Guest Blog Post By: Larry Mager of Readybrain.net
Most successful small business owners share some common traits. For one, they are ambitious, confident people. They know what they want and make solid plans for achieving their goals. Most business owners are also creatures of habit — good habits that promote success in the business world. Here are the habits you need to acquire if you are looking to succeed as a business owner this year.
Habit #1: Actively fight stress
Stress doesn’t just go away when you complete a task or because you take a day off. Stress can only be controlled through active stress-management techniques. Successful business owners make a habit of minimizing stress on a daily basis. Focused breathing exercises, practicing mindfulness, getting enough sleep, and eating healthy every day are good places to start.
Habit #2: Write stuff down
Even if you can keep everything you need to know about successfully running your business in your head (you can’t), it’s healthier to help your brain stay organized by getting your thoughts out. This can mean scrawling things down with pen and paper. It can mean typing yourself an outline. It can mean jotting some things down in your notes app on your smartphone. However you codify your ideas, goals, tasks, etc., just do it. Highly successful people make lists, outlines, and memos. Writing stuff down increases the likelihood you’ll deal with, cross off, or achieve the many items on your agenda.
Habit #3: Always be specific
In business, maybe even more so than in your everyday life, it pays to be hyper-specific. This relates to goal setting, how you instruct your employees, budgeting, and more. Saying you are going to “do better” with something or “try harder” is too non-specific. Successful people make a habit of setting incredibly specific goals. For example: I want to increase sales by X percent this quarter.
As Entrepreneur says, “By being exact and specific about your goals, you are allowing anything not a priority to be moved into a mental parking lot. You can now have a plan and path to create it.”
Habit #4: Take care of your body and mind
Successful business owners know that a daily focus on healthy living is key to being a good leader. Your business is only as strong as you are, and you’ll be better suited to handle the challenges that come with small business ownership if you’re fit — both mentally and physically.
Daily exercise will help you bust stress, boost creativity and problem-solving skills, and give you longevity (the ability to stay hands-on in your business as you age). Healthy eating will do the same. One habit you must start is frequent cooking. Packing your meals instead of eating takeout is vital. Also, don’t forget mental exercise. Your brain needs a workout as well.
Habit #5: Continue learning
Highly successful people crave knowledge. They continue to learn even when they’re already successful. Most are voracious readers. You must make education a lifelong habit. The more you know about your specific industry, the better you’ll be at navigating it. Attend conferences, take classes, and involve your staff. It’s important to create a culture that says learning is never over, and if you’re resting on your laurels, you’re doing it wrong.
We often talk about the importance of breaking bad habits, but for a small business owner, it’s just as crucial for you to develop good ones. Having routines doesn’t make you inflexible. On the contrary, it makes you better suited to adapt to the ever-changing world of business ownership. Start with these five habits of highly successful owners and then find more that work for you.