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…
photo credit: egor.gribanov