7 Habits of Highly Effective Business Owners

Back in 1988, author Stephen Covey wrote the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This was a holistic, people centred approach for dealing with personal and professional problems. But what if there were 7 Habits of Highly Effective Business Owners? Habits, which if you adopted, could help you get extraordinary results?

Have you wondered why, in spite of your best efforts, you just can’t reach your goals or achieve the results you’re after?

What is it that successful small business owners do that makes them highly effective business owners? Are they better leaders, are they willing to take more risks or is it all down to sheer luck?

And, most importantly, is it possible to replicate their habits or is their success entirely unpredictable?

Being a successful highly effective business owner isn’t always intuitive. It requires a unique set of skills built over time and the capacity to learn new behaviors.

Here’s a look at the 7 habits I’ve come across with the clients I work with that has made them highly  effective business owners:

Habits of Highly Effective Business Owners #1: Start With Why

How come companies like Apple or leaders like Marin Luther King JR. were able to achieve great things, defying all our assumptions for what’s possible? How come they were so successful while others, with access to the same resources, failed miserably?

Author and motivational speaker, Simon Sinek, thinks he has the answer.

In his book, “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action”, Sinek explains the fundamental difference between great people/companies and everyone else. The difference, he says, is that successful people and business owners start with “why”.

To explain this concept, Sinek developed a principle, called The Golden Circle”. The golden circle has three layers: why, how and what. While most business owners know what they do and how they do it, very few know why they do what they do. They start with what the company does and move to how it does it, ignoring why the company exists in the first place.

Your “why” shouldn’t be about making money. If you think your company only exists to make profit, you are on the wrong path. Your why is your higher purpose to why people should care about what you do.  For more details read my post why every small business owner needs to start with why.

Habits of Highly Effective Business Owners #2: Make Time to Exercise

According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review, there is a clear connection between physical activity and work efficiency. When you exercise, you help the brain increase the productions of endorphins, a feel-good neurotransmitter that reduces the stress level in your organism. In addition, working out boosts your “self-efficacy”, building your confidence that you can get anything done.

Smart business owners recognize the importance of keeping both the mind and the body healthy. Blogger Ryan Battles wrote a great article/podcast on The perils of ignoring exercise as an entrepreneur.

Highly effective business owners understand that physical activity can help their minds relax and it can improve their ability to focus. Aside, exercising can boost their creativity and productivity, helping them achieve more in one hour than others in two.  Other than the health benefits there’s also business benefits who exercising can make you a better entrepreneur.

As small business owners, you should be aware of these facts and make time to exercise, regardless of how busy your days are.

Habits of Highly Effective Business Owners #3: Solve Problems by Listening

We live in a world that is more connected than ever, yet it seems that fewer people truly know how to communicate.

Highly effective business owners understand the value of genuine listening. They know that, in order to build relationships, solve problems, innovate and improve themselves and their company, they need to listen first and talk after. They listen to their customers, the industry and their employees with an open mind, always looking for innovative solutions. By listening, they are able to understand the market and create better products and services and solve the problems their costumers face.

If you want to improve your listening skills, here’s 10 steps to effective listening. 


Habits of Highly Effective Business Owners #4: Perfection is Unobtainable

Naturally, striving to achieve excellency isn’t a bad thing, but postponing an action just because it didn’t satisfy your unrealistically high expectations is a dangerous behavior, especially in the world of entrepreneurship.

As Deep Patel says, in Why Perfection Is The Enemy of Good it’s not about being perfect, it’s about getting it out the door and adjusting from there.

Highly effective business owners know that perfection is a myth, an unobtainable concept. So, instead of chasing a chimera, they focus on actually doing something. They don’t spend weeks trying to write the perfect pitch, or tens of years trying to develop the perfect product. They start by creating imperfect versions and work hard to improve them.

Habits of Highly Effective Business Owners #5: Take Risks, but Don’t Bet the Farm

For most, entrepreneurship is synonymous with “risk taking”. Every so often we’ve seen examples of people willing to take big risks in order to achieve great things. But, there is a difference between making a wise business decision and betting it all on one roll of the dice.

Sir Richard Branson, billionaire founder of the Virgin Group, said in R is for Risk taking:

“When it comes to committing to a risky decision, it’s important to make sure you’re taking a calculated risk – so if you fall flat on your face, you don’t take the whole company down with you. Business, after all, is like a giant game of chess: you have to make strategic moves, and learn quickly from your mistakes.”

Successful entrepreneurs are calculated risk takers. They never jump right in and don’t leave too much at chance. They understand that, in order to evolve and achieve success, you need to get out of the comfort zone. But, they do it through strategic planning, analyzing risks and anticipating mistakes.

Habits of Highly Effective Business Owners #6: Hang Out with Fellow Effective People

If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room”. You’ve probably heard this old saying before and it’s wildly applicable when it comes to being productive and working efficiently.

There’s a reason why highly effective business owners surround themselves with like-minded people. Even if they are the ones running the show, they know that the people they associate with, their mindset, attitude and lifestyle can influence their attitude and, eventually, their actions.

Jim Rohn motivational speaker famously said you’re the average of the 5 people you spend your time with.

The idea being that if you want to improve your lot and become a highly effective business owner you’ll need to spend time with those who have more knowledge and experience than you.

As a small business owner looking for ways to increase your effectiveness, you should be mindful about the people you choose to spend the majority of your time with. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, who inspire you and who bring the best out of you.

Habits of Highly Effective Business Owners #7: Don’t do everything by themselves

If you want to grow as a business owner, you need to understand that you can’t do everything by yourself. As much as you would like to get your hands into designing your company’s brochures, if you don’t know anything about graphic design, you should stick to what you know and do best and hire an expert to help you.

As an entrepreneur, you have to learn how to delegate. You can’t be in control of everything and you can’t do all by yourself. Trying to micro-manage every little thing isn’t only counterproductive, but also tiring. Successful business owners work with people they can trust, who can bring know-how to the table and work with them to grow the company.

If you want to learn to how to apply the habits of highly effective business owners and become one yourself, book a one hour consulting session.


Final thoughts

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