Small Business Success

10 Habits That Will Move Your Small Business To The Next Level

What makes the difference between a successful small business that keeps evolving with the times, and a stagnant small business that withers and dies?

To answer that question look at what successful small business owners have in common and the answer becomes clear. Small business owners habitually practice the following ten things that not only creates success but takes them to the next level in their business endeavor.

What Habits Do Successful Small Business Owners Have In Common?

1) Automate Tactically — Successful business owners use technology to advance their business strategy. Automation can increase business productivity exponentially. Today, no matter what kind of small business you have, from an online services business to a small bricks and mortar business technology provides numerous means to automation. Using customer service apps is a good example of automation that will improve productivity and sales.

2) Communicate Effectively — The most important tool any business owner has at his or her disposal is communication. Everything we do revolves around communication, whether with customers or with employees and contractors. It’s important to be able to communicate both ways whether it’s talking to a potential client, a current client, serving customers, marketing your business, networking, or collaborating with employees and / or contractors.

3) Delegate Smartly — The way you delegate smartly is by knowing what you’re delegating, what you expect the receivables to be, how you’ll identify success, and the ability to document and measure the results every step of the way. It’s very important that you leverage your efficiencies when you delegate. If you can delegate something to someone who can do it faster, better and cheaper, then you’ll be better off.

4) Hire Top Notch Personnel — Bringing awesome people to your team is a top priority for successful business owners. Ironically, the way you hire the best employees is by being an awesome employer. It doesn’t matter if you hire actual employees or contractors, if you are a good business to work for, talent will naturally be attracted to you. Additionally, pay people a fair wage, offer incredible benefits, and a terrific work environment with an open-door communication policy.

5) Market Continuously — Small businesses often have a tendency to stop marketing functions when they are overwhelmed with their current client load. But, this is a huge mistake. All businesses should always keep marketing. There are two purposes to marketing, one is to get more customers, but the other is to establish your brand. Marketing also involves: Marketing Research, Marketing Strategy, Target Marketing, Marketing Mix, and Marketing Performance. These should be practiced throughout the business cycle.
6) Measure Results Accurately — With anything you do in and for your business it is important to measure results, and measure them accurately. The way you do this is to know what you expected before you started, so you know what constitutes success vs. failure. Plus, of course, you’re going to have to have a mechanism in place to collect metrics to study them. Thankfully, today we have so many cloud based software solutions at our fingertips that small businesses can compete with big business like never before, while staying lean.

7) Organize Efficiently — Most people work better when everything is organized in an efficient manner that allows the maximum amount of work to be completed in the shortest amount of time. If you’re constantly sorting through emails, and your computer for files, and wasting time on simple tasks due to lack of organization it will be hard to move to that next level. Having processes in place for each aspect of your business is imperative.

8) Outsource Strategically — Whether you have 100 employees or are a business of one, it is possible to outsource many aspects of your business which can save money on infrastructure and personnel. It’s important to pick and choose what you’ll do in-house, and what you’ll outsource, and it’s important not to lose control of your core values when you do it. Remember, outsourcing doesn’t always mean hiring offshore labor for pennies. Sometimes it means hire a highly educated and valuable team member on a contract basis that your company might not be able to afford in-house full-time.

9) Plan Intelligently — All managers have to plan, but you can’t create a plan for a business without all the other factors in place that allow for good decision-making. In business to plan intelligently you need to gather information, know your goals, create strategies, and then implement the plan based on that information. Finally you must always monitor the plan and evaluate whether or not the plan is working and always be willing to change factors if it’s not working.

10) Educate Always  — Good business owners and managers always continue to educate themselves about every aspect of their business, their market and factors that affect each on a  daily basis. Additionally, they offer top-notch education and training opportunities to their staff and contractors. Having a foot in learning will enable the business to be ahead of the game when it comes to technology and new innovations.

Something is missing? Tell me about it and help grow this list!

Image © Minerva Studio – Fotolia.com

Elke is an English Philologist from Germany with a passion for Online Marketing and Internet trends. She currently works as an online marketer for www.getapp.com. Her motto is : "Your life is what your thoughts make it.". Follow @GetApp on Twitter!


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{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Kazi Rahim November 6, 2012, 3:46 pm

    I am trying to make my online business bigger. But I am failed every time. if I follow the above mentioned process perfectly, will I be successful? what can I do now? any useful suggestions are smilingly welcome.

  • Andru November 3, 2012, 4:07 am

    A business needs regular and innovative contribution on the part of the owner. In order to improve his business, he has to work on various things that can fetch him success. I like the way you have stated all such points in your post in order to take the business to the next level of achievement. A continuous change in the strategies also helps to a great extent.

  • Sophia Hampton November 1, 2012, 11:34 pm

    Marketing fundamentals really haven’t changed. You still have to build, know, like, trust, and offer value and generate leads from many sources. But now we have this rich tool set available to us, and I believe the biggest opportunity for the smallest of organizations is to integrate social media into what they’re already doing in their marketing.

    Thanks Elke for the wonderful post.

  • Bharat October 31, 2012, 2:25 pm

    Outsourcing is one of the important things we need to consider. After certain time period and with the growth of business we have to outsource some basic & time consuming tasks. This way we can stay productive and thank you Elke for this worth reading article.

  • Anton Koekemoer October 30, 2012, 4:38 am

    Hi Elke,
    Yes – I especially do agree with hiring top personnel. As this is one of the biggest aspects in Small to medium sized businesses – especially at startup – that can make or break the Business.

    • Elke Schmitt October 30, 2012, 4:41 am

      Hi Anton, yes, I think you are right. It is also for me one of the most important points in the list. Your staff is what makes many times the difference!

  • Ryan Biddulph October 30, 2012, 3:45 am

    Hi Elke,

    Communication is really key.

    Open up, chat and be willing to listen. Many talk without listening, or tuning into other’s needs.

    Listen and you stand out from the crowd. Such a brilliantly simple idea that you can develop into a prospering skill.

    Few listen. Even fewer communicate effectively, because after listening you need to respond to the other person’s needs, without letting your agenda ruin things.

    A challenge, but as you become more compassionate it becomes easy to do.

    Thanks for sharing Elke.


  • Darren Delaney October 30, 2012, 3:06 am

    Great post. I really think the continuous marketing point is of high relevance. You really must undertake multiple roles as a business owner. Persistent, well planned, relevant marketing is key to success as a SMB, and certainly to growing any enterprise.

  • Lucy October 30, 2012, 12:14 am

    Wow Thanks Elke for posting such an informative post. You are absolutely right about these habits making a great change in your total approach and helping you to take your business to the next level. most entrepreneurs don’t know to take their business to the next level. they start the business, it is running successfully, then what next? your post will definitely help all small business owners in their growth.

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