strong-business-owner-trarits|Photo Courtesy ofDepositphotos.com companies and individuals always find ways to stand out. So what sets the best businesses apart? While strong small business owners don’t share a common formula, they do share seven distinguishing habits, according to an article on the Forbes Magazine website.

Everyone can learn something from these habits, not just the executives. Managers, employees and entrepreneurs can all benefit by using these ideas and actions to improve their skills and value in the workforce.

  1. Let organization set you apart: Even the most innovative ideas falter without follow-through. Staying organized helps set your business apart, especially when it comes to sales leads and communications. When competitors fumble, potential customers will notice that you stick to your meetings, deadlines and business plan.
  2. Nurture your relationships: Don’t stay chained to your desk. Instead, invite clients out to dinner and call them just to check in. It’s also important to spend time with your associates, keeping up with important milestones in their careers as well as their personal lives.
  3. Lay the groundwork for good decision-making: Small business owners must be decisive, and you can make better decisions and mediate disagreements more effectively when you understand the needs and perspectives of the different departments within your company. If you find you disagree with the finance department, for example, having a basic understanding of their priorities helps you establish empathy and good lines of communication.
  4. Streamline and re-assess: Time, energy and financial resources are finite, so distributing yours as efficiently as possible can put you ahead of competitors. You’ll want to trim waste, naturally, but you may find it more productive to seek out undervalued areas in your business. For example, perhaps you’re underfunding a marketing campaign, and you could spend a little more to get a little more. If you look at it that way, cutting the fat will happen naturally.
  5. Look forward: The best small business managers are pioneers and are willing to take chances, according to the Forbes article. They are always looking for new ways to accomplish things, even seemingly small improvements.
  6. Take care of yourself: Your most valuable business tool is your mind. Maintaining it requires making time for healthy habits and physical exercise.
  7. Have a life outside of work: A balanced life with a variety of interests helps maintain your focus and energy. Focusing solely on your job and working long hours might seem desirable, but nothing kills productivity like burnout.

Trying to define “leadership” is difficult. Instead of vaguely telling people how to become better leaders, these seven habits offer a clear path and detailed steps to follow.

Which of these habits do you think would be most helpful in managing your business? What actions could you take today to start building a new habit? Share your advice below!

Source: Forbes Magazine, February 2013

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