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7 Habits of Highly Successful Small Business Owners

Running a successful enterprise is a dream of every small business owner regardless of the kind of industry they are in. But competition is stiff, customers are becoming more discerning, and market upheavals are a regular occurrence. Here are seven habits that highly successful small business owners swear by:

1)   Specific Goals

Excelling in any business venture starts with knowing the “Why” and making this your North Star. Why are you in business? What do you want to achieve? By when should you achieve your business goals?

Grant Cardone is an acclaimed author with many bestselling books including The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure. In this book, Cardone emphasizes having a clear vision of where you want the business to go and working hard to reach that goal. It may sound like a mundane idea, but successful people are keen on goal-setting to guide their business activities and resource allocation.

Your success depends highly on your ability to set focused goals and achieving them. Avoid vague goals such as “acquire more business” and fast-track your business towards success by setting SMART Goals.

SMART goal setting principles require that each of your business goals must be:

  • S – Specific: Be vividly clear about what you want to achieve.
  • M – Measurable: Make sure your goal can be quantified so that you can easily evaluate whether you have achieved the desired result or not.
  • A – Achievable: Do you have the time and resources to achieve the goal?
  • R – Relevant: Your goals should contribute to the direction you want your business to head.
  • T – Set a time-frame within which you should attain your goals. 

2)   Informed Budgeting

Any business venture comes with various expenditures ranging from leasing a building, to buying equipment to hiring employees. Knowing how much is required to keep the business running is fundamental, not just when acquiring capital but throughout the life of your business.

To this end, successful business owners keep accurate budgets and stick to them as much as possible to negate unnecessary cost overruns. What’s more, adhering to a budget helps you make informed decisions such as when to secure a loan for expansion. It’s only through budgets that you can monitor and control your business.

3)   Review Finances

Not knowing the exact state of finances is a significant pitfall that has tanked many businesses, because blurry information creates loopholes for unplanned expenses and misappropriation.  

Successful people recognize that financial reviews are vital to their business so that they can determine the health – or lack thereof – of their business and plan accordingly. If you can’t do this daily, do it at the end of each work week and draft mini-reports that will be used as a reference point.

Reviewing finances so frequently helps you manage cash flow, so you are always aware of which resources are in the bank and plan expenditures correspondingly. More so, keeping tabs on finances helps you identify growth patterns so you can capitalize on them to increase revenue. Another benefit of weekly financial reviews is highlighting risks and mitigating them before they wreak havoc on the business.

4)   Invest in Knowledge

We live in the Information Age which is marked with the excessive use of technology to disseminate information. Apart from the knowledge you gained in college or other formal training, small business owners must continuously equip themselves with the knowledge to help their business grow. There are plenty of free online courses you can take and business-oriented books you can read that will help you on the path to success. Make sure to network with people in relevant fields. Smart business owners go a step further and invest in conferences and workshops where they learn from industry gurus.

5)   80/20 Power Rule

The famed Pareto Law instructs that 80% of business outputs should be accrued from 20% of the effort you invest. Applying this rule in your small business and personal life helps you lead a more productive and happy life. Tim Ferris – a critically acclaimed author – explains that entrepreneurs can apply this Power Rule by answering the following questions:

  1. a)   Which 20% of events, people, or other sources bring 80% of business problems?
  2. b)   Which 20% of events, people, or other sources bring 80% of desired outcomes?

Give these questions some deep thoughts and write down any possible answer that comes to mind however trivial or misguided. Analyze these ideas and don’t be afraid of brutal honesty as this is how you separate the wheat from the chaff. Perhaps you are spending too much on payroll where in reality some roles are redundant or maybe your outdated technology is slowing operations? Grasping Pareto’s Law and implementing it well sets you apart from your industry brethren.

6)   Continuous Innovation

Dean Kamen famously said that every so often, new technology or a longstanding problem or a superbly great idea turns into innovation. What old issue has been ailing your business? Do you have a potentially great idea that you are too afraid to implement? Business owners must be willing to push the needle and try something new that could transform how they do things or at least save a few bucks here and there. As mentioned at the beginning, we live in a highly competitive environment where businesses are striving to protect their market share. Customers’ needs are evolving, and loyalty is declining which means you must work harder to keep current customers and attract new ones. Innovation is the only way out for entrepreneurs who wish to go beyond achieving a modicum of success to racking in significant revenues that will transform their bottom line.

7)   Hire First-rate Talent

Many small business owners are painfully familiar with the practice of wearing too many hats shifting from putting out fires in one area to the next. While this formula may have worked out at the humble beginnings, stretching yourself too thin is counterproductive. Mounting workloads is where hiring top talent comes in so you can delegate tasks to free yourself for bigger things. Shun the temptations to hire low-class talent that comes cheap as this could be detrimental to the business. You are better off building a team gradually rather than filling up positions with people who don’t share your vision or lack dexterity. If your budget allows, enlist a professional hiring firm to headhunt top talent that has gained a wealth of experience in their fields.

In sum, running a small business can be daunting and not many people can run the distance. You have come this far, learned a few unforgettable lessons along the way, and you are eager for exponential growth. Expanding your business, hiring more talent, upgrading to cutting-edge technology are all vital elements toward this course. You need to secure finances from a partner who understands the complexities of small enterprises. Study the market for options and settle for the financier who gives the best deals, all factors put under consideration.

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