Do what you enjoy. What you get out of your business in the form of personal satisfaction, financial gain, stability and enjoyment will be the sum of what you put into your business. So if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, in all likelihood it’s safe to assume that will be reflected in the success of your business–or subsequent lack of success.
Take what you do seriously. You cannot expect to be effective and successful in business unless you truly believe in your business and in the goods and services that you sell.
Plan everything. Planning every aspect of your business is not only a must, but also builds habits that every business owner should develop, implement and maintain. The act of business planning is important because it requires you to analyze each business situation, research and compile data, and make conclusions based mainly on the facts as revealed through the research. A business plan can be used as both as map to take you from point A to Z and as a yardstick to measure the success of each individual plan or segment within the plan.
Manage money wisely. The lifeblood of any business enterprise is cash flow. You need it to buy inventory, pay for services, promote and market your business, repair and replace tools and equipment, and pay yourself so that you can continue to work. Therefore, all home business owners must become wise money managers to ensure that the cash keeps flowing and the bills get paid.
Remember it’s all about the customer. Your business is not about the products or services that you sell. Your business is not about the prices that you charge for your goods and services. Your business is not about your competition and how to beat them. Your business is all about your customers, period. Everything you do in business must be customer focused, including your policies, warranties, payment options, operating hours, presentations, advertising and promotional campaigns and website.
Become a self-promoter (without becoming obnoxious). One of the greatest myths about personal or business success is that eventually your business, personal abilities, products or services will get discovered and be embraced by the masses that will beat a path to your door to buy what you are selling. But how can this happen if no one knows who you are, what you sell and why they should be buying?
Get to know your customers. One of the biggest features and often the most significant competitive edge of an entrepreneur over the larger competitors is to offer personalized attention.
Level the playing field with technology. You should avoid getting overly caught up in the high-tech world, but you should also know how to take advantage of using it. One of the most amazing aspects of the internet is that a one or two person business operating from a basement can have a superior website to a $50 million company, and nobody knows the difference. The best technology is that which helps you, not that which impresses your neighbors.
Build a top-notch business team. No one person can build a successful business alone. It’s a task that requires a team that is as committed as you to the business and its success.
Become known as an expert. When you have a problem that needs to be solved, do you seek just anyone’s advice or do you seek an expert in the field to help solve your particular problem? Obviously, you want the most accurate information and assistance that you can get. You naturally seek an expert to help solve your problem. Therefore, it only stands to reason that the more you become known for your expertise in your business, the more people will seek you out to tap into your expertise, creating more selling and referral opportunities.
Create a competitive advantage. A home business must have a clearly defined unique selling proposition. Will it be better service, a longer warranty, better selection, longer business hours, more flexible payment options, lowest price, personalized service, better customer service, better return and exchange policies or a combination of several of these?
Invest in yourself. Top entrepreneurs buy and read business and marketing books, magazines, reports, journals, newsletters, websites and industry publications, knowing that these resources will improve their understanding of business and marketing functions and skills. They join business associations and clubs, and they network with other skilled business people to learn their secrets of success and help define their own goals and objectives. Top entrepreneurs attend business and marketing seminars, workshops and training courses, even if they have already mastered the subject matter of the event. They do this because they know that education is an ongoing process. There are usually ways to do things better, in less time, with less effort. In short, top entrepreneurs never stop investing in the most powerful, effective and best business and marketing tool at their immediate disposal–themselves.
Be accessible. We’re living in a time when we all expect our fast food lunch to be ready in mere minutes, our dry cleaning to be ready for pick-up on the same day, our money to be available at the cash machine and our pizza delivered in 30 minutes. You see the pattern developing–you must make it as easy as you can for people to do business with you, regardless of the home business you operate.
Build a rock-solid reputation. A good reputation is unquestionably a business owner’s most tangible and marketable asset. You can’t simply buy a good reputation; it’s something that you earn by honoring your promises. Sell benefits. Pushing product features is for inexperienced or wannabe entrepreneurs. Selling the benefits associated with owning and using the products and services you carry is what sales professionals worldwide focus on to create buying excitement and to sell, sell more, and sell more frequently to their customers.
Master the art of negotiation. The ability to negotiate effectively is unquestionably a skill that every business owner must make every effort to master. In business, negotiation skills are used daily. Always remember that mastering the art of negotiation means that your skills are so finely tuned that you can always orchestrate a win-win situation. These win-win arrangements mean that everyone involved feels they have won, which is really the basis for building long-term and profitable business relationships.
Design Your workspace for success. Carefully plan and design your office workspace to ensure maximum personal performance and productivity and, if necessary, to project professionalism for visiting clients.
Get and stay organized. The key to staying organized is not about which type of file you have or whether you keep a stack or two of papers on your desk, but it’s about managing your business. It’s about having systems in place to do things. Therefore, you want to establish a routine by which you can accomplish as much as possible in a given workday, whether that’s three hours for a part-time business or seven or nine hours as a full-timer.
Take time off. The temptation to work around the clock is very real for some business owners. Establish a regular work schedule that includes time to stretch your legs and take lunch breaks, plus some days off and scheduled vacations.
Limit the number of hats you wear. It’s difficult for most business owners not to take a hands-on approach. They try to do as much as possible and tackle as many tasks as possible in their business. The ability to multitask, in fact, is a common trait shared by successful entrepreneurs. However, once in a while you have to stand back and look beyond today to determine what’s in the best interest of your business and yourself over the long run. Most highly successful entrepreneurs will tell you that from the time they started out, they knew what they were good at and what tasks to delegate to others.
Follow-up constantly. Constant contact, follow-up, and follow-through with customers, prospects, and business alliances should be the mantra of every business owner, new or established. Constant and consistent follow-up enables you to turn prospects into customers, increase the value of each sale and buying frequency from existing customers, and build stronger business relationships with suppliers and your core business team. It’s easy to sell one product or service, but it takes work to retain customers and keep them coming back.