6 traits that will guarantee small business success


Running a small business involves a lot of unknowns. There are so many things to be across from finances and marketing to networking and selling. The one thing that holds everything together, however, is you. So do YOU have what it takes to be successful in small business? We reckon these six traits are key:

1. Passion

Yes, it’s an overused cliche. But If you want to be successful in anything you are doing, you need to be passionate about it. Because there will be times where things get rough and you’ll find yourself wanting to give up. Passion is the thing that gets you through those times. That’s why it never a good idea to start a business purely because you’ve identified a great way to make money, or doing something other people have told you that you ‘should do’ simply because you’re good at it. Every business experiences challenges and if you’re doing something you’re not passionate about, you’re going to struggle to push through those challenges and get to the good stuff on the other side.

2. Clarity of vision

This one effectively comes down to knowing your ‘why’. Knowing your why makes EVERYTHING easier from building a strong brand to finding the right clients to servicing those clients in such a way that they become raving fans and act as an unofficial sales force for you. Most of us small business owners know our ‘what’, in that we know what we do. But when we crack the ‘why’ of what we do – that’s when the magic happens. If you want to see the difference between knowing your what and why – check out this video. Make sure you watch through to the end. Trust me, you will be inspired.

3. Persistence

We’ve all heard about many famous failures:

Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Harland David Sanders (Colonel Sanders) had his ‘finger licking’ good chicken recipe rejected more than 1000 times before it was finally accepted by a restaurant.

Thomas Edison is famous for inventing the lightbulb. But we don’t hear much about the 1000 unsuccessful prototypes he created before coming up with the design that worked.

Stephen King’s book Carrie was knocked back by publishers 30 times, and he actually threw it in the trash. Thankfully his wife got him to fish it out and re-submit it, as it has now sold millions of copies and is considered an icon.

Abraham Lincoln, one of the greatest Presidents of the USA, was twice declared bankrupt and was defeated in 26 early campaigns for public office.

Yet for some reason we catch ourselves frustrated by failure, or feeling we cannot fail. Failure of some description is pretty much an essential part of small business success so having the ability to persist through failure, learn from it and apply those learnings to make your business better is pretty crucial.

4. Flexibility

I’ve written before about the fact that running a business never gets easy, it just gets easier. The fact is, nothing stays the same in business forever. The client who’s been with you for years might be affected by big budget cuts next week. The product that’s always been your bestseller might suddenly go out of fashion. The only certainty of running any small business is the fact that curve balls will be continually thrown at you both by life and by new business trends. You need the flexibility to pivot, make adjustments and respond to the needs of the market so you can keep your business thriving.

5. Focus

Who loves bright, shiny objects? We all do! There’s nothing more alluring than the thought that there is one ‘thing’ out there that might be the answer to all our business woes; the secret shortcut to small business success. Deep down however, we all know that the only secret of small business success is hard work and the ability to maintain focus on the things in our business that we know work. There’s always a place for bright shiny objects, but pursuing these highly speculative ventures should only come when we’ve looked after all our core stuff first.

6. Sociability

I wonder how many of us start businesses because we are introverts and love spending time by ourselves in our home office alone? A few I reckon! Unfortunately it’s a rare business that can be built entirely from behind your desk. Successful businesses, large or small, are built on relationships. That’s not to say you need to start attending all the networking events in your local area, but you WILL need to get social both online and off to build genuine relationships with people – people who will recommend your services to those they know need them, people who will give great advice.

So there you go – the six traits we reckon you need the most to be successful in small business. Got anything to add to the above? Share them in the comments below 🙂

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