Success is All in the Attitude
By Bob Reiss
This article, written for Entrepreneur, also appeared on Yahoo, AT&T Small Business, MSNBC, The Street, The Washington Post, Fox Business, Reuters, Business Insider and many others.
What’s important to the success of small-business owners and entrepreneurs? Knowledge, skill and talent.
However, many competitors have the same traits you do. The key to beating the competition and achieving success is mental, reflected in one’s attitude, totally controlled by the individual and requires no cash. This holds true in most human endeavors besides business–in sports, the arts and politics.
How many times have we seen the underdog team or player win over the more talented opponent? The difference is often attitude.
These 12 attitude attributes can put you in the right mindset for achieving entrepreneurial success.
- Have passion for your business.
Work should be fun. Your passion will help you overcome difficult moments and persuade people to work for you and want to do business with you. Passion can’t be taught. When it wanes, as it surely will in difficult times, take some quiet time. Whether it be an hour or a week, take inventory of all the reasons you started the business and why you like being your own boss. That should renew your passion.
- Set an example of trustworthiness.
People have confidence in trustworthy individuals and want to work for them in a culture of integrity. The same is true for customers.
- Be flexible, except with core values.
It’s a given that your plans and strategies will change as time goes on. This flexibility for rapid change is an inherent advantage of small over large business. However, no matter the pressure for immediate profits, do not compromise on core values.
- Don’t let fear of failure hold you back.
Failure is an opportunity to learn. All things being equal, venture capitalists would rather invest money in an individual who tried and failed founding a company than in someone who never tried.
- Make timely decisions.
It’s okay to use your intuition. Planning and thought are good. But procrastination leads to missed opportunity.
- The major company asset is you.
Take care of yourself. Your health is more valuable than the most expensive machinery or computer software for the company. You don’t have to choose between your family or your company, play or work. Maintain your health for balance and energy, which will, in turn, enhance your mental outlook.
- Keep your ego under control.
Don’t take profits and spend them on expensive toys to impress others. Build a war chest for unexpected needs or opportunities. This also means hearing out new ideas and suggestions no matter how crazy they sound.
You need to believe in yourself, in your company, and that you will be successful. This confidence is contagious with your employees, customers, stakeholders, suppliers and everyone you deal with.
- Encourage and accept criticism graciously. Admit your mistakes.
You need to constantly work on convincing your employees that it’s okay–even necessary–to state their honest opinions even it if conflicts with the boss’s opinion. Just stating it once or putting it in a mission statement won’t cut it for most people.
- Maintain a strong work ethic.
Your employees will follow your lead. It will also help you beat your competition by outworking them, particularly when your product or service is very similar.
- Rebound quickly from setbacks.
There surely will be plenty of ups and downs as you build the business. Learn from the setbacks and move on. You can’t change the past.
- Periodically get out of your comfort zone to pursue something important.
Many times you will feel uncomfortable in implementing a needed change in technology, people, mission, competing, etc. For the company and you to grow personally, you sometimes have to step out of your comfort zone.
Many organizational and leadership shortcomings can be overcome or mitigated with the good attitudes described above. All can be learned except passion, which comes from within. Take time out of your hectic schedule to periodically reflect on these attributes. You may be inspired to act.
This article is based on the contents of the book Bootstrapping 101 by Bob Reiss. Reiss is an Army veteran and graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Business School. He has been involved in 16 startups and is a three-time INC 500 winner. He has been the subject of two Harvard case studies and is a frequent speaker at University Entrepreneurial classes.
Reprinted from Entrepreneur.com.
The article Success is all in The Attitude has appeared in:
2. AT&T Small Business
3. Business Wizard (Buwiz.com)
13. Power of Scale (Scale.com)
14. Black News Tribune
17. Fox Business
18. The Washington Post
28. YourSenior Magazine.com
29. Big Idea Africa (BigIAFrica.com
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