What’s involved to be a successful business owner? What differentiates the entrepreneurs who are successful from all the rest? What exactly is success?
We’ve seen over the years that certain factors such as leadership, balance between risk-taking aversion and tolerance, and graceful adaption to change are key success traits for entrepreneurs in any business segment.
Which of the 3 success traits is the most critical for gaining the competitive business advantage?
“Isn’t it true that risk-taking and adaptability go hand-in-hand? It is always a little scary to delve in to the unknown, but the rewards could be so worth it,” writes CPA Jennifer L. Todd at her Mastering Business blog.
In other-words CPA Todd isn’t advocating unnecessary risk, she is whole-heartedly telling us to get out of our comfort zone now and learn the new emerging technologies and applications that are improving efficiencies and giving smart business owners a discernible advantage. (See also: The New Chunkified Lego Masters)
Entrepreneurs should stay actively abreast of the latest technologies and tools available for research, customer relationship management and improving efficiency of operations. Best of all, many of these tools are free or otherwise a nominal financial factor given the value of increased efficiency that can be readily attained.
Jennifer Todd continues –
I have met many business owners who were successful despite their “old school” mentality, but in today’s marketplace, “old school” is the kiss of death. What worked 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago, okay even 5 years ago does not work today. Retail businesses are probably the most at-risk for becoming victim to operational obsolescence especially with the rise of e-business. Brick and mortars can no longer compete on price because many on-line competitors have much less overhead. Brick and mortars must then compete on customer service, you know, the personal attention that is very tough to mimic in an on-line environment (unless you are zappos.com of course). But I digress…another blog topic for another day.
So where does leadership come in to play in all of this? True leaders are going to be willing to embrace new ways of carrying out operations, new innovations, new ways to connect with their customers. They will be willing and able to invest the time to learn about trends and ways to capture essential operational information (think business intelligence, again, another topic for another day).
In planning a business venture, it is essential to build in to the prospective operating budget the estimated costs of investing in innovation (whatever that may mean for the industry). In addition to the obvious expenditures, such as future IT needs and research marketing, the budget should also include the cost of the owner’s time spent keeping up to date with industry developments and best practices. These types of intangibles are often difficult to allow in to a budget but they could mean the difference between mediocrity and competitive excellence.