Here I explore 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 things every successful business owner must have.
How many key things for business success can you tick off?
This is a simple and quick way to establish what is missing and where to start on my business mastermind group with my courses, done for you service and coaching.
I’ve coached over 10,000 business owners, professionals and those responsible for new business and I’ve noticed some key things they all have or gain.
So, I thought I’d share the recipe to becoming a successful business owner so you can make more money, more sales, work less hours and love your business. Ready to see where you could create improvements?
As you work through these don’t forget that they overlap and it’s not enough to be resilient but for instance lack confidence or marketing skills. So, you are looking to have a good score across all elements of this recipe.
As you read, score yourself out of 10. 1 being “Oh, Mandie it’s disastrous!” and 10 being “Mandie I’m so proud to say I rock this!” and if you do rock, it then add it to your “Why I’m Awesome” list – Insiders* know I expect them all to know this, and it features in the confidence course too.
Five Traits of a Successful Business Owner:
1. Resilience: Even successful business owners face numerous challenges and setbacks. Resilience allows them to bounce back from failures, learn from mistakes, and keep pushing forward despite obstacles. When others saw the pandemic, successful business owners didn’t sit back and exclaim “Oh why us!” they looked to understand how to bounce back. In the pandemic I helped hundreds of business owners and professionals create new products and services and work out how to work remotely. Those that were resilient to the tough times not only survived the pandemic, they also are now thriving more with higher profit margins thanks to their resiliency. If you feel you lack this or aren’t as resilient as you’d like (Or you’ve a member of staff who is all doom and gloom) check this course out.
2. Visionary Leadership: Those that I see thrive are amazing at seeing their vision. They can tell me what year they will reach each goal. They know what their business looks like, where it’s going, why and how. Having a clear vision and the ability to communicate that vision to your staff, suppliers and customers is vital for success. Visionary leaders inspire and motivate their employees to work towards common goals. Suppliers can’t wait to help you achieve your goals and customers want to work with just you because passion and enthusiasm is infectious. So, it’s imperative that you can do this (however please note without many skills you could still be falling short!)
3. Adaptability: If the pandemic did something positive it was showcasing to our members of my mastermind group how adaptable they could be. We had business owners diverse into new businesses that are now bigger than their old businesses! We have business owners that adapted so fast they didn’t just keep their customers they grew their customer base and rocketed their profits. The business landscape is constantly changing, and successful business owners are adaptable to market shifts, customer needs, and emerging technologies. They are open to new ideas and are willing to pivot when necessary. Did you know in my mastermind group we are already talking 2025 trends and how our members can take advantage of these.
4. Decision-Making Skills: Making informed and timely decisions is critical in business. Successful owners can gather relevant information, analyse options, and make confident choices for the benefit of the company, employees, boss and even the planet! And I honestly think that this is a skill that anyone can learn. There’s a ton of research that’s been carried out on the power of gut instinct. It’s a key ingredient in my view that overlaps with so many others. When others tell you to do this and that, you will have the skill to ask yourself if their advice matches up to your goals, ambitions, skills, experiences, beliefs and desired outcomes. All too often people will say don’t do something because they worry about you or do this because they want you to spend money with them. I’ve literally talked people out of coaching because I could see with their small budget the mastermind group and my courses could deliver more to them quicker than coaching would. Learning the ability to trust your ability to make the right decision is essential.
Empathy: If I’d have suggested this even 5 years ago, I think many would have looked at me with that “She’s a bit woo woo for us!” We’ve changed a lot in business over the last 4 years and I think that change is still evolving. Smart business owners know this and take full advantage. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings, perspectives, and needs of others, including employees, customers, and suppliers and even family and friends. It involves actively listening to stakeholders, being attuned to their concerns, and considering their feedback and experiences when making decisions.
Having empathy as a core trait allows a business owner to build strong relationships with employees, suppliers, lenders, and customers alike. Really understanding the needs and preferences of your customers, you can tailor products and services to meet their demands. Your customers feel appreciated, respected and valued and a loyal customer is worth a fortune!
Empathy also fosters a positive and supportive work environment, encouraging employee satisfaction, productivity, and loyalty. It’s been proven that employees aren’t looking for employee of the month and a good salary is not enough anymore. Employees want to be valued and appreciated. When I ask in team coaching what would help (if there is no money available)? And the answer is always “it would be great if they said thank you.” You can’t know what your employees/customers/suppliers etc need unless you listen to them!
Empathetic business owners tend to be more effective communicators and can resolve conflicts more constructively. This trait helps business owners connect with their team, foster trust, and inspire cooperation, leading to improved collaboration and overall company success.
With empathy, a business owner can create a more inclusive and caring culture, driving customer loyalty and attracting talented employees who appreciate working for a compassionate and understanding leader.
Four Skills of a Successful Business Owner:
Confidence: My mastermind group know I often say “I can build you the best business plan, the finest marketing strategy, the greatest action but if you lack confidence then you will damage your success. I’ve seen it thousands of times. And it’s not just about confidence, it’s about internal confidence. A version of confidence that is not knocked by rejection or a bad day. It’s one of the reasons I wrote the confidence course because I’ve seen business owners increase sales and profit margins without any alteration to their marketing strategy, products or services. We have only altered their internal confidence levels. Amazing right?
Sales and marketing: Understanding marketing strategies, branding, and sales techniques is vital for attracting customers and growing the business. It’s amazing how many business owners are reliant on just a few routes to market that aren’t delivering the results the business needs to be truly viable. What’s your skill level like in this area? I think of all the topics we discuss in the Insiders this is possibly the most regular conversation. And please remember there is a difference between sales and marketing and while they overlap massively. You need to appreciate the difference, because you could find you rock at one but not the other and that’s the issue you are struggling with.
Powerful Communication: Business owners must communicate clearly and effectively with new leads, employees, customers, suppliers, lenders, journalists and other stakeholders. Good communication creates a positive work environment and strong business relationships.
Successful business owners need to be able to negotiate deals with suppliers, partners, and customers to achieve favourable outcomes and not working for free – I often see business owners who hate their profit margins and it’s often for this reason.
I also see overworked leaders who end up taking on too much and not delegating enough. It’s often related to how they see themselves and how they fear people will perceive them, however with powerful communication you can have tough conversations without the stress. I wrote this article about difficult conversations because one client who was the boss and leader of 20 people realised, they worried far too much about everyone else and their lack of powerful communication was literally making them ill as well as impacting on profits and new opportunities. https://www.mandieholgate.co.uk/10-steps-to-winning-difficult-conversations-the-ones-you-really-dont-want-to-have/
Negotiation skills help in getting the best deals and maintaining healthy business relationships. (See how all the ingredients overlap? Imagine amazing communication but lousy confidence levels? How would you communicate what your business can do for customers if you lack the confidence to pick up the phone or network?!)
Financial Management: Proficient financial management skills are essential for understanding the company’s financial health, making budgetary decisions, and planning for growth. Would you like to know a secret? Having hosted thousands of events for business owners and professionals from every industry you can imagine STILL to this day the least popular mastermind session is “Know your Numbers”! People hate talking about money. They hate negotiating the price and hate looking at the bank account.
Insiders have accessed to some awesome tools to help them love their numbers. If you are a member and haven’t already, look up Mandie’s Profit Calculator and the Sales Mountain. Both great for knowing your numbers and how to generate more income.
Three Beliefs of a Successful Business Owner:
Belief in Their Vision: Hand on heart tell me you believe in yourself. Tell me if we were in the same room and I was hosting a success day you would have no issue in saying to 10 other business owners “My name is ……………and I’m epic at …………” If the answer is no, then I’ve found you an essential ingredient missing which could make you more successful. Winning business owners strongly believe in their vision and the value of their products and services. This conviction drives them to persevere and convince others of their business’s potential. They believe they will succeed. They believe it is in their ability to make money and be profitable. Do you?
Embrace of Innovation: I think there is a big difference between focused and single minded. I often see business owners as coaching clients who are missing out because they hold fast to old beliefs that aren’t serving them well. If I hear;
- We’ve always done it like that.
- It is what it is.
- That can’t be changed.
Helping business owners to embrace innovation and how to bring new ideas and technologies to their businesses can be amazing. Long before anyone else was talking about AI, we had one of the top digital agency experts deliver a talk on the power (and risks) of AI in small businesses. And the best bit, is that webinar is still available on our mastermind group so business owners can watch again any time. A belief in innovation, challenging old beliefs and questioning what you believe and its value to you is essential to a successful business. It helps you stay competitive and meet changing market demands.
Keep learning: Successful business owners have a growth mindset and continuously seek knowledge and self-improvement. They invest in personal and professional development to enhance their skills and leadership abilities. I once heard a business owner say they wouldn’t attend one of my events because “they’d heard a talk on marketing” I could hear a thousand experts talk about how to gain more business and I’d still want to hear a thousand more! Are you keen to learn or are you slipping into a belief that you know everything you need to know? One saying we love at the Insiders is “You don’t know what you need to know.” It’s another why the Insiders is very popular as we are always talking to each other, because we are constantly looking to learn and assess what we believe to be true. I created this page for the Insiders https://www.thebusinesswomansnetwork.co.uk/business-wants-needs-have-tos/ and think I will be updating it until the day I sell The BWN!
Two to Outsource to be a successful Business Owners:
When I think back to when I set up The Business Womans Network in 2009 to now. The wealth of apps, platforms and support we have is remarkable! Being an early adopter to many things I’ve found essential and others a drain on my precious time. Don’t go with the crowd and sign up to everything. I am to this day not on TikTok (Mainly because I wanted my grown-up children to have one platform, they’d not see me popping up on! I once shared my sons post and it went from 32 likes on Twitter to thousands in less than 24 hours. Do what’s right for you and the ingredients to your successful business.
As a rule if you repeat something, if you do something without thinking about it, if you do something that doesn’t lead to new business or a sale then it can be outsourced, automated or employed to be done by someone else and that means you can increase your profitability. So, consider where you spend your time. Many business owners miss out on growth because they insist on doing it all! I appreciate your budget may be small however personally I’d never scrimp on these.
I long ago ensured my business model had as little paper and admin as possible to maximise on my time, so while my accounts may be a breeze to complete. They take me less than a day to finish expenditure and income reports for my accountant. I still use an accountant, why? Because in business there is so much to know and like the next thing, I will never do in business I rely on experts who are trained to keep any eye on the changes that are brought in. Every year my accountant saves me money as they know what I can claim for (and what I can’t claim for!) And that feeling of security that they will talk to HRMC for me is priceless!
I employ Adavista’s Robyn Banks (Yes, really her name!) to do all my data protection policies and if I need legal advice, I only use approved suppliers for Insiders. It’s not worth the stress. Yes, you could have a go at making your contracts, however our employment law members, data protection experts and solicitors all have horror stories that should ensure you never consider it again. Know when to invest and why. It can save you a lot of grief, stress and money.
One last Thing:
I could include so many ingredients to help you be the successful business owner you want (and deserve) to be however I will leave you with one that in actual fact is not essential. Many will tell you that you need to follow your passion, however I’ve seen people who had zero passion for what they were doing, however they were passionate about the money it would create and the outcome that money would provide. Passion is an amazing way of staying positive of ensuring you keep going and getting to your end goal; however, you could argue that you would define that as something else entirely.
For me passion is essential it is even in my tagline and mission statement because I genuinely as passionate about your success as you are. And that is a saying people have often said to me. For me it defines me. It is what I do and what I am. When I turned my phone off for a month and went on holiday I missed 3 things – my dog, my bath and Insiders! I genuinely adore being with business owners, inspiring them, picking them up when they are low and helping them find the solution, they need for themselves, customers, business and/or staff. Is it work? Not to me, it’s joyous! It’s my rocket fuel!
What is your driving passion, what is your big reason why because I’d say without it the recipe to business success is missing a key ingredient. It’s the difference between a cake from Aldi and a cake made with the finest ingredients in the world. Both cakes, but the experiences would be incredibly different!
If you would like to test your score. You can complete this very quick quiz to find out how highly (or not!) you score as a successful business owner. Do you have everything it takes to make it a reality?
The organisation I talk about (The Insiders) Is my business growth mastermind and networking organisation. It is populated by business owners, professionals, sales staff, charities and those with a side business and I’d love to welcome you. Despite being connected to The Business Womans Network, we now have as many men as members as women!