Lay the Groundwork
Entrepreneurs launching new businesses must recognize and understand their own strong points and limitations to compete in a crowded market. Learning to play to strengths and compensate for weaknesses goes a long way in cultivating the positive attitude and leadership skills intrinsic to success.
The Right Stuff
To conduct a systematic self-assessment, list the qualities you believe a business owner should possess. While these can vary among individuals, experts agree the following are essential:
- Ability to be a self-starter
- Strong communication and rapport-building skills
- Decision-making skills
- Physical and emotional stamina
- Planning and organizational skills
- Positive attitudes and drive
- Sense of humor
- Flexibility when dealing with change
Take a hard look at these criteria, as well as others you deem important and give yourself and honest rating. If you find yourself deficient in one or more of these areas, think about hiring an employee or partner possessing the skills you lack. Better yet, develop these traits in yourself by working with a business coach or attending classes targeting entrepreneurs.
Forge a Positive Attitude
The driving force behind ongoing professional viability is a positive attitude. Successful business owners are optimists able to weather the rough spots. This is no easy task, especially with all the planning, funding and other innumerable elements involved in starting a company. To stay upbeat and forward thinking critical during the preliminary stages of launching a venture use these motivational tips:
- Set goals short and long term. Make sure they are attainable.
- Develop a manageable plan of action. Visualize daily, weekly and monthly expectations by using a planner. This will keep you focused and motivated.
- Create realistic deadlines. Workable time frames help hold you accountable and turn intangible ideas into valid goals.
- Do it now. Procrastination can kill motivation and thwart success. If you find yourself putting off important tasks, identify why. Some experts point out that feeling overwhelmed is a major cause of dawdling and delay. To cope more effectively and promote a sense of accomplishment, break down chores into smaller increments.
- Accept challenges. Obstacles to success are a fact of life, so expect and prepare for challenges. By doing so, you will be far less tempted to give up when difficulties arise and you’ll feel more motivated when you get past them.
- Avoid negativity. A gloomy attitude can lead to a loss of momentum. Even so, sometimes it is hard to keep an upbeat outlook in the face of obstacles. To make this easier, keep your eye on your goal, practice positive thinking and remember that successful people exude positive attitudes. After all, the little engine that could did.
- Enjoy what you do. Make work fun. Being too uptight can dampen enthusiasm and imagination. Serious business will get accomplished with less stress if you have a good sense of humor, too.
- Get help to stay positive. The Internet is full of offers for self-help tutorials, books and CDs. Continue to reinforce an optimistic attitude by reading, associating with positive people and keeping tabs on your own spiritual energy. Network with other business owners to re-energize ideas and goals.
- Staff your company with positive people. Very few business owners can build a company without help. Your employees should share your passion, so clearly define your vision for those you look to hire. Ask questions that draw out the interviewee’s motivations, attitude and ethics.
Dynamic business leaders share common traits and characteristics that ignite their visions and engage their followers. By the same token, leaders are risk takers, but not foolhardy.
Refer to the following checklist to guide you in your own leadership development program. To keep these concepts fresh, make it a weekly or daily routine to revisit this information and to use it as another self-assessment tool:
A strong leader:
- Leads employees by example
- Communicates openly with staff
- Remains objective in all business matters
- Empowers staff to make decisions
- Encourages accountability
- Listens actively
- Shares the credit for a job well-done
- Rewards employees for outstanding performance
- Displays sincerity, integrity, and candor in all actions
- Bases actions on reason and moral principles
- Helps employees set and achieve goals
- Inspires others to do their best
- Shows respect for personnel when dealing with performance issues
- Admits mistakes and corrects them
- Stays abreast of developments in the field
- Seeks new challenges
- Strives for diversity
- Perseveres to accomplish goals, despite obstacles
- Shows sound judgment
- Demonstrates flexibility and a willingness to try new things