There is a seemingly endless supply of advice for small business owners to follow on their path to success. Here are 10 of the most important ones (and a few inspirational quotes from successful business people to back them up):
1. Be Nice. Being a business owner doesn’t mean you can put your manners on hold. Be nice not only to your customers, but also your suppliers, business partners, and any one else you come in contact with on a professional level.
2. Take Risks. Owning a small business is in some ways the opposite of having a job and working for someone else. Small business owners sometimes need to take risks in order to succeed.
“If you are not willing to risk the usual you will have to settle for the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn
3. Don’t Give Up. Taking risks implies that sometimes you might fail. (After all, that’s why it’s a “risk” and not a “sure thing.”) What’s important is that you use your setbacks to teach and motivate yourself.
“Failure defeats losers, failure inspires winners.” – Robert T. Kiyosaki
4. Cherish Your Family. Successful business owners have a lot of support behind the scenes. Make sure you spend plenty quality time with your family as you work hard on your business.
“A man should never neglect his family for business.” – Walt Disney
5. Focus on the Customer. Remember that the success of your business will depend on the quality of the experience you give to your customer – focus on that.
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates
6. Business is Personal. Don’t be afraid to bring your unique personality into your business.
“The NBA is never just a business. It’s always business. It’s always personal. All good businesses are personal. The best businesses are very personal.” – Mark Cuban
7. Have a Plan. Don’t think about trying to just “wing it” throughout your journey to business success. You should have a plan that covers virtually every aspect of your business operations. This plan should include all of your goals, and the steps you plan to take to meet those goals. Make sure to reduce this plan to writing; by doing so you’re making a commitment to yourself and your future success.
8. Be Flexible. While it’s essential to have a business plan, you shouldn’t resist changing it if it becomes necessary to do so.
“Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.” – Anthony Robbins
9. Be Passionate. Obviously one of the reasons you own your own business is to make money, but your financial goals can’t be allowed to overshadow your passion.
“If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.” – Ray Kroc
10. Keep Track of Your Business. Keep written records on every aspect of your business. It’s difficult to change and improve your business when you don’t have the data to do so.
11. Stay Healthy. Finally, make sure to keep yourself healthy. If you’re ill, your business will invariably suffer.
“One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.” – Bertrand Russell