Small businesses are the keystone of our economy, and they make up more than half of the businesses run in the US today. A small business is defined as a business that employs less than 500 individuals. While small businesses are important, individuals are finding that creating one is becoming increasingly harder. In a down economy, transforming a small business that is ‘under water’ into a successful one is difficult.
Positive Traits for Owners of Successful Small Businesses
While not all small business owners share these traits, a fair number of successful small business owners share a few traits in common including:
Realism: Be honest to yourself. You aren’t going to make it very far if you aren’t going to be honest about the company and yourself. Be honest about your ability as a person and don’t stretch yourself too thin. If you have a lot on your plate, it’s important to delegate to someone else who can accomplish it so you don’t get bogged down with all the little details.
Taking Time for yourself: Don’t tell yourself that you can handle spending all of your time at work. While it’s important to spend a fair bit of time working when you’re just starting out, you can’t handle everything that is going on. If you find yourself working over 80 hours a week you should try to delegate the work to one of your employees, or if you don’t have any employees you should look into getting one or more. And while working 70 to 80 hours a week starting out is necessary for most small businesses, you can’t sustain that amount of time forever; you aren’t superhuman. Not only will long hours cut into every part of your life, it could interfere with your ability to manage your company.
Personal Relations: Work on your people skills. Be able to delegate, collaborate, and just learn to build strong relationships with everyone around you. Work with other firms and contractors for your accounting staff, incorporation attornies, and sales people. Once you can do that you will find yourself with more clients and your company will be on track for success
- Tech Savvy: Technology is the driving force behind successful small businesses. It’s a great resource, and you wouldn’t want to miss out on using it. If you’re not incredibly tech-savvy, make it a priority to find people and firms that can do it for you. Invest in your website. Not only building it, but maintaining it. That means you respond to queries and comments from your site users, it also means keeping your site up to date with the latest social media innovations and technology. A blog of news or new developments your company is creating is a great way to keep it up. In a survey of successful small businessmen, many of them are likely to “rely a great deal on technology to help make our business more effective and efficient.”
Motivated: Successful small business owners don’t worry as much about a down economy, and instead try to innovate and accomplish even with an imperfect situation. Remember that adversity isn’t always a bad thing, and can actually help you succeed as a small business. If you go through repeated failure, giving up is something that should never be on your mind. If it’s hard for you to handle failure, try to think of it as an experience that will help you understand what not to do the next time you try.
Finding your Small Business Niche: Knowing who to advertise to, where to advertise, where to set up your business and whether or not your company should market globally are all factors you should think about with your business. If you have a product or service it might only sell in one area, and marketing it on a global scale will just use up valuable resources. As a rule of thumb, expanding your business much more than locally in the beginning will set you up for failure. A small business niche doesn’t necessarily have to be small, but it needs to be focused.
Having these traits can help determine your company’s success, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that your small business is going to succeed if you have them. Business development is hard to predict, even the smartest investors can be wrong about a company. No product is doomed to fail from the start, but knowing what people are interested in and catering to the market’s needs can lead to success.