This piece was originally published on Entrepreneur.
Passion, motivation, persistence and a little bit of luck all play a part in separating the successful business owners from the ones who aren’t so fortunate. But, what makes some business owners super successful? They possess the following eight habits:
1. They’re up before sunrise.
Successful business owners and leaders are known to arise early in order to catch that proverbial worm. But, they don’t just wake-up early. They wake-up long before the sun rises. The reason? It gives them time to respond to emails, catch-up on the news or workout. Research has found early risers are more productive and happier.
Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter and Square, and Kara Goldin, the founder of Hint Water, are just two examples of successful people who wake-up early.
2. They’re not afraid of competition.
Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group, has said, “If you want to be successful in business, you need to welcome your competition with open arms – just don’t let them walk all over you. Strike the right balance between respecting your rivals and focusing on how you can beat them, and you’ll have a winning formula.”
That explains why Branson had lunch with a rival. Branson told the Wall Street Journal;
“I’ve always believed in befriending your enemies. Years ago British Airways went to extraordinary lengths to put us out of business. After the court case, I rang up Sir Colin Marshall, who ran BA, and said, “would you like to come out for lunch?” I think he wondered why on earth I was doing it. But we had a delightful lunch at my house in London and became friends and buried the hatchet.”
3. They welcome harmless distractions.
Business owners need some time to decompress, recharge and sometimes master a repetitive task. Not only does this help them work on practicing incremental development, it’s a good distraction that will free your mind. Instead of being stuck on a problem, partaking in a harmless distraction gets the creative juices flowing. That’s why Bill Gates would spend his lunch breaks playing card games like Bridge.
4. They know to compensate for their weaknesses.
According to Barry Conchie, co-author of Strengths Based Leadership; “The great leaders we’ve studied are not well-rounded individuals. They have not become world-class leaders by being average or above-average in different aspects of leadership. They’ve become world-class in a relatively limited number of areas of leadership. They’ve recognized not only their strengths but their deficiencies, and they’ve successfully identified others who can help them compensate for those deficiencies.”
5. They’re generous.
Have you ever noticed that the best business owners are very generous? This doesn’t always have to be with money but can be with time, connections or even simply encouraging others. Learning to give back is an important step that I’ve learned in my life that has helped me to connect with some of the most amazing people on this planet. It’s also helped my business more than I had ever imagined.
6. They mostly say “no.”
Business owners have to play nice with vendors and customers, but that doesn’t necessarily make them “yes men.” As Warren Buffett has famously said, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say, “no,” to almost everything.”
7. They don’t waste time with small decisions.
Business owners know how to stay mentally and emotionally sharp throughout the day; they don’t waste their time making small, trivial and unimportant decisions. That’s why Zuckerberg has a wardrobe that essentially only contains gray t-shirts and hoodies. It’s also why Tim Ferriss eats the same breakfast every day.
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8. They have a life outside of their business.
John Jantsch, founder of Duct Tape Marketing, has stated that this is a common trait he’s noticed among his fellow business owners. According to John, “These days you can run your entire business without actually interacting with other human beings, but human beings need to interact in order to live. If you’re to grow, feel, learn and understand you’ve got to get out of the office. Go to a conference, grab coffee with a customer, mingle with people who are weird (your definition.) It’s how you find strategic partners, new perspectives and opportunities to learn and grow.”