I came across an article in the February 2013 issue of Forbes magazine the "7 Habits of Great Small Business Owners." I find these practices to be helpful in both my professional and personal life. I'd like to share them with you in the context of this small business blog.
Do you ever wonder what makes one business more successful than another in the same industry? I believe, more often than not, it’s the leadership at the top that determines the success of any organization. The same is certainly true in your business; if there was a way to insure your business was outperforming your peers, you as the owner would likely be implementing these seven universal principles:
- Great Small Business Owners take care of themselves. What is the most important tool at your disposal? I think it’s your brain (pardon the pun). A common truism is a healthy mind leads to a healthy body. Business owners take the time to exercise, eat healthy, and do all those things that are important for their overall physical health because they know it will keep them thinking sharp.
- Great Small Business Owners have lives outside their business. It's important to release your work brain and give it a rest from your work. One of my favorite things to do is to enjoy the outdoors. Find whatever you enjoy. Expose your self to new ways of thinking and doing things. It’s from those new ideas that you can become energized and hopefully bring a new idea back into your business.
- Great Small Business Owners look forward. Are you willing to be bold in your thinking and are you willing to take chances? In order to become a great leader a business owner must be ready to go beyond current business models and market forces. It's key to focus your attention ahead on growing and building your company by looking for new ways to accomplish things.
- Great Small Business Owners are organized. It is one thing to be juggling lots of industry information and new ideas. However, it's entirely another thing to be systematically implementing your ideas. Are you smart with great ideas that never get implemented or are you effective by remaining organized in meeting and throughout your day, insuring that your great ideas are in fact implemented? Remain organized and your actions will define your company culture: disorganization and ineffective implementation, or structured and effective implementation. You will define which path you and your employees walk down.
- Great Small Business Owners nurture relationships. Whether it's with their employees, advisor's, or with new contacts; the best business skills are the interpersonal ones that help a business owner to communicate and react to peers. Do you hunker down in your office? Are you unapproachable? Or do you have the most fun in your day talking with your team? People have the innate ability to know when they are valued. Be certain to save some of your day to walk around the office and talk.
- Great Small Business Owners make decisions. Business owners have to be decisive to run their business. They also understand that they may not be experts in all fields and need to consult with someone who can provide the tools to help them make a more informed decision. I am a member of Vistage, which is a CEO organization that brings 12 to 16 owners together monthly to meet and process business issues and give one another advice. I can’t begin to share the value I have gotten out of my Vistage group by helping/forcing me to be decisive at critical times.
- Great Small Business Owners are willing to make changes. Proactive business owners are constantly evaluating and reevaluating which parts of their company can be improved. Knowing how your company's time, manpower and resources are distributed and paying steady attention to keeping them as efficient as possible, keeps your company thriving ahead of the competition. Sometimes it just means being ready to cut the fat in order to remain competitive.
When you look around your industry, there are always just a few that truly stand out from the pack. In your heart of hearts what makes these firms stand out? Is it a talented owner/operator? Try to befriend a successful owner and see for yourself if these 7 traits play an important part of the leader's success. If you are open to learning more about IT leadership within your company follow this link.