5 Essential Qualities Every Business Owner Should Cultivate
“Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit.”
~ Napoleon Hill
Being successful in business is not simply about having the right strategy and tools to hand. If it were then way more people would be finding huge success both swiftly and easily, because here’s the thing. The way to build a successful business, is all out there on the internet for free. Sure you might have to sift through a load of crap advice, but you could find a good teacher or coach and steadily implement what they share with you and you would be laughing all the way to the bank.
But this isn’t how it works, is it?
It doesn’t work like this because we’re human. And as humans, we love to get in our own way. We have a tendency to make things more complicated than they need to be and if we’re consistent about anything, it’s allowing our self-imposed limitations (fear, doubt, lack of self-belief, and so on) to hold us back at every turn. As I contemplated this, I realised that there are several qualities we would do well to better cultivate, in order to increase our chances of success.
In this post, I share five of these qualities with you.
If you want to build your own business simply because you like the idea of making a lot of money working in your pyjamas and think that doing so sounds easier than going to work 9–5 for someone else then you’re headed for huge disappointment.
To truly succeed in business and feel happy and fulfilled as you work towards that, you have to have passion for what you do and why you are doing it. Otherwise, when things get tough (which they inevitably do), you won’t have anything to hold on to. When I see new business owners flitting from niche to niche, trying as hard as they can to pick something that will stick, I can’t help feeling that they’re already facing an uphill battle.
Having a burning passion for what you do is the difference between having the wind behind you as you climb the mountain versus blowing hard in your face. That’s why it’s so important to look deep into your soul when it comes to building your business and figure out what really matters to you and how you can uniquely contribute to the betterment of this world.
Being an entrepreneur requires you to leap into the unknown, time and time again. To create and put your work out there on a regular basis, with limited, or often no, knowledge of how it will be received. There is no doubt about it that for many people this requires courage.
If you’re lucky enough to not care if what you put out into the world fails or succeeds, then you’re seriously ahead of the game! Personally, I have got to a point in my life and business where I care little about other people’s reactions (as a result no doubt of cultivating the qualities I share here) but for most people, this is a work in progress. When we can create with true abandon, that’s when we become truly resilient.
Until that time, you will have to call on your courage to see you through. The good news is that being courageous doesn’t mean being fearless, you can feel terrified and still move forward.
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
~ Nelson Mandela
This is a quality I often see overlooked but one that I believe is crucial in business. We live in a time where the answer to every question is pretty much at our fingertips. With tools like Google and Youtube, we can, with a smartphone or computer, literally find out how to do anything online. Yet often I meet people who seem completely stumped trying to figure things out, things they could easily uncover with a little bit of curiosity. What I see most often is people making assumptions about why something hasn’t or isn’t working. Many assume something won’t work before they’ve even tried.
It’s hugely important to be curious about what is and isn’t working in business. I’m a huge believer in not taking what seems like a failure to heart but instead to look at the variables and ask ourselves, what could be done differently that might, in the future, lead to a different outcome. Being relentless about asking questions like:
Could I refine my product or service so it’s a better fit for my ideal clients?
Is there something about the way I’m talking about this product or service that’s confusing to my audience?
Have I shared information about this product or service widely enough and with enough of the right people?
What else could I change about what I’m doing to get more sales?
I often talk to my clients about the importance of becoming like a scientist when it comes to their business.
Something I’ve noticed about the people who succeed, is that they have, at least to some extent, a belief that if they keep at it, eventually, come hell or high water, they will make it. That’s definitely been true for me. Even when all signs have pointed to the opposite, I have never allowed myself to believe that I can’t achieve what I’ve set out for myself.
One of my favourite lessons from Napoleon Hill’s famous book, Think and Grow Rich is “Three Feet from Gold.” The story is about perseverance and what happens when you give up too soon.
Allow me to tell you a personal story that sheds more light on this. Years ago, I was sharing with a boyfriend the fact that I wanted to write and publish a book one day. He laughed and said “Don’t you think millions of people have that exact same dream?” without batting an eyelid, I replied, “Yes of course but what do you think is the key difference between those who achieve the dream and those who don’t? The former don’t care how many other people have the same dream, they keep going while the majority of other people give up (or never even start)!”
He wasn’t convinced, but I have a knowing in my heart that this is true and in case you’re wondering the book is written, it just needs some serious work before I get to the publish part but you know, babies and business have been keeping me a touch busy lately.
For me, resilience comes as a natural result of all of these other qualities combined. When we are truly passionate about what we’re doing, feel deeply rooted in our why and courageously and determinedly head in that direction, adjusting course with curiosity, as and when needed, then we become resilient. It’s inevitable. The changing winds of approval and popularity no longer have a hold on us. We no longer feel beaten down and demotivated when things don’t go as expected or planned, we simply pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, consider and question what we could have done differently and we try again.
And even if that doesn’t work, when we feel we’ve tried every possible iteration of a course of action or strategy to little effect, we simply pivot and we try another approach.
We don’t question ourselves and our abilities, we don’t get down on ourselves and look for reasons why this will never work. Instead, we hone and refine our skills and our strategy and we continue. Ever confident that our goal can and will be realised.
This is resilience and given the nature of building, growing and running your own business, believe me you need it.
I hope that reading this list helps and inspires you. These are all qualities that we can work on and cultivate. None of them are beyond you.
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