Most business owners will tell you that starting a business is both one of the most challenging and most rewarding ways to earn a living. Being a successful business owner requires a large amount of hard work and dedication, but also generally relies on a set of personal qualities and business practices that are common characteristics of successful entrepreneurs. These characteristics lie as much in a business’s founding principles as in its day-to-day operations and dictate every decision the entrepreneur makes. By following these guidelines, you can up your chances of founding a successful business or getting your existing business back on track, learn more from this Harold Matzner article.
Focus and Mindset
1Start a business that you’re passionate about and knowledgeable in. That knowledge can come from either prior work experience or a personal hobby that you’re ready to turn into a career. Even if a business idea seems highly profitable in theory, don’t start that business unless your heart is in it. While profit is important, it likely won’t keep you coming in early every day and driving growth. 
2Start with a well-defined purpose. While the financial benefits of business ownership can be great, most successful business owners don’t start with money in mind. To get your business off the ground, you’ll need a clear purpose. This purpose should be something more intangible than money, like giving back to your community by creating jobs, solving a problem that you see in your daily life, or pursuing a passion. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t also strive for profitability, just that your primary goal should be the achievement of a greater purpose.
- For example, imagine you have experience making coffee as a barista or waiter and want to turn your passion for good coffee into a small business. You would already know a good amount about the industry and be able to apply not only your knowledge but your passion to your work.
- For our coffee shop example, your purpose would be serving the perfect cup of coffee to every customer. Alternately, it could be to form a community in your coffee shop where people can meet and spend time with friends.
3Understand your customer. Before you get started, take some time to do market research and get to know your customers and your industry. The U.S. Small Business Administration provides a great deal of information on which services and products are in demand. You will also want to think about who will be buying your product or using your service and learn the best way to appeal to this population.
- With the coffee shop, ask yourself: Am I trying to appeal to “coffee snobs” who don’t mind waiting five minutes for their pour-over? Or is my focus on the people who are on their way to work and want to grab a cup and run? Or both? Understanding the people you plan to serve can help you serve them better.
4Find a first step instead of a destination. You should always start with a business model that can be up and running quickly on a low budget. Too many small businesses start with grandiose goals that will require a large amount of startup capital and investors. However, successful businesses will have a model that can be used on a smaller scale. This proves to potential investors that your idea is a valid way of making money, and increases your odds of ever getting investment money (if that’s what you’re looking for).
- For example, imagine that in our example, you want to start a large operation that sources, imports, roasts, and packages its own coffee beans that are then either sold or served to customers at its coffee shops. Rather than seeking huge contributions from investors to buy all of this equipment, you should start with a small coffee shop first, then maybe try sourcing and importing beans, and work up from there to build a brand.