If you watch Tyra Banks’ “America’s Next Top Model”, you would hear in its opening credits the words “Wanna be on top?” And if you religiously watch the show, you would see how the aspiring models prove in each episode that they should be the winner.
Now put yourself in their shoes. What would you do to be “on top?” Certainly, you must possess certain qualities for you to succeed. In business, things also kind of work in the same way. You need to have particular values for you to become a successful business owner. If you are wondering what they are, here are five characteristics for you to look at:
If you check the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, conscientious is defined as “being very careful about doing what you are supposed to do; concerned with doing something correctly.” When you think about this definition, it makes sense why being conscientious is one of the characteristics that makes a successful business owner. Owning a business means your every move and decision has an impact on your business’ future. Thus, you need to be very careful.
How do you know if you are conscientious? Well, you must be very responsible, organized, and you must like planning ahead. You are reliable and you keep your word when you say, “I’ll send a proposal later this afternoon.”
Another indication of conscientiousness is being punctual. In your case as a business owner, punctuality shows itself through always hitting deadlines both for your clients and the ones you’ve set for yourself, as well as showing up on time for your client meetings. It takes a seriously organized and careful person to be punctual, so if you believe you are this kind of person, then you’re one step closer to becoming successful!
2. Creating and following patterns of personal efficiency
The late and renowned management consultant Peter Drucker has differentiated effectiveness and efficiency as, “effectiveness is doing the right thing while efficiency is doing things right.” It doesn’t mean you only need to choose one, but for this article, we are focusing on personal efficiency and the importance of creating and following patterns of it.
Being efficient means you are able to do your tasks without wasting time, materials or energy. So how are you going to do it? One major technique is time management. Being a business owner means you oversee a lot of things. That’s why you need to prioritize the tasks that are more urgent and important than others. If you need help, delegate the tasks! Check your progress to know the things that you’ve already accomplished for the day so you can also assess productivity patterns.
When you have time management, it does not only help you make use of your time in the best way, but it can also help you avoid calendar crises, like forgetting the important things in your business. Now that is what you call personal efficiency. And remember, managing your time is something you can perfect through practice, but only if you repeatedly do it the right way.
To add, when you have personal efficiency, you prevent a “zog”, which is a Dutch word that has something to do with being sucked into an undesirable state. Take for instance a sailing boat that naturally goes where the wind is, but is prevented from moving forward because the water is sucking at the boat, trying to stop it from going onward. When you have personal efficiency, you prevent yourself from being “sucked” into the mess of the things that you haven’t prepared yourself for. In other words, you prevent a “zog”.
3. Using processes, facts and figures
Your science teacher must have mentioned at least once in your classes that science is a “systematic and logical approach to discovering how things in the universe work.” Let’s focus on how science is “systematic” – this means that science uses methods and procedures in discovering things. So when we say that business is a science, that is what it means – there are processes being followed.
For instance, if you are running a hotel and a customer calls on the phone to ask how much an overnight stay costs, you simply do not answer any price that comes to mind. You first check what room is necessary or requested, then you check its rate (it’s usually different for peak seasons), you compute for other costs, you even check the availability of the room, and finally, you tell the customer how much an overnight stay at your hotel is. How did you do it? You followed a process. And when you follow processes, it produces perfection.
Being a business owner also means you have to speak the language of business. No, this is not any language like English, Spanish or Mandarin. I’m talking about the language of Accounting. Warren Buffet, the Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, coined such business language. And just like any language, there is a set of terminology for Accounting, such as a balance sheet, accrual basis, trial balance and general ledger. As a business owner, you need to know what these terms mean. So if you are not familiar with these, you have some homework and research to do.
And finally, when you use processes, facts and figures, it means that you use more reliable sources of information for making business decisions, not just solely basing everything on intuition and gut feel. Tell you, many businesses have sunk without a trace because of intuition and gut feel-based decisions. So if you do not want your business to sink like the Titanic ship, better stick with facts.
4. Forward looking
Remember when Katy Perry said “Don’t ever look back” in her song Teenage Dream? Yep, that is exactly what you should do. Or perhaps you can take a peak, but only for the reason of looking at the mistakes you’ve done in the past, and remembering to learn from them and not do them again. Before you are a business owner, you are first a human being. And being human means you will commit mistakes, whether you like it or not, especially if you are still a noob.
What you ought to do is not to dwell too much on what went wrong. Ask yourself how you can do things better and be optimistic that applying what you learned will lead your business to a better state.
This one is too obvious and does not need much elaboration. To be a successful business owner, you must be persistent. Meaning, you do what you should do despite the challenges along the way. You are persistent enough to be resilient after picking yourself up from problems as you try again until you learn from your failures.
In all of these characteristics, pick what you think is lacking in you, then try to improve it little by little every day. If you think you already have them, maintain them and do not let them go. Last reminder: Never give up!