The personal qualities make a difference

Michelle Di Gangi
Posted by Michelle Di Gangi
Small Business Banking

I really love the wisdom that often emerges from communities of small business owners talking about their experiences – there’s always something in those experiences that can help us all.

Male small business owner with his young blond son amid bunches of growing greens as they inspect the plants' progress.I see it every year when we get the results from our annual Small Business Growth Survey. In this year’s survey we learned several wise insights as respondents answered this question: “Thinking about your experience as a small business owner, what advice would you give to a new small business owner?”

The answers may surprise you, especially if you expect that most of their tips will be based on financials or business strategy. What became clear is that they believe confidence and passion drive success – perhaps even more so than traditional business smarts.

Our survey respondents most frequently selected these five tips as the words of wisdom they would offer to new small business owners:

  • Make time for your family (62%)
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help (58%)
  • Separate your business finances from your personal finances (57%)
  • Stay objective; don’t take things personally (55%)
  • Be a lifelong learner (54%)

On a similar note, we asked small business owners their views on the essential ingredients for success, and some of the most common answers were passion for work (70%) and self-confidence (64%). These were more frequently cited than having a clear vision for the business’s future (49%) or offering an innovative product or service (38%).

It’s a simple lesson, but the survey results back it up: Who you are and how you act can work to your advantage when it comes to the success of your business. I’ve seen that tenacity, charisma, and determination are some of the qualities that push many businesses into high gear.

My colleague Don Mercer wrote about another personal quality that may help small business owners: enthusiasm. It’s another perspective on having passion for one’s work, and I think it fits well with the themes that have emerged from this year’s survey.

For more on the survey results, see my previous post, “Attitude check: Small business owners say it’s all worth it,” or the full report summary.

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