16/03/2012

By Jon Smith, author of Smarter Business Start-Ups

To make your business a success you must present yourself as the best person for the job in everything that you do.

Having attitude does not only mean threatening behaviour, talking loudly about 9mm’s, driving erratically and wearing far too much gold — that’s just being silly. In business, attitude is all about having bags of confidence, not bling.

The image that all business owners must portray is confidence through their understanding of the business inside out. Customers, suppliers and investors will be far more likely to part with their money and products if they feel that they are giving them to a safe pair of hands.

As an owner of the business, it is your absolute responsibility to be aware of what it is your business is trying to achieve, how you will achieve it and your own ability to manage the process. It is imperative that you quickly show understanding rather than arrogance and that you are not caught out by questions that you should know the answer to.

Tempers will be tested to their limit both during the preparation for the business and once it is launched. After all, you and your staff’s livelihood is dependent on your business being successful; you should not be surprised if frustration shows at times.

How you deal with surprises, crises and setbacks often determines your worth as someone suitable to launch a business, much more than how you react to success. It is important to curb your anger whenever possible and show to others that you are the right person to make it all happen. There is nothing worse than people having rows in public — and remember, your business's premises are a public place.

When you are running your own business, certainly for the first few years of operation, you eat and sleep the business. There is no down time and the business will always be at the forefront of your mind. To make it harder, you will be expected to be on call by suppliers, customers and staff almost 24 hours a day, every day. Most people who start a new business find that they work far longer hours than they ever did when they were employees. Watch your diet and your health — you may need to take extra vitamins.

Learn to accept that this is going to be the norm and to truly make the business a success you must be in a position to field calls or emails at unsociable hours — you will be pushed and pulled from all directions, but if it works and the business begins to grow in momentum and size, you will soon be able to delegate these tasks to specific members of staff and reclaim a little piece of your life.

Try to be cheerful all the time — and mean it! Make people feel happy to be around you, whoever they are. Make sure that you, and everyone else in the business, is sensitive to the needs of people who come into your premises, whoever they are. Don’t let them stand around waiting while you fiddle with the photocopier, or worse, chat about the party last weekend. Be prompt, attentive and on the ball.

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