How To Be Successful in Business

I’ve had a few days away from Business Plus Baby and that’s given my brain a little space to wander over the last year. What has worked well? What wasn’t so great? How can I build on the successes in the coming year? What can I learn from the things that weren’t so successful?

One of the questions that often comes up for me is this: what can I learn from people who are already successful in small business?

What separates people whose businesses are growing from those that are struggling? And how can I build those keys to success into my projects?

This is my list of what those successful business owners have…

They have focus

They can focus on what they want to achieve and eliminate most distractions. You won’t find too many successful business people wasting time on Facebook – they’ll be using it just enough to build relationships and no more. Time management is essential, especially in online businesses where the distraction factor is huge.

They work hard

People who have built successful businesses have almost always worked really hard over a period of years. If you look closely at those people who look like they are overnight successes, you’ll see years of preparation. Even if that’s just building a network of contacts or learning the right skills.

They connect with other people

The more I learn about business, the more I see it’s about relationships. You need to connect with other people so you can refer clients to each other, bounce ideas off each other, find business services like web design and accountancy and to work on joint ventures.

They do something different

It’s so tempting to be inspired what others are are doing and follow in their footsteps, but to stand out you have to be different. You don’t have to be totally original, just bring something new to your area, or do something better than everyone else. Successful people have the confidence to stand out from the crowd.

They think big

Once successful business people have got a business that’s working nicely locally, they’ll be planning how to go national. Then global! These days, when I come up with a new plan I always ask myself “Am I thinking big enough?”

Thinking big doesn’t have to mean growing a huge traditional bricks-and-mortar business, it might mean having the courage to approach the national press instead of your local paper. Or having the courage to network with more senior or influential people in your field.

They aren’t afraid to fail

If you’re running a business you’re going to fail at some point. When you’re employed you have an organisation around you to give you direction and cushion you from some of the knocks. When it’s you’re business you’re on your own. The secret isn’t to avoid failure – if you never fail, you’re not trying new things or being different. The secret is to fail fast, get over it quickly and apply what you’ve learnt in your next project.

They have one eye on the money

When starting a new project, always pay attention to how it’s going to make you money. It’s so easy to get carried away with an exciting project where you’ll work with inspiring people. But if you don’t keep one eye on how you’re going to make money from it they you won’t be in business for long. Successful people know that many opportunities will come along, but only a few will be profitable enough to be worth their time.

They are persistent

Most people give up to soon. Sometimes the key to success is to  stick at it longer than everyone else!

Do you have any more for my list? Please leave me a comment and let me know…

Creative Commons License photo credit: egor.gribanov

14 Replies to “How To Be Successful in Business”

  1. That’s really interesting Helen. I need my time management to be better, it’s my new year’s resolution to NOT get distracted by creative projects until I’ve done the mundane tasks!

    1. Thanks Libby! I’ve just been running a survey of Business Plus Baby readers and a lack of time came up as the top challenge, so you’re in good company!

  2. this list is such a good reminder for me as i work on my plans for the new year. especially the last part – for me i need to remember that i do actually want to make money doing this! =)

    1. Isn’t it weird how easy it is for the money-making thing to get pushed to one side? Glad to have helped and I’m sure you’ll be doing great things in 2011!

    1. Thanks Erica. I was reading a business forum a few months back and someone asked why forum members were still in business despite the recession. All the replies were along the lines of ‘determination’, ‘stubbornness’ and my favourite ‘sheer bloody-mindedness, actually’!

  3. Great post and I totally agree about social media i know it distracts and time wastes for m and have the time i just am reading not even participating!

  4. Nice glasses! Oh, it’s not you 🙂 Agree with all these on your list. I would add passion to the list too. I guess it goes hand in hand with the focus and hard work, but I always notice the sheer passionate driving force in successful people.

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