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The 7 classic traits of successful small business entrepreneurs

Traits of successful entrepreneurs and small business owners
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

You may be starting your business or side-hustle on your own. However, there will come a time when you must focus on leadership and becoming a better leader to leverage your time and provide your customers with more value.

If you need to hire freelancers or your first employee. Following the entrepreneurial leadership rules below will help you achieve your goals:

  1. Focus your business on your customer – deliver value.

  2. Stay true to your mission, goals and values.

  3. Don’t let your shortcomings damage your progress.

  4. Create a strategic vision for the long-term, but deal with short-term issues.

  5. Find good people, employ them and help them to become great employees.

  6. Know how and when to delegate and delegate what you can’t do well to others.

  7. Put yourself at the front of the business.

1. Focus your business on your customer – deliver value

The word ‘value’ is used time and time again on this website and within entrepreneurial circles. Many business sources should agree that you must provide value to your customer and meet their needs and expectations or you will not have a business over the long-term.

Having a long-term focus and empathy will mean you will point your business towards your customer above all else.

Ensuring your business is 100% customer focussed. Your customers will naturally engage with your business on a different level when compared your other short-term thinking competitors.

2. Stay true to your mission, goals and values

You’re the guiding star for your business. Where you go the rest of the business will follow. That’s why you should live and breath your businesses mission, goals and objectives.

If you focus on the guiding principles for your business, it will be inevitable your business and your partners will follow your lead.

Writing down your business or company mission will steer you towards the customers, opportunities and relationships that agree, believe or want to be part of your mission. You may not fulfil your mission on day one, but if you can see a way for that future tomorrow or sometime in the future, it can be a compelling force to drive your business forward.

An example of this is Microsoft, which many years ago had the mission…

“Early on, Paul Allen and I set the goal of a computer on every desk and in every home. It was a bold idea and a lot of people thought we were out of our minds to imagine it was possible”Bill Gates wrote in an email to staff on Microsoft’s 40th Anniversary

3. Don’t let your shortcomings damage your progress

Don’t worry about your failures, short-comings, faults or anything you believe needs improving. You’re only human and you’re not perfect. So, there is no need to pursue perfection.

You only need to move your entrepreneurial business forward and that involves doing what you need to do to get to the next stage, find the next customer or overcome the next challenge. So, long as you’re making forward progress, you’re business is in good shape.

However, if you’re procrastinating or fearful about doing something that might harm the business. Your business will be slowly dying. There is no such things as sitting still in business, as everyone around you will keep moving forward. Opinions change, attitudes, fashion changes, music changes and financial markets change. Everything changes, so if you do not move with the times, your business will fall further and further behind.

That’s why businesses focused on relentless forward movement are the businesses that survive over the long-term. They may have a winning formula right now, but only continual reinvention to match the changing environment will keep them in business for the long-term.

If you can follow the world, move forward and change with the times while ignoring your hang-ups or concerns, you will be in a great position to start a success and achieve long-lasting business.

4. Create a strategic vision for the long-term, but deal with short-term issues

You might have a strategic long-term vision or mission statement for your business, but you also need to manage your business within the present.

The best way to focus on the present is to use your long-term strategic vision and make decisions to deal with short term issues and challenges with a focus on what the long-term mission is for the business.

For example, if your mission was to provide a candle subscription service to every local business and your current issue was the reliability and availability of regular stock. You could try overcome your short term lack of candle supply by finding wax suppliers with raw materials at the frequency and quantity you need for your local customers.

5. Find good people, employ them and help them to become great employees

A business is only as good as it’s people.

As the entrepreneurial leader within your business, you’re responsible for the people. This means you’re the one accountable when a freelancer, contractor or full-time employee is rude to a customer or misses your expectations.

Some situations will require formal training whereas others will require direct and clear communication. Providing clear guidance helps indicate how you like things done and how your employees or freelancers should engage with your customers. This means you can work with your team until they provide your clients with an acceptable service.

Your people have as much training needed to ensure they can complete their roles efficiently and can use their initiative to overcome problems.

As the founder or co-founder you should be focused on getting the right people into the right positions. You can help your business grow by training and developing your people within your business.

6. Know how and when to delegate and delegate what you can’t do well to others

You may have heard you should improve your weaknesses, but that is not the best solution for your business. You should focus on your strengths and continue to build your strengths.

This doesn’t mean you should ignore important capabilities, knowledge or experience that you should know or have as an entrepreneur. If you need knowledge to perform an action within your business, you should know what you need to know to complete the action or task.

However, you do not need to become an expert at everything. If you need an expert, you should find and hire team members, who are skilled in the areas where you lack knowledge or skills. This will help you to delegate tasks to experts and focus on your skills. This will leverage your time and ensure more work can be completed within fewer hours.

7. Put yourself at the front of the business

When you start your business you’re the main person responsible for everything. Your business is you and you are your business. So, why should you set behind a corporate logo when you’re one and the same?

People buy from people is often debated in sales meetings., However, people make buying decisions based on their emotions and connection with brands and their marketing campaigns. That’s why the people associated with the brands may have a similar effect on buying decisions.

You may not think you’re interesting, but your customer does not feel the same way. They may want to know how your business got to where it is today. Or how you decided to create and offer your products and services.

Even if some of your customers are not interested in your business origin story, they may be interested in why you created the product and services to meet their needs. So, get out from behind your desk and start introducing yourself to your customers.

Good luck!

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