5 Habits of Successful Business Owners

There are all types of businesses, each with a unique product or service—but what distinguishes a highly successful business from the rest? Research suggests that successful business owners have several key habits in common. Whether you are an entrepreneur just starting out, or you are seeking ways to improve your current business, you can ensure success by adopting the following habits.

Set Goals

First, you must set clear, specific goals. Define your short-term and long-term goals and lay out what steps you will need to take to achieve them. Know your purpose. What do you hope to achieve through your business? This should include, but not be limited to financial goals. Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Square and Twitter says that his best advice to small business owners is to work hard to clarify what your purpose is and be able to articulate it in a simple sentence.

Make Branding a Priority

Creating a great brand is an essential part of your marketing strategy. Brand design is much more than just creating a logo. Your brand is the entity that your costumers associate with your company. Successful branding connects with your customers emotionally, giving them a gut feeling about your company and what it can do for them. Think about the ways that Apple uses branding wisely—most people associate Apple’s sleek, simple designs with quality and reliably. Denise Lee Yohn describes the importance of recognizing your company’s desired brand identity. She breaks down company brands into 9 types in her informative article from the Harvard Business Review, Build a Culture to Match Your Brand.

Stay Productive Yet Relaxed

Keeping on top of everything can become overwhelming—but it doesn’t have to! Successful people learn the art of being productive while remaining relaxed and clear-headed. One of the best strategies to hold equanimity no matter how many things are on your plate is to prioritize. Make a list of everything on your mind. Having your tasks in front of you is the first step to prevent feeling overwhelmed. Next, prioritize each item from most pressing to least. Your list shouldn’t be limited to business responsibilities, but personal engagements as well. This will help clear your mind and improve your focus. You don’t need to get everything done in one day—and you shouldn’t! Keeping a clear head is essential for producing quality work.

Understand Your Customer

One of the most important parts of owning a business is knowing your customers deeply. You must be able to identify their problems and work diligently to solve them. Have compassion for your customers—know why they are seeking your services and use that as your focus. In the words of Warren Buffet “Never stop thinking about how to delight your customer.” Having a clear understanding of your customer base will also help you optimize your branding, services, and products to align with their needs.

Give – Without Expecting Something in Return

Customers can sense when a business’s focus is on something besides providing them with a quality product or service. Maintaining authenticity and showing that you genuinely care about each customer, regardless of money, builds trust and brand loyalty. It also gives you a strong sense of purpose, as you are making a difference in others’ lives and contributing to something you’re passionate about. Ways of giving might include providing free shipping or offering discounts. Delivering exceptional customer service is another way to show customers that you care. Giving doesn’t have to be limited to your customer base. Michael Glauser, Next Avenue Contributor for Forbes Magazine emphasizes the importance of not only providing a great service to your customers but also giving back to your broader community in his article, Secrets of Successful Small Business Owners. Successful entrepreneurs contribute to their communities through various philanthropic work. Although the intent of charitable work should be a genuine desire to contribute, a nice by-product is that it also increases the reputation of your company which in turn aids its success.

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Eric Walker, CEOEric Walker, CEO & Founder, The Next Step Agency
Business guy who teaches creative entrepreneurs how to shake off uncertainty and make strategic decisions that transform their ideas into thriving businesses.