3 personal skills you need if you want to make your small business a success

By Henry Brown

When contemplating what goes into making a business successful, it’s easy to get caught up in all the purely technical dimensions of running a business, stuff related to financial management, and so on.

Ultimately, though, any business you are running – and especially if it’s a small start-up – is going to depend first and foremost on your own personal traits, skills, and perspectives. After all, for finances to be worth anything, the person managing them needs to have a few things in order.

Here are a few personal skills you need to develop if you want to make a success of your small business.

-Managing stress and regaining your composure in a balanced and sustainable way

Entrepreneurs are famously known for being highly strung workaholics, but while it’s true that you will likely need to work a considerable number of hours each week to get your business thriving, it’s by no means necessary for you to live in a state of severe, chronic stress.

In fact, scientific research has shown that chronic stress ends up diminishing performance in a whole range of different areas, reducing cognitive function, and decreasing resilience (even with regards to the immune system).

When you’re still working for someone else, your best ally against careless employers may be legal representation, but once you’re out on your own, your best ally against stress as an entrepreneur is a healthy set of coping mechanisms.

To make it as an entrepreneur, you will need to develop effective systems for managing and limiting your stress, and regaining your composure in a balanced and sustainable way. That means things like effective dietary management and meditation, as opposed to self-medication.

-Establishing order and holding yourself to your own deadlines and structures

When you’re working in a conventional job, you benefit from the fact that the “structure” of things is largely going to be established by your environment, your managers, the culture of the company itself, and so on.

In other words, you won’t have to manage everything by yourself.

As a small business owner, however, you absolutely need to develop the skill of establishing order over your surroundings (and your schedule) and holding yourself to your own deadlines and self-imposed structures. Being disorganised, and giving in to procrastination, will only lead you away from success.

-The ability to put action over endless introspection

If you’re a small business owner – and especially if you happen to be working alone, from home – it can be very easy to get completely caught up in endless introspection, and cycles of overthinking, before committing to any particular professional action.

While it’s good to getting your bearings before you act, successful entrepreneurs are always people who put action ahead of endless introspection. You need to get used to getting out of your own head, making things happen, assessing the results, and taking action again.

This way you will “fail forward” and will also maintain enough momentum that your own doubts and insecurities don’t end up sabotaging you.


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop, he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

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