By Rieva Lesonsky
What do successful entrepreneurs have in common? What do they do that struggling entrepreneurs don’t? If only we could find the magic formula, we imagine, we could be just as successful too.
Well, while there’s no magic formula to ensure business survival, a recent study, Xero’s Make or Break report, surveyed over 2,000 entrepreneurs to see what those who succeed did differently than those who failed in common. Here’s a closer look at what they discovered.
- Successful business owners make time for a personal life. Despite the stereotype of the hard-driving entrepreneur who works 24/7 and sleeps under his desk, the reality of entrepreneurial success is far different. Almost six out of 10 survey respondents (58 percent) believe spending time with their families in the evenings is critical to their success in business, and 53 percent say it’s important to keep their weekends free for family time.
- Successful business owners focus on managing finances. The most common business issue causing business failure among entrepreneurs in the survey was financial mismanagement leading to problems such as poor cash flow or lack of access to capital. Take the time to learn the basics of bookkeeping—even if you’re not the one managing your money, you still need to know the essential principles so you can keep an eye on whoever is. Today’s small business accounting software greatly simplifies accounting processes that used to take hours, so be sure to tap into this valuable tool. Almost six out of 10 successful small businesses say they use software to manage their money. In contrast, just 14 percent of failed businesses do.
- Successful business owners are willing to invest in improving their businesses. Successful small business owners don’t scrimp when it comes to putting money back into their companies. In addition to installing small business accounting software, other areas where successful entrepreneurs see fit to spend include marketing/advertising and improving customer service.
- Successful business owners understand the power of technology. A whopping 86 percent of successful entrepreneurs in the survey say they use technology to make their companies more productive. The most popular type of technology: business apps, used by nearly half (49 percent). Nearly one-third (32 percent) use mobile payment technology, while more than one-fourth (26 percent) use business planning tools. In addition, successful small business owners use technology to balance their business and personal lives. Although they greatly value their family and personal time, only 29 percent turn off their smart phones and/or laptops outside of business hours.
- Successful business owners are not afraid to ask for help. Successful entrepreneurs in the study actively enlist the support of a supportive network that includes family members, accountants, advisors and mentors. One-third of successful entrepreneurs say they have relied on business mentors, compared to just 14 percent of respondents whose businesses had failed. Apparently, the saying “it takes a village” applies to businesses as well as to raising children.
How many of these success habits have you implemented in your business and your life? How successful is your business?