Successful small businesses come in all sizes and specialties, but their leaders share one essential attitude - a positive attitude that transcends everything they do.
Believing in your ability to succeed does more than simply sustain you in the challenges of getting your business started. It also spreads through your company and beyond. When you "walk the talk" and follow through on your commitments, your managers and employees perform their jobs with more confidence. Vendors, customers and prospects know that you will come through for them as well.
Among the ways you can make successful thinking contagious in your business is by emphasizing long-term potential over short-term thinking. Leaders of high-performance businesses innovate rather than hesitate, and they shun the status quo. They also encourage their staff to take risks, capitalize on success, and make and learn from mistakes.
Sure, working productively will help build your business. But generating creativity and passion for what your business does is a hallmark of a high-performance business. These do not need to be grandiose concepts. Simply going out of your way to help a customer in an unusual fashion qualifies.
Emphasize the collective success of your business, not of any individual person, project or product. Then you can accelerate success by identifying a few profitable activities and making them happen ever more flawlessly and quickly.
Open the lines of communication. Generally, those around you need more information, not less, in order to feel successful. Let people know where you think the business needs to go, the problems it faces and what keeps you up at night. That makes it easier for you to involve them in finding solutions to your largest challenges. Ask their advice about what you are doing right, what hurts and what needs fixing. That way, everyone has a bigger stake in your success.
Stephen L. Rosenstein is co-chairman of the Greater Baltimore SCORE Chapter No. 3. Call 410-962-2233 to speak to a SCORE counselor or visit www.scorebaltimore.org. To send a question to SCORE, e-mail email@example.com.