Sunday, March 11, 2012

Seven habits for small business success

One of the most popular self-help books of the past twenty years is Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The habits and principles that he describes in his book I believe are very relevant to anyone who wants to achieve small business success.

Let us briefly summarise the seven habits – which are a mixture of principles and paradigms that can become essential foundations for your own personal effectiveness in your business …
  • Habit 1: Be Proactive
Covey describes this as taking responsibility for your choices and the subsequent consequences that follow. Although you have been influenced by events and circumstances in your past, never-the-less you are now able to make your own decisions about the life that you want to lead as you look to the future. Give up making any excuses.
  • Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Determine and clarify those deeply important values and  core principles with which you wish to navigate  your life. Clearly envision the type of characteristics that you want to cultivate in all areas of your life – setting clear goals for yourself in business, health and relationships
  • Habit 3: Put First Things First
Plan, prioritize, and execute all of your week's tasks based on what is important rather than what is urgent. Evaluate whether your daily efforts and activities are aligned with your values. Regularly appraise whether what you are doing will advance you towards achievement of your goals. This self-discipline will help you prevent getting side-tracked or caught up in other people’s agendas or dramas
  • Habit 4: Think Win-Win
When differences with others arise, as they frequently do in both personal and business relationships - strive for mutually beneficial solutions when you are problem solving. Seek to negotiate outcomes that will work for the both of you. Value and respect people by understanding a "win" for the both of you will more likely lead to sustainable relationships.  
  • Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
When you genuinely listen to a person, so often this causes a natural reaction in them to  reciprocate by listening to you in return. Listening to other people with an open mind will build a foundation of respect and trust for any relationship you have with them – whether it is your partner, your customer or your supplier.
  • Habit 6: Synergise
Look for ways you can combine the strengths and skills of the different people in your business through positive teamwork. In doing so, you will be able to achieve goals that no single individual would have accomplished alone. Get the best performance out of a group of people by engaging them with meaningful opportunities to contribute and by displaying positive and encouraging leadership.
  • Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
You must develop ways of renewing your energy and ensuring that your lifestyle rejuvenates your spirit. A proper balance in your life, between work, rest and play is essential if you are going to enjoy the fruits of your labour. Personal growth, the achievement of your goals and long term success will come from the consistent application of your principles and healthy routines.

These habits may well provide you with seven of the keys needed for achieving success in your small business.
For many more great articles on self-improvement, visit Personal Development