What does it take to be successful in business?
Research published by The Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute surveyed the attitudes of 1100 small business owners (2-99 employs) in the US in May 2009.
What they found, according to the Institute’s director, Mark D. Wolf, was that “Success-oriented small business owners are a special breed of highly motivated, caring and curious individuals. They effectively balance their personal and business goals, take advantage of others’ expertise and continually see to learn the best practices exhibited by peer companies.”
Here’s a summary, from the report, of the six dimensions that characterise success-oriented small businesses (emphasis added):
Success-oriented small business owners understand how to delegate effectively to
others within their business as well as build strong personal relationships with their
management team, employees, consultants, vendors and customers. They are more
committed “to creating opportunities for others.”
Success-oriented small business owners place a high value on the personal fulfillment
and gratification that their companies provide them, relishing the self-determination and
respect that comes from being their own boss and being in control of their personal
income and long-term net worth. They are more desirous of “doing something for a
living that I love to do,” “being able to decide how much money I make” and “being able
to have the satisfaction of creating something of value.”
Planning for both the short- and long-term future are key traits that characterize
success-oriented small business owners. They are more focused on cash flow and more
likely to have “a well thought out plan to run our business for years into the future” as
well as “a well thought out plan to run our business day to day.”
Success-oriented small business owners are more open to learning how others run
their businesses. They actively seek best practice insights regarding management, business
innovation, prospecting and finding/motivating/retaining employees.
Technology is a key point of leverage for success-oriented small business owners. They
more intensely value their company’s website and are significantly more likely to “rely a
great deal on technology to help make our business more effective and more efficient.”
6. Action oriented
Finally, success-oriented small business owners are more proactive in taking initiative
to build their businesses. They are more committed to “taking the business to the next
level,” “differentiating ourselves from our competitors” and “having something to sell
when I’m ready to retire.” They also see adversity as “a kick in the rear to help move
you forward.” Not surprisingly, they are less concerned than other small business
owners about the overall state of the economy.
1. Most of these factors can be quantified using an objective measurement (eg. Harrison Assessments), allowing you to clearly see your own – or a team member’s or successor’s – success orientation.
2. Coaching is the most effective way for business owners to gain best practice insights through tapping into others’ expertise and experience.
3. We have a copy of the full report for you to download here: SME Success Orientation
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