start a business don’t fully understand the role they should play as an owner. They’re convinced that managing or focusing on the operational functions in their business is all that’s really needed from them to create a profitable, scalable and sustainable enterprise.

Consider for example the entrepreneur who starts a venture or business managers who raises some capital and create their own concept. They’re confident that because they know how to “run a business” they, by default, also know how to build a successful business. This couldn’t be farther from the truth and is the fatal assumption behind the failure or lack of success in many, if not most of business ventures.

One of the problems of being a successful business owner and knowing how to run a business is that many end up to only that; constantly “running the business.” And if the owner spends all his/her time running the business, he/she often overlooks or doesn’t pay adequate time and attention to those things necessary to manage other equally important aspects of any business like marketing, promotions and strategic thinking.

The more dependent a business is on the owner’s day in, day out involvement in the operational details of the business, the greater the risk of failure. When business owners are unable to detach themselves from the daily activities of running the business, they are, in all but very rare situations, unable to do those things necessary to move the business forward in any meaningful way.

Three Big Lessons from Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group

You may wonder what an independent business operator could possibly learn from the man who created the Virgin Empire. What could you possibly have in common with a major corporation that serves millions of customers a day via 400 companies around the globe?

From an organizational standpoint, you may not have a lot in common with Virgin, however, Richard Branson’s ingenious approach and guiding principles are not only relevant but provide highly relevant gems of wisdom every business owner should know and apply.

Branson’s leadership and business sense helped turn Virgin Group from one retail outlet to one of the most profitable business enterprises of all time. Just how Richard Branson was able to build such a massive and extremely profitable business operation in a relatively short time span certainly deserves our attention.

First lesson, get to work ‘on’ the business, not ‘in’ it. When Richard Branson devised the master plan for Virgin Group back in the 1970s and started his first records store in Oxford Street London. He didn’t go to work “in” the business. He went to work “on” the business. To Branson, the first Virgin business was a model or prototype that was to be reproduced again and again in cities and towns all over the England.

Instead of personally rolling up his sleeves and running that first Virgin records company, he began the process of developing every operational function of that business from inception to final launch, and so on. Without changing the essence of the concept, he made refinements and proceeded to develop a comprehensive set of standards and procedures, a system, if you will, for running a records outlet “the Virgin way.”

After completing his first objective of building a completely developed business model for the records business, Branson then moved on to the next phase of his plan. He was now able to roll out numerous outlets in a systematic and proven way that virtually ensured their success.

Branson then went to work on Virgin’s other business opportunities and formed several multi-billion dollar companies in airlines, media, music, cosmetics, energy, mobile communications, health banking and transportation to name a few.

Second, the ‘Innovation, system and creativity’ are the solutions. To have any chance of realizing his vision of a company with hundreds of locations and thousands of people operating them, Branson knew that every business had to be operated in a profitable manner by employing innovative people supported by solid systems and inspired by continuous creativity.

I always tell my clients that for example the reason to have a communications system is that it’s the only way to get extraordinary results out of ordinary people. Businesses can’t afford and really don’t need extraordinary people but they do need to leverage their people with excellent internal and external communications system. You want ordinary people who are able to produce excellent results by having an excellent marketing and operational communications system.

With an innovative communications system, a business becomes a valuable asset in itself because it has the ability to produce consistent results and do this with or without the constant, direct involvement of the owner.

By contrast, many business owners who never stop working “in” their business create a bottleneck and deprive their operation of vital and timely communications. They start out being the primary go-to person in the business, which, of course, is understandable and necessary at the beginning, but if they stay in this role for months and even years after a reasonable start-up period, the business, the people and the owner all suffer.

When owners continue to be intimately involved in the day-to-day operations of the business, in a way they can’t also function as an owner. They are closer to being another employee. Sure, the owner is the boss and their name is on the lease and the bank loan, but beyond that, they are working in the business in much the same way an employee or a manager would.

It’s important that business operators recognize the implications of the way they approach their business and how they see their role in it. If they’re spending most of their time and energy running the business, chances are that their business isn’t achieving its potential for success and they don’t have much of a life outside of the business either. The reason many businesses have problems is that the owner is not focused on those functions and activities that an owner needs to be doing to move the business forward.

Third lesson, multiply your business, in your mind, a hundred times bigger than its current size. Imagine Richard Branson visits your business and is just blown away by the concept you’ve created. He likes it so much he wants to form a joint venture with you and provide you with the capital to build 100 more, just like your first.

So, you’re now faced with the prospect of running 100 more businesses. Do you think you’d start to do anything a little differently in your business beginning tomorrow? It should become very evident that you could no longer run your business the same way you’re doing it now. You could no longer operate the business in a way that requires you to be there all the time doing the work.

You’d realize, just like Richard Branson did, that your focus needs to be on building a system capable of producing consistent, predictable, high-quality results nearly every single time “without you.” The more your business depends on you being there every day, the greater the chances that your business will not reach its full potential for success. Your business has just got to be able to operate without your constant involvement, and developing a creative system supported by innovative strategies will help you get there.

In conclusion, if you begin the process of transforming yourself from mere employee to a CEO with the same passion and commitment you had when you started your business, you’ll end up with a better business and a more valuable enterprise. While the time and effort will be significant, you’ll be in a much better position to remove yourself from the daily demands of operations and focus your energies on other important functions that an owner needs to be doing.

In my next article we will discuss the various systems that you can deploy in your operation to turn your business into a profitable enterprise that can be profitably multiplied!

9 Business Etiquette Tips That Bring Business Profits

Many business owners are so focused on their profit margin, until they forget that one of the best ways to increase the bottom line is to simply “be nice”. Even though, a lot of business is done through technology, etiquette face to face and online is very necessary. Because of the new way of doing business in the 21st century, knowing what is proper and acceptable in business is not always apparent. Of course, when in doubt, the key is to remember to say and do things that make others feel good about being in your space and about doing business with you. This will allow you to build relationships that will lead to referrals, repeat business and to long lasting business friendships. Below are some tips that will help:

1. Send written thank you notes. Don’t let technology cause you to lose the personal touch. A handwritten note still conveys the very powerful message that you consider the person you are dealing with someone of value. There are times when sending a “thank you” by email is appropriate, for example if you have been communicating with the customer/client mostly by email, continue to do so; however, if the meeting involved a face to face meeting that warrants a thank you, take the time to write a note. People hold onto hand written notes much longer than they do an email. Even though an email can be saved, many people will read the thank you and discard the email. Sending a handwritten note, when so few are sent out today, will set you apart from your competition and it simply says you are a class act.

2. Return or respond to all phone calls. It is easy to ignore the phone calls of sales people or of a business person you do not want to talk; however, it is not prudent to do so. How you handle your daily phone calls says a lot about how your run your business, value your customers, and it gives a glimpse into how you feel about people in general. There will be phone calls that you will not want to address, but no one ever said that business was easy. Take the time to return all phone calls or have your assistant respond with respect for you. If you do not want what they are selling, thank them for the offer and respectfully decline. Depending on your product, you are sometimes ignoring a potential customer. If they are in sales, you may be ignoring someone who can connect you with a lot of people or send you the referrals you are looking for. Business is about building relationships, so keep in mind that the person’s call you are ignoring, may be the one you want to talk to for a reason that could benefit your business and your customers.

3. Be interested in others. When meeting someone in business for the first time, do not pounce on them by immediately trying to sell your product. Yes, you may be in love with your product and it may be the best product invented since man discovered fire, but people do not care what you are selling, until you show that you are interested in them. Selling a product without getting to know the person you are trying to sell to, sends a clear message that you are only interested in making the sale and that you could care less about the person. Take a moment and get to know the person you are meeting for the first time. Learn about their needs and assess if you can really help them, then do some follow-up and share your solution to their need, which that solution will hopefully be your product.

4. Get to know names and people. When you encounter someone in business for the first time, get to know their name and be interested enough to remember their name. Even if you have to ask them to repeat the name for you, make it your business to remember the names of people that you meet. A great way to remember the name of someone you meet for the first time is to repeat their name many times throughout your conversation with them. That means you must be more interested in learning about them, as opposed to talking about yourself. Learning about others will make you more memorable and it is just more proper.

5. Pay attention to who is in front of you. If you have someone in your office, look at them and not your computer screen. It may be hard not to be distracted with emails popping in, text messages buzzing, and phone calls coming through, so the best remedy is to silence everything when you are in a meeting. If you thought enough of that person to schedule an appointment, then respect their time and yours.

6. Give out one business card. Always give out one business card and never offer a handful of your cards to someone, while asking them for referrals. Focus on making a lasting impression when you meet with them, professionally present one business card, and let them know that you appreciate referrals. They will get the message. Besides, if you make a lasting impression, they will be more than happy to send you business.

7. Do your best to follow through. Keeping your word in business can help you establish a reputation for having impeccable integrity. That will make people want to do business with you and strong integrity is one of the best branding concepts you can attach to your business. When promising to do something in business, do your best to follow through. If you RSV’P for an event, it is important to show up, or call the next day with an apology. If you promise to return a phone call, simply do it. If you create a bill or promise to do business with someone, follow through. Keep scheduled appointments or take the time to re-schedule as early as possible. Following through shows that you are the professional business person you claim to be.

8. Never send revealing mass emails. If you want to send the same email to several people in business, respect their email privacy by doing a “blind courtesy copy”, that does not show everyone else’s email address.

9. Do not text the special of the day. If someone has not requested your business texts or you have no relationship with the person, do not send a text message asking for business. Even if you have the best deal going, respect people’s right to privacy and peace.

Treating others in business the way you want to be treated will bring you the success and profits you desire for your business. Putting people before profits will position you to be in business for years to come. Practicing proper business etiquette will help you build long term quality relationships and even when you are not expecting it, business will come your way.