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While every business owner has a unique way of doing things, certain skills and habits are almost a necessity for rising to the top, regardless of industry, product or service.
The habits of successful business owners go beyond a commitment to black turtlenecks, even though many of the world’s most iconic business minds have been notorious for their work uniforms. These habits are more like best practices for life, giving small but strategic advantages that make success a more likely outcome.
The good news is any of us can adopt these habits. The bad news, however, is that you might have to become a morning person.
Related: 12 Small Adjustments That Make the Difference Between Success and Failure in Every Aspect of Your Life
If more success is what you’re looking for, first look at how you run your business. After making any necessary changes, try incorporating one (or more) of these habits to give yourself even more of a competitive edge.
1. Wake up early.
I told you this was coming! But it’s worth it, I promise. Lots of successful people swear by waking up early and the benefits that it affords. That’s because when you give yourself more hours in the day, you don’t only gain more time to get work done, you also gain more time to get everything else done. For example, exercise (which is strongly correlated with success) or even just a relaxing morning routine can allow you to ease into the day instead of rushing out the door.
If you’re used to sleeping in, or if you don’t consider yourself a morning person, try using this simple hack: Put your alarm clock in another room that’s still close enough to hear. That way, you have to get up to turn it off, which will hopefully encourage you to stay up instead of hitting snooze and going back to bed.
2. Hire people who are smarter than you are.
Part of being successful is knowing what you do best — and what you don’t do best. All good business owners to admit they don’t know everything and hire people whose strengths complement their own. If you focus on hiring people who bring to the table skills you don’t, you’ll have coworkers you can rely on when things get tricky, plus lots of helpful learning opportunities.
To ensure you’re delivering on this, create a hiring process that’s effective at vetting candidates and enables your team to decipher which potential new hire will fit with your culture. Make sure you ask the right questions, and if necessary, ask for samples of their work so you can see just how effective they are at what they do.
Related: The Biggest Mistake You Can Make When Hiring for a Job (and How to Fix It)
3. Take an interest in finance.
You probably didn’t go into business for a love of balancing the books, but as a business owner, it’s crucial that you’re always apprised of the financial side of your enterprise. Even if you hire someone to be in charge of the numbers, paying attention to your business’s finances will lower your risk of unwanted surprises. It also ensures you always know where the money’s going and where it’s coming from.
So, be on the lookout for business financial tips that can get you up to speed on ways your company can stay lucrative. By taking an interest in your business’s financials, you’ll be more strategic with your decision-making and gain insight into your most lucrative practices and tactics. Then you can double down on those efforts instead of guessing and wasting money in the long run.
4. Keep track of ideas.
Long before digital notes apps, successful entrepreneurs were carrying around pocket notebooks and pencils to write down ideas as they appeared. You never know when the lightning flash of inspiration is going to strike, and just like lightning, your ideas can be forgotten as quickly as they appear. Write down all ideas, good and bad, and revisit your notes regularly to see what’s worth pursuing.
5. Be open to opportunity.
When the next door opens for you, will you be ready to jump through? Great business owners look for opportunities everywhere, whether that opportunity comes in the form of a new connection, a new idea or a new niche to explore. Keeping an eye out for opportunity means that you’re more likely to notice it when it appears.
Not all opportunities will hit you over the head or present themselves to you on a silver platter. Most require having an open mind and willingness to see things for what they can be instead of what they are.
Related: 5 Tips for Recognizing a Meaningful Business Opportunity When You See One
6. Have a helpful mindset.
Running a business requires taking responsibility for all facets of how that operates, even if you’re not the one on the ground getting the work done. Successful business owners lend help when and where it’s needed, without mind for whether it’s their direct responsibility or not. Being willing to lend a hand shows your employees that you’re committed to their individual success and the success of the business. It also goes a long way toward boosting and sustaining morale.
Even though business leaders are at the top of the chain, they aren’t in a playing field all their own. The best and most successful leaders aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and put in the hard work.
Related: Helpful Mindset Hacks for a Greater Life
7. Take time for non-work activities.
Hard work is critical for success, but so is balance. That’s why a work hard, play hard attitude is so common among business owners. From volunteering to video gaming, engaging in activities that feed your soul without any direct connection to your business is necessary to prevent burnout and stay motivated. Finding time for hobbies can make you a better entrepreneur. And who knows? You might even find your next great idea in the process.
It’s never too late to adopt new habits. While part of forging success means finding your own best way of doing things, there’s no underestimating the power of the habits listed above for spurring your success even further. Change up your way of doing things even slightly, and you might notice a significant boost in your productivity, your output and your ability to capture insight and inspiration.