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1. Be passionate about your product or service

It is not at all uncommon for many of us to hold jobs we don’t particularly like. After all, we may earn decent money and have a solid benefits package, and since it pays the bills, we soldier on.

You won’t be able to do that as a small business owner.

Your chances of succeeding as an entrepreneur will increase dramatically if you are passionate about the product or service you offer. You’ll be selling these products or services, everyday you're in business, and unless you have a strong desire to do so, it will just be a question of time before you will fail.

Before you even start a business, make sure you’re offering a product line that you believe in and that you feel good about selling to other people.

2. Provide a high level of service to your new bosses

When people contemplate going into business, one of the benefits they imagine is working for themselves. Wrong! You may no longer have a boss in the same sense as when you’re on a salary, but you will ultimately answer to your customers and clients.

You will need to provide a level of service that will keep your clientele coming back on a regular basis. Even more, you will want them to refer you to other potential customers so you can increase your business. This can be more difficult than trying to please a single boss.

They may not be able to direct your activities on a day-to-day basis, the way a traditional boss will, but your mission in your business will be keep them happy.

In a real way, you may be exchanging a single boss for five, 50 or 100 or more “bosses”. You'll improve your chances of succeeding if you get used to that idea early on.

3. Always be ready to sell (or market)

A lot of people don’t like to sell, which is why they work on a salary basis. But if you are going into your own business, you’ll need to get over that phobia in a real hurry.

When you go into business for yourself, you are two-parts salesman and one-part technician. You'll have to be selling all the time — that is how you will build your business.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to do “hard selling” in the manner of a car salesman, but you'll have to persuade prospective customers that you and your product line are what they need to buy.

4. Put the “80/20 rule” to work for you

When you have a traditional job, it’s quite possible to spend an entire day doing “busy work”. You will not have that luxury if you’re running your own business.

You’ve probably heard of the “80/20 rule” — which generally means that 80% of your production will come from 20% of your activities. You can count on that rule when you have your own business.

You may have 20 different significant responsibilities in running your business. But out of the 20, there are probably just four — 20% — that will produce the greatest amount of your income. Those are the activities that must command the bulk of your time.

That may be marketing, sales, purchasing significant inventory for your product line and closing sales. If most of your revenue is coming as a result of those activities, then that is where you need to spend most of your time. Any other allocation of time will be a recipe for failure.

5. Don’t get sidetracked

When you start your own business, you almost have to become single-minded. Your business and its success have to become your primary drivers in life. This is especially true when you’re first starting a business, and need to get it from 0 to 60 mph in as little time as possible.

This might mean that the coveted 40-hour work week will not exist in your life — that’s actually quite typical for business owners. You will have to be prepared to work 50, 60, 80 or even 100 hours per week — if that’s what it takes to get your business rolling.

Later on you may be able to pull back, especially if you can afford to hire employees. But until that time comes, you’ll have to be prepared to put in the time that is needed.

6. Never give up!

If there is one quality that separates business success stories from business failures, it's relentlessness. If you are going to start a business, you have to do what is necessary to make it succeed. You will face obstacles and there will be times when it looks like your business effort is a complete failure. That is exactly the time to not give up!

If you can keep pushing forward — no matter what — you will generally overcome whatever obstacles that confront you. Adopt the philosophy that you will never quit on yourself! If you can master that idea, you will at least double your chances of succeeding as a small business owner.

Further Reading: Best business checking accounts

Kevin Mercadante Freelance Contributor

Kevin Mercadante is professional personal finance blogger, and the owner of his own personal finance blog, OutOfYourRut.com.


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