Okay people, it’s time for some honesty - pretty much anyone can own a business. It’s just a matter of filling out the right paperwork and paying the right fees, once you really get down to it.
What sets great business owners apart is an additional level of intelligence and drive, a quality that some people call “savvy.” These smart cookies know that running a successful business requires you, as an owner, to take measured and deliberate steps every day. You can’t just rent an office, sit in a desk chair, and expect the money to start flowing in. Your habits as a business owner determine the future of your venture - and you’d do well to remember that. Savvy?
You should be creating and achieving goals in your business (and personally) on a regular basis. Get some long-term goals—the big kind that make you scared—and then split them up into short-term goals that you can accomplish in a more reasonable time frame.
Knowing how to let other people do your work is a surprisingly important part of being an intelligent worker. If you’re a business owner, chances are you have a few employees or people willing to help you out – so use them! Different people are good at different things, and besides, your sanity needs it.
Don’t let all the work of being a business owner keep you away from the front lines. In order to provide a good product or service, you need to know exactly what makes your audience tick. Use social media to keep a finger on the pulse of your market, and be sure to go out and actually talk to your customers. Another thing you can do is take a few people in your target market out to lunch and pick their brains—what do they want? What do they like about your product? What do they think you can do better?
One of the financial keys to small business success is to manage your finances in a way that allows for some failure. If you overestimate your expenses while underestimating revenues, you are bound to run the business more frugally while all but ensuring that you come out on top.
The smartest business owners realize that the journey of education doesn’t end with a college degree. Your industry will also be evolving, and you need to keep up with the times in order to make sure that your business stays relevant, well-informed, and in tip-top shape. Go to conferences, read books, keep up with industry news, and so on.
You don’t know everything. Once you get that in your head, you’ll find it’s a lot easier to humble yourself and realize that there are people out there that you can really learn from. Find yourself a mentor or two and learn all you can from them. Even the most successful
people in the world have had mentors to guide them along.
No matter how “right-brained” you are, you won’t be doing yourself any favors by being
disorganized. Every intelligent business owner knows that organization
allows you to achieve more while simultaneously keeping stress down. Sounds
pretty great, right? So buckle down and dive into that stack of papers on your
desk—the success of your business may depend on it.
Like it or not, networking is a key part of being an intelligent business owner. You can’t find success on your own, so it’s essential that you make connections that will be beneficial to you further down the road. Luckily, there are many ways to network. LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social networks allow you to build relationships from afar, while conferences and events bring you face-to-face with potential contacts.
This can be hard to process as a driven, passionate business owner. “How can you tell me to ignore my business?” you say. The key is that you’re not ignoring your business completely when you take breaks and pursue other things. These mental vacations actually allow your brain to work on issues in the background and come up with more creative solutions than what you would have thought of while working. Pretty useful, huh?
10. Have a good sense of humor
Finally, the truly intelligent person knows that you can’t survive business without a healthy sense of humor to help you along the way. You’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to have embarrassing moments, and you’re going to need to be able to laugh at yourself when things go awry.
Running a business is hard work, but it is also a huge adventure. Trust us, we know!