Issue May 2003 "Keeping Businesses Moving Towards Success"
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Computers, web pages, voice mail, cell phones -- business has changed a lot over the years. But the traits that make people successful in business are much the same as they were in your grandfather's day. If you want to be successful in business make sure you have these characteristics.
1. A successful business person always sets goals. Chances are you've been setting goals from a very early age. Maybe you wanted to be the best at sports in school or the top of your class in studies. Perhaps you wanted to buy something and when your parents told you it was too expensive, you earned the money by doing odd jobs.
As you got older, you developed other goals and worked for them. You probably haven't reached all of your goals, not yet anyway, but you've always known what you wanted. You never lose sight of your vision of the future. You keep setting new goals all the time and wonder how other people manage to live without specific things to strive for.
2. A successful business person doesn't settle for second best. If a supplier sends you something that you aren't proud to offer a customer, you send it back. You only want the best products and the best workmanship in the price category you've set. If you realize that you haven't done a good enough job for a customer, you'll go back over your work and set things right. The end result is that your customers reward you with repeat business.
3. A successful business person knows where they stand. You know your own business and that of your competitors, and how well yours measures up. You know how close you are to reaching the financial goals you've set for yourself.
If you're in the early phases of your business, you keep tabs on how much you've borrowed, the interest rate and anything that could increase that interest rate. Later on, you know how much money you've saved. You know whether you need to put more money into the business or whether you can afford a new car, a bigger house or a vacation.
You don't let your ego prevent you from facing facts. You know when you need to learn new skills or take other steps to make your business better. The skills you need to learn and the steps you need to take are different from the past, but the required attitude is the same. You know you're never finished learning, and you welcome any chance to improve your skills and knowledge.
4. A successful business person always looks for opportunities. Whether you've already started your business or are getting ready to start one, you know there are opportunities awaiting you at every turn. It's not a matter of simply finding an opportunity, it's a matter of finding one that will work for you. Even after you have a business, you're open to possibilities. You see the opportunities where other people might miss them, and when you do, you began to ask yourself pertinent questions. Is this as good as it sounds? Is this something I want to be doing? Will this use the skills I have or can develop? Will it help me reach my financial goals?
When an opportunity seems right, you're ready to reach out for that brass ring and take advantage of it. You don't want to look back someday on all the things you could have done but didn't. A successful person lives with no regrets.
5. A successful business person enjoys their work. Maybe not every minute of every job is fun, but overall you like the work you do for your business. You enjoy it because it's yours and you're building something for the future.
You don't really mind putting in the long hours because you know they're necessary for you to get where you're going. You handle sales calls, keep the books and make customers happy. You keep track of appointments and deadlines; you know when your newspaper ad is due or when to reserve your trade show booth for next year. You spend time in friendly chats with customers but you know when it's time to stop socializing and get down to work. You are constantly networking to improve your business.6. A successful business person get help if they need it. Sometimes you need expert help such as a professional to prepare your taxes, a lawyer to draw up important documents or a computer consultant to set up a special program for you. You may complain about their hourly rates but you know that with some things, it's better get it done right then to cry about it later.
Sometimes, too, you need help with small tasks, ones that take more time than you can give them now that you're running a business. Maybe you need someone to clean your shop or enter data on the computer or assist you in other ways. Their hourly rate should be considerably less than what you could earn by the hour. Of course, you think twice about taking on a full time employee and all that entails. However, you don't hesitate to hire the kind of help that leaves you free to do the things you do best.
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Patricia Kopp. Visit www.creativeBUSINESSworks.com for more
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