Do You Have the Right Attitude for Managing or Running a Business?
It doesn’t matter whether you own a business or want to own a business, there are certain traits and habits that you can adopt that will determine whether or not you can be successful in the long term.
Here are the 20 most important principles you need to understand and adopt.
Principle #1 – Keep Your Customers’ Best Interests at Mind
I’ll start with what I think is the most important principle any business owner needs to understand.
Always keeping your customers’ best interests in mind is vital.
It will not only keep you focused on creating products and services that they’ll appreciate and use, but it will also keep you satisfied with your business and what you’re doing each and every day.
Principle #2 – Don’t Have Delusional Visions of Overnight Success
While it can be comforting to dream big about your future, having delusions about your success is purely detrimental. It will cause you to set unreasonable goals and attempt to live up to unrealistic expectations.
Instead, set reasonable, attainable goals that you can achieve with steady effort.
For instance, in one month I will have 30 new subscribers. That’s one new subscriber each day, a very attainable goal. In one year you’ll will have 350 new subscribers.
Principle #3 – Limit Your Use of Short-Cuts
Of course, some short cuts are a good thing. If you can find a way to go from point A to point B in half of the time and there is no downside to the new route, then you should of course take it.
But in many instances in business, we do face tradeoffs. For instance, we might be able to save time by not having an info product thoroughly proofread but it will reflect poorly on our business if it is filled with typos.
So, in general, limit your use of short cuts. But if you see one that’s good and doesn’t appear to have a downside, then seize it.
Principle #4 – Be a Continuous Learner
People have different learning styles. Some learn all the time, and find ways to incorporate that learning into their lives as they go. These people are continuous learners.
On the other hand, most of us learn in chunks. For instance, we might find out how to use a new software program, but immediately after doing so, we will cease to learn anything new about it until it is absolutely necessary.
In general, those who learn in chunks often find themselves at a serious disadvantage, as they often neglect to learn many important new things about products, people, and tools they interact with on a daily basis.
So try to be a continuous learner. It may be difficult, but you’ll be happy you made the switch.
Principle #5 – Always Have a Plan – Even if You Don’t Use It
Some people serially-plan their lives. For each minute of the day, they have something scheduled. Like clockwork, their days play out with very few unforeseen events.
Initially, you might think this sounds boring and inspiring, but in business, it is the status quo among those who are most successful. And remember, even if you don’t opt to use your plan, at least you will have the option to do so.
Principle #6 – Don’t Dwell on the Past
It’s impossible to go through life as an entrepreneur without hitting a number of bumps in the road. No matter how hard you try, you are bound to hit snags in the road.
And when you do hit those snags, your reaction to them will forever influence your capacity for success. You can either learn from them, move on, and continue on your career; or you can harp on them for weeks, months, or even years—allowing them to drag you down at every step of the way.
No matter how bad your failure was, it’s over. All you can do now is work carefully to improve your future prospects.
Principle #7 – Give Up When It’s Wise to Do So – Not When it Is Convenient
Most people give up for reasons of convenience. They hit a nasty snag in their career; and they simply cannot find a way to propel themselves forward immediately, so they just give up.
Instead of backing off, consulting a colleague, and then heading back to the problem with a refreshed and nuanced perspective, they give up before they give the scenario the chance to play out. As a result, they deny themselves the opportunity to fight back and succeed.
Principle #8 – Listen to Those Around You
One common trait among those who are successful is that they listen and understand others. Instead of seeing everyone around them as inferior fools with nothing to contribute, they understand that most good ideas come from other people—not from themselves.
If you want to be successful, too, you should follow this practice carefully in your daily business relations.
Principle #9 – Have Patience
One of the most common traits among those who are successful in business is patience. Those who don’t have patience always find themselves trapped in the plans of those who do have it. So, do yourself a favor, and cultivate patience.
Principle #10 – Don’t Settle
In some cases, you will find that the deck is stacked against you and your plans; you will simply have to settle with the best you can get. But in most situations, this simply isn’t the case. So don’t find reasons to settle when you don’t have to. Instead, push hard and persistently for the best you can get.
Principle #11 – Create Opportunities—Don’t Wait for Them
Many people who have not achieved success in business are under the impression that opportunities arrive passively. All they have to do is wait for one to show up on the front door; and then grab it. But, in fact, successful business owners and managers know that opportunities are usually created, not stumbled over. So make an effort to create opportunities in your daily work.
Principle #12 – Keep the Big Picture in Mind, But Stay Focused on the Short Term Process
The big picture is important. It tells you where you are and where you’re going. However, in some situations, it can distract you from the task at hand. If you want to attain true success, then you have to know how to stay focused and effective on short-term problems, while also working within the greater framework of the big picture.
Principle #13 – Record Your Progress
Identifying and recording progress is important. It tells you how far you’ve come from where you once where. If you don’t follow it carefully, it’s easy to miss that it has occurred at all.
So, as progress occurs, record it somewhere. Write down exactly what happened, why it qualifies as “progress,” and why you think it happened.
Principle #14 – Record Your Failures
Similar to recording your progress, record your failures, too. No matter how bad a failure was, force yourself to think hard about it. Ask yourself what went wrong. Also consider whether it was something you could influence or whether chance or someone else played an important role in determining the outcome.
As painful as this process might be, it will help you to process your failures and to assimilate the lessons you take from them into future business decisions.
Principle #15 – Do Not Allow Hope to Overcome Analysis
Hope is an important emotional driver of actions. It can motivate you to continue on a path, even when you know the road ahead is difficult. However, in some situations, we simply allow hope to take over and ignore the consequences. If you want to be truly successful, then it is wise to practice “cautious optimism,” rather than chasing hope regardless of what your brain tells you.
Principle #16 – Develop Good Habits
Habits are things that stick with you and drive your behavior, even when you aren’t thinking about them. For this reason, it is a good idea to try to develop good ones, such as responding to clients and customers in a timely manner, practicing courtesy, and facing challenges head-on, rather than slinking into the background.
Principle #17 – Identify and Rid Yourself of Bad Habits
No matter who you are and how successful you have been, you’re probably carrying at least a couple of bad habits. Perhaps you procrastinate. Or perhaps you become highly indecisive when the going gets tough. No matter what it is that you suffer from, identify it as a bad habit; and then get to work eliminating it permanently.
Principle #18 – Write Your Ideas—And Others’ Ideas Down
Just because you’re no longer a student doesn’t mean you should stop taking notes. Next time you or someone else says something that is truly insightful or useful, jot it down as a note. In the long run, this will save you time and money, as you won’t have to waste precious time rediscovering your own and others’ insights
Principle #19 – Set Goals
This simple fact cannot be emphasized enough: one thing that separates the successful from those who have not experienced success is goals. The successful have goals; and these goals give them meaning and direction. If you’re lacking serious, meaningful goals, then you should spend some time to create them and then write them down
Principle #20 – Seize the Moment
Another important quality that the successful have is their ability to seize the moment. When they see an opportunity in arm’s length and they know that it’s real, they take it. They don’t debate it for a month until it is too late.