Over the year’s I have been very fortunate to work with all kinds of business owners – from those who have just started out in business to multi-millionaires running multiple businesses. One of the reasons I love what I do is because there are two questions that have always fascinated me:
1) Just what are the key differences between those people who seem to struggle (or ‘get stuck’) in their business and those people who run a highly successful business?
2) Is it possible to help business owners accelerate their business growth and success by helping them learn and implement the traits of people who are already where they want to be?
In my experience the answer to question 2) is a resounding yes – but only if there are a couple of behaviours that are in place already – which I will outline at the end of this article. And here lies one of the keys – business success is behaviour based – change your behaviour and you’ll gain a different result. Very simple to say on paper – not necessarily so simple to do in practice when we have learned a particular way of doing things and we find the status quo may be more comfortable! Another thing you may like to consider is this: The behaviours we learn to take us from a standing start in business up to, say £500k turnover, are not necessarily the behaviours that will take us from £500k to, say, £2M turnover. Hence why you will find that people hit a ‘ceiling’ in their businesses where they may need to learn new ideas and behaviours to take themselves to ‘the next level’ (or their business may ‘fail’ at a certain level)
So here is a shortlist of eight characteristics and behaviours (in no particular order) that compares the majority of business owners (96% of all business start ups fail within the first ten years) to those who run highly successful businesses. This can be defined in this instance by a good work / life balance, a high level of business performance reflected with an excellent financial reward).
1) Incessantly ask questions. Many business owners are more concerned about protecting their ego’s: they make assumptions about problems they may not fully understand without finding out what anyone else thinks. Then they soldier on – not seeming to make any real headway in their business. The more successful business owner will ask questions incessantly – to themselves and others. They realise that the use of new knowledge is power.
2) Be very persistent. Many business owners, when confronted with a challenging idea, will actually think of all the reasons why it might not work. This is 180 degrees from the more successful business owner who will see the potential in their (or another’s) idea: they’ll identify the problems and will then keep finding ways around the problems until there is a clear vision of how to make the idea succeed (a great example of this being James Dyson and his rise to success).
3) Stretch yourself on a daily basis. Many business owners resist change. You may have heard of the well known phrase “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing day after day and expect a different result!”. The more successful business owner will embrace change (even though it may still feel very uncomfortable) and try new things.
4) Continuously improve your business. Many business owners will accept the status quo in their respective industries i.e. “It’s always been done like this, so I’ll follow the crowd and do the same”. The more successful business owner is always looking to make their own service offering (even if it’s already good) even better – maybe by adding highly original services and cross-selling products through other businesses through joint ventures.
5) Know what you want your business to give you. One of the first problems I encounter when talking with many business owners is when I ask the question ‘So what do you want?’ – to which I will get a blank look and / or some very vague answers. The more successful business owner will know exactly what the next stage of his business looks like for at least the next 12 months (they are also very interested in gaining any help they can to get them there more quickly if possible!).
6) Get passionate about your business. Many business owners start of with a dream that they lose somewhere along the way as they get drawn in to the day to day running of the business. The more successful business owner is highly driven by what their business delivers to their clients – they really do love what they do. Most businesses will become very hard work unless you have true passion in what you do for others.
7) Be Proactive. Many business owners are reactive in their businesses (especially in the area of sales). They ‘react’ to the market around them. The more successful business owner is highly proactive in their market – driving the business sales forward whatever the market conditions. If the market quietens down – they become even more proactive.
8) Take Action. Many business owners fail to implement the things they need to do within their businesses to improve their business performance. They get so caught up in the day to day running of their business that further business development comes to a grinding halt. More successful business owners clarify the next steps within their business and implement their ideas as they go – knowing that if they don’t implement the next stage of their business, then they are moving away from their vision of what they want their business to be.
I mentioned earlier on that, in my own experience, I would share the two key behaviours that I feel have delivered the most outstanding results for clients: That they are passionate about what they do (this is their ‘driver’ when the going gets tough and the whole reason they are in business) and that they implement strategies and ideas within their businesses, if necessary, on a daily basis (they ask many questions don’t make excuses).
Having read through this article then only you will know where you are on your own business journey by the level of personal satisfaction that you currently gain from your own business. If I asked you to pick just one item from the above eight that you realise you need to work on now – then which one would it be?
Wishing You Continued Success,