If you’re looking to do well in a small business venture, three types of qualities can help you. One type is beyond your control, including your age and level of experience in the relevant fields. Another type takes years, maybe decades, to acquire. An education or a support network would fall into this category.
But what if you’re young and inexperienced, with neither connections nor a highly technical degree? There’s a third set of qualities that will help you succeed. And you can train yourself to acquire them—even if they don’t come naturally to you at first. They don’t necessarily cause success, but they do correlate with small business owners who have built lasting enterprises in the past. If you’ve cultivated these qualities as skills, if you make them part of you, your chances for success rise exponentially.
- Be willing to take calculated chances. If you build your business by insisting on unreasonable degrees of certainty and safety, your business won’t go that far. By all means, do your planning and research. But when you see an opportunity that’s workable, a risk that’s not an obvious disaster waiting to happen, you might want to take it. Gambles like these can pay off handsomely. And even if they fail, they usually produce lasting insights that can guide you going forward.
- Be nimble. Expect the unexpected, roll with the punches and be prepared to change your game plan when reality flies in the face of meticulous planning. That means re-thinking your assumptions and revising your direction decisively when the facts call for it. Nimble thinkers can capitalize on opportunities and dodge dangers they didn’t see coming. Just remember not to equate nimble with impulsive.
- Be constant. While your tactics may adjust, keep an eye on your long-term goals. While that might mean losing a skirmish or two, bear in mind your overarching goal is not to win skirmishes. A successful entrepreneur makes this critical distinction and keeps on pushing through the inevitable temporary adversities. Businesses take time and patience to build.
- Never stop selling. Not even natural-born salespeople enjoy constantly putting themselves out there, facing rejection from strangers. But the interpersonal skills required for selling can be learned. Learn to tell your story to people who haven’t necessarily asked to hear it. Work on your elevator speech and become proficient at adapting it for various audiences. Listen to your inner extrovert and embrace rejection or whatever scares you most. Develop a facility for talking with strangers. Learn to listen for nuggets embedded in people’s responses. Ultimately you might find enjoyment in overcoming aversions that hold you back.
- Delegate. Even if you’re a sole proprietor, you can’t perform every task related to your business as well as you’d like. If you spread yourself too thin, inevitably you won’t be pleased with the results. That’s what vendors—and, at some point, contractors, part-timers and full-time employees—are for. Stay focused on the things you do well. For the rest, find subject matter experts you can trust and offload work to them. Delegating selectively frees up your time and bandwidth—and you still get stuff done.
For more recommendations on succeeding in your own business, or to discuss creative financing solutions, contact us at 1-855-WHY-PANGO (1-855-949-7264).