Whenever you ask successful entrepreneurs about the secrets to their success, you’re likely to hear them use words like “passion,” “perseverance,” and “commitment.” There’s no doubt that these are all important traits for running a successful business, but as anyone who has struggled to get their enterprise off the ground, it’s not always enough to be passionate about your work and to keep trying and going after opportunities.
The fact is, a great deal of entrepreneurial success comes down to individual personality traits and habits. You can have all the enthusiasm in the world, but if you don’t have the knowledge required to compete in today’s marketplace, you’re going to flounder. If you are a jerk, no one will want to do business with you, and so on and so forth. With that in mind, as you prepare to launch into the world of entrepreneurship, it’s useful to practice these five important habits.
1. Keep Learning
The world of business is changing all the time. New technologies, new trends, and an ever-shifting economic landscape require entrepreneurs to remain on their toes. A willingness to learn, ask questions, and remain open to new ideas and possibilities will help you accomplish that goal, as well as keep your business fresh and running efficiently. Investing in continuing education for yourself as well as your employees can help maintain everyone’s motivation and productivity, as well as help ensure a steady stream of creative ideas. Remember that some of the most successful people in the world have achieved their goals in large part because of their willingness to learn – and their acceptance of the fact that they don’t know everything.
2. Be Nice
“It’s not personal, it’s business.” How many times have you heard that expression as an excuse for someone’s rude behavior? Or been advised to give someone a pass on their nastiness simply because they are exceptionally good at what they do?
Everyone has bad days, but overall, you should cultivate a reputation for being considerate, kind, and empathetic. This doesn’t mean that you need to be a pushover, but you can be direct, firm, and confident without being mean or rude. Being “the best” at something isn’t a free pass to treat people poorly, either. In other words, you want people to work with you and your company because of you, not in spite of you, so just be nice. The world could use a bit more of that these days.
3. Focus on Service
A recent survey of consumer behavior revealed that nearly half of all consumers will pay more for something if they receive good service. They want to feel heard, get the answers they need quickly, and feel like the company really cares about them and their business. Therefore, if you want to differentiate yourself and your company from the competition, focus on delivering the best customer service possible. When hiring staff, look for those individuals who have a customer service mindset and will be as committed to your customers and clients as you are. There may be times when you question whether all the work is worth it, but as your loyal customer base grows, you’ll see the payoff of your hard work.
4. Have a Plan
Nearly every successful entrepreneur lists planning as one of the most important habits for business growth. You need to plan in terms of the big picture – what is your vision for your business, your major goals, and how do you plan to get there? – and on a smaller scale, i.e., what am I going to do today? Having a plan helps eliminate distractions and more efficiently evaluate opportunities along the way; by evaluating ideas, tasks, and opportunities in terms of your overall goals, you can better manage your time and maintain focus on those things that are most important to your business’s growth.
5. Stay Positive
Finally, stay positive. Maintaining a positive attitude will help you overcome setbacks, without becoming discouraged. Envision yourself successful, and refuse to acknowledge failure as an option. Staying positive requires maintaining faith in yourself and your ability to reach your goals. If you can do that, then there’s no stopping you.
So many factors come together to create a thriving business, that’s it’s virtually impossible to narrow it down to a single winning recipe for everyone. However, if you maintain these five habits, your chances increase