While being a small business owner can be incredibly rewarding, it can also be a great test of how much motivated and passionate you are about what you do. Not only do you have to juggle multiple roles at once, you're also the face of the company. You're responsible for keeping morale up, inspiring your staff and making decisions that are going to keep your business moving in the right direction. It's no wonder so many small business owners share the same personality traits, as the job demands a specific type of character that extends well beyond work ethic and productivity.
Here are the six traits that make a successful small business owner:
A comprehensive study by the Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute asked 1,100 small-business owners what characteristics they thought mattered most when running their company. Collaborative was one of the most common responses, as the bosses explained that their ability to communicate and share ideas with their staff was crucial to the success of their business. Delegating tasks when appropriate and working with employees not only improves the company, but also their individual careers. Business owners who have strong relationships with their staff members are going to be better able to forge similar relationships with customers and clients.
When it comes time to tackle tasks like creating budgets, executing marketing campaigns and hiring new employees, business owners are the ones who have to make all of the tough decisions. If you aren't exuding confidence when you make these choices, people may not take you seriously. To lead a team of inspired individuals and attract new clientele, confidence is key.
Curiosity and creativity go hand in hand. According to Forbes, research finds that business owners who are curious have the desire to learn, grow and develop new skills. This is crucial when you're competing with many companies, as curiosity is important to staying current. For example, company leaders should always be asking what the latest trends are in everything from technology to hiring strategies and marketing campaigns. If business owners stop wondering what the competition is up to, the company is going to quickly lose its competitive edge.
Your employees, partners and customers have to trust you as the leader of your company if it's going to thrive. The U.S. Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics found that around 2 million Americans quit their jobs every month, and 31 percent of respondents in a 2013 Accenture survey said they have left or are planning to leave their jobs because they don't like their boss. A lack of trust and recognition are two of the leading problems between employees and their bosses.
"Building trust is paramount to the success of a business," business credit expert Marco Carbajo told the U.S. Small Business Administration. "Successful business owners know the value of building trust. They understand that people don't invest in companies, they invest in people. Whether they are pitching an idea to potential investors or convincing a banker to issue a business loan or line of credit, successful entrepreneurs exemplify trustworthiness."
The SBA points out that flexibility is an essential quality small business owners should have. This should apply to both their day-to-day responsibilities as well as to employee relations, such as allowing telecommuting and flexible work hours, which is key to retaining staff. They may need to wear multiple hats and pitch in with projects or tasks they hadn't planned on doing or don't have much experience with. This is why it's so important to be able to adapt and improvise on a daily basis. There are going to be plenty of bumps in the road as you grow your small business, and flexibility is part of the shield that's going to protect your company from irreparable damage.
Small business owners have to realize that, while it's important to set goals for their company, it's going to take some time to get there. Successful leaders are those who are able to thrive in times of uncertainty and show their tenacity with an unyielding ability to tackle new challenges as they emerge. They make even the biggest obstacles look manageable with their persistence and dedication.
"Timing, perseverance and 10 years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success," said Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, according to the SBA.
While it's true that the traits of a successful business owner may vary, these six are ones that most have in common. Even if you don't see these traits in yourself, there's always time to incorporate them into the way you see and run your business. These characteristics shouldn't end with you – they should be noticeable in your entire staff in order to build a strong business that never stops moving forward.