To be a successful small business, you have to think and act like a successful business. Sounds simple, perhaps, but many small-business owners and start-up entrepreneurs forget this basic concept. In the face of financial adversity, they adopt a "can't-do" attitude.
As a leader of your business, you should spread a message of success to everyone involved, from employees and vendors to customers and prospects. High-performance businesses - both big and small - allow people to take risks, generate new ideas, make mistakes and learn from them.
The most successful entrepreneurs find ways to make successful thinking contagious. One way they do that is by emphasizing long-term potential over short-term thinking. They learn to innovate rather than hesitate, and they shun the status quo as they seek to spark new interest and enthusiasm inside the business.
Be open to new ideas, even if they sound silly or outlandish. One such idea just might be your "next big thing." Reward people for extra effort. Noncash incentives - time off, for example, or a company lunch - have gained popularity as a means of rewarding employees. Cash bonuses still reign.
Always deliver what you promise. That includes keeping promises to employees and suppliers as well as customers. Integrity fuels the success engine, and it's tough to recover if you blow it.
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.