Everyone wants to know the secrets to succeeding in business. Most agree hard work and intelligence are a given. But what about those attributes that cannot be taught in school or by working long hours?
Entrepreneurs are a breed who typically embody qualities that make up a successful business person. They tend to be risk-takers, passionate, altruistic and confident. They avoid getting stuck in a rut. Entrepreneurs turn what other see as obstacles in to challenges, and ultimately, opportunities. They are relentlessly positive.
In addition to possessing some of these qualities, entrepreneurs usually have a rule, philosophy or ritual they live and breathe each day. This can be anything from beginning the day in a positive way to how they treat anyone the come into contact with. As an entrepreneur myself, I have learned the importance of working “on” my business and not just “in” the business. By this I mean you must treat your business like we treat our clients and must make time to focus on our strategic planning and growth.
Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), a leading professional organization designed to offer entrepreneurs additional resources, support and collaboration, has an extremely successful Arizona chapter. Some of our state’s most recognized small business owners are EO Arizona members, ranging from well-known restaurateurs to real estate moguls.
What are their secrets to success? Here is insight from EO Arizona’s most established entrepreneurs (hint: Their habits are less about what you know and more about achieving the right mindset):
Paul Dembow, Arizona Natural Resources, Inc.
I wake up early everyday and meditate for 15 minutes with positive thoughts and deep breathing. I exercise for an hour, then start my business day. I also study, read, research, etc. but the mental attitude that my morning routine gives me is the winning edge. Attitude is everything!
Dan Sager, Civil Search International
If I hold myself 100 percent accountable for all my work/relationship problems, then all issues can be quickly rectified.
Derek Greene, Get Your Move On
The most impactful habit I have practiced is meditation. With this hour of “me” time, I afford myself the time to enjoy a calm cup of coffee, read the news online, do a brain teaser and most importantly sit quietly for 10 to 12 minutes and breathe. I do not miss a day most months and I do the same thing before bed. I find myself, among many other things, as serene as I have ever been in my life.
Max Hansen, Y Scouts and Job Brokers, Inc.
The rule I live by that has been a big contributor toward my success is summed up in a quote by Theodore Roosevelt. “People don’t care about what you know, until they know about how much you care.” As with anything in life and business, people follow people they trust and care about them. Once you genuinely care, you just have to show them and tell them.
Robert Clinkenbeard, Integrated Landscape Management
Discipline is one of my biggest rules in business which also translates into my Ironman training. Unless you have a vision or goal, develop a plan and have the discipline to execute day after day then it is very easy to become distracted, lose focus and not achieve anything. Every year I prepare my business and personal goals for the year ahead and then every month and week I review them and figure out how I am going to execute them.
Steve Levine, Steve LeVine Entertainment
At Steve LeVine Entertainment and Public Relations, we have 2 rules that we use in our office on a daily basis.
1. Never assume anything. When we assume we are taking a chance to get something wrong. If we never assume, and double check our work, we are less likely to have mistakes and the final product is always better.
2. Take responsibility for your actions. If you know and admit your mistakes, I have found that this helps future mistakes. Also, a client wants to hear us take responsibility rather than pass the blame on to someone else.
Jonathan Rosenberg, Levrose Commercial Real Estate
Over the years, I have learned when to say “yes” and when to say “no”. When I was younger, I said “yes” to every client or potential business opportunity and soon found that it was impossible to be as effective when trying to please everyone. Determining where to draw the line between these two responses has allowed much greater focus and clarity.
Every business person is different and their own personal formula for success depends on so much more than one daily ritual or philosophy. But, by using the advice from the above local entrepreneurs as a starting point, you are sure to be on the right path.
David Anderson is the communications chair for Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Arizona chapter, a professional group of Arizona’s most successful entrepreneurs. He is also the managing partner and CEO of Off Madison Ave + SpinSix, a marketing and communications firm in Phoenix.