happy business owners

Optimism among small business owners is at its highest point in seven years, according to a recent poll by the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index. Among the reasons for the spike: increases in revenue, hiring, cash flow and access to credit.

Lisa Stevens, head of small business for Wells Fargo, said this about the positive results that many small businesses experienced last year, according to Business Wire: “With the economy improving every day, many business owners are seeing stronger revenues, and are feeling a renewed sense of confidence and expecting an even better year ahead.”

So, what to do with all that optimism? Here are some tips and techniques to maximize and enhance the good vibes.

Take the next step

An optimistic small business owner will naturally want to explore ways to achieve more. That may come in the form of upgrading materials or technology or even increasing staff. Bill Clanton, who describes himself as a glass-half-full kind of guy, explores this in a story for sbaloanstoday.com. “Whatever that movement is for your company, relate it in terms of the return on your investment,” he says. His three examples:

  • “Will more or better equipment improve my ability to create inventory, therefore securing larger orders?”
  • “Will a new facility allow our company to be more efficient in our operations or allow for expansion?”
  • “Will improved technology (new computers, better website, more robust back-end systems, etc.) enable increased efficiencies so that we can make more/do more?”

C’mon, get happy

Success is often tied to positivity, Jen Groover tells entrepreneur.com, so keep that mojo working. “There often are just too many obstacles facing business owners to let negativity get in the way,” she says. Here are three of her recommendations to stay in that positive frame of mind:

  • “Train your brain to see the good in what happens so you can learn from your setbacks.”
  • “Make these lessons a learning tool to help you forge forward.”
  • “Surround yourself with positive people and draw inspiration from how they’ve overcome challenges in their lives.”

Be prepared

The old Boy Scout pledge applies to small business owners, too, and planning ahead allows for optimism to thrive, as Rieva Lesonsky writes for smallbiztrends.com.

“Small business owners have to live with uncertainty, that’s the nature of the beast,” she says. “You’ll never be able to be 100 percent certain of your income. But then, neither will the average corporate employee, right? The difference is that you have the ability to take matters into your own hands. Take steps to feel more secure by figuring out how to put money away both for short-term needs (like a sales slump) and for your future. Meet with a financial adviser and talk to your accountant if you haven’t already.”

Be gracious and build relationships

The headline for this Forbes story makes it plain: “Being an optimist about your business is not being a fool.” The story by Elisa Doucette goes on to defend the optimistic small business owner, saying, “If you can’t be optimistic about your business, who else is going to be?”

Among her recommendations to “optimize your optimism” are writing down things to be grateful for each day. “Not only does this get you in the habit of focusing on positive things,” she says, “it allows you to end your day with good thoughts.”

And she emphasizes that the people around you are a reflection of your own goals and approach: “If you want to be successful, find other successful friends and peers. If you want to be challenged, find people who are competitive enough to challenge you. If you want to be a happy person, find other happy people.”