According to the Small Business Administration half the number of small businesses won’t survive more than five years. In order to explain why some businesses fail and some flourish, the Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute conducted a study to figure out what traits make a successful business owner. Their research came up with six key traits that every business owner must possess, but I’m going to add a couple more. Do you think you have what it takes to run a profitable small business? Read on to find out.
The No. 1 trait of a successful business owner according to the study is a leader who is collaborative. This means a business owner who understands how to delegate tasks effectively to employees as well as foster strong interpersonal relationships with their management team, employees, vendors and customers. Those with the collaborative trait are committed to creating opportunities for others, not just making a profit through their business.
Successful small business owners value the personal fulfillment and gratification their companies provide them and enjoy the respect that comes with being their own boss and being in control of their own long-term net worth. A good business owner doesn’t just have a business to have one; they desire creating something of value and love what they do.
One reason some businesses will succeed over others is they have a great team in place. Your team will be more productive knowing their boss believes in them, the company, and the product. It will be difficult for your business to succeed without you loving it.
As a business owner, you must plan for both the short- and long-term future. You should be focused on cash flow and have a well thought out plan for how to run your business day-to-day and for years down the road.
Good entrepreneurs are always asking questions and are keen to learn more about how others run their businesses. They should also seek out best practices regarding management, business innovation, motivating employees, and more.
Read books, attend seminars, join an entrepreneur’s league—you should constantly be learning more about how to be a better business owner and how to grow your company.
In addition to learning more about bettering your business, you should always be on the look-out for technology to make your job easier. Also, a good entrepreneur will invest time in their company’s website and will rely on technology to make his/her business more effective and efficient. (Learn how to automate your business.)
As we’ve said before, your business needs to have a website. A good business owner must embrace the digital world, including social networking, to keep abreast of technological advances and customers that are always on the go. Don’t miss out by being behind on the times. (Learn more about website builders.)
The final trait the study deems important to a successful business is being proactive to build your business. You should always be striving to take your business to the next level.
In addition to the above traits, there are a couple more that I think are important to have in order to be a successful boss and business owner. First of all, you must remain positive. It’s been a tough couple of years for small businesses, and even if you’re sweating it financially, you must put on a brave face for your employees. Now, I’m not advocating lying to your workers, but instead of focusing on just the hardships, you should come up with a proactive plan (see above) to continue growing your business. Not only will this help keep your employees happy and productive but it will also help keep you focused on improving.
There is a difference between being intelligent and being competent. Plenty of smart people aren’t adept at the simplest of tasks, and that makes it difficult to run a business—or rally your employees around you. I once had a boss who got her ATM card stuck inside of a machine and made her assistant go get it out after she left in frustration. This action made all of her employees think twice about following her leadership. Think about Michael Scott on The Office. You want your employees to respect you.
If you lack knowledge or experience in certain areas, make sure you hire brilliant people who can take over in those departments, such as an incredible accountant or a brilliant SEO analyst.
ChooseWhat’s Operations Officer, Leo Welder, also put his two cents in regarding traits successful business owners should possess. Welder says that all business owners should be visionary. He says business owners must take charge and lead their companies in order for employees to follow them and thrive. You must be able to communicate your vision to your employees.
“A company is much more likely to succeed if the founders can make their employees believe that they will be successful,” Welder says.
But Welder’s top trait in order to own a flourishing business is being persistent, which he says was also incredibly important to President Theodore Roosevelt:
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence…Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”