Recently, I had the pleasure of a quick chat with one of my favorite go-to’s, who shared with me that she was celebrating the 40th anniversary of her business. This sparked a conversation about what differentiates those of us who have staying power from those whose ventures are short-lived.
So what are the keys to a sustainable and vibrant independently-owned business?
1. Bring your “A+” game every day. There are no bad days when you’re self-employed. Your clients and your reputation depend on you bringing your best to every conversation, meeting, retreat, etc. Regardless of your track record and experience, make every interaction count.
2. Be relevant. Are you aware of the latest trends and newest thinking in your field? Do you demonstrate an understanding of the changing landscape for your business area? Do your clients feel you have an appreciation for the context and climate in which they operate? Does your business evolve to ensure you are responding to these trends and contextual changes?
3. Keep it fresh. A healthy restlessness and a commitment to continuous learning and self-improvement are great attributes for the successful business owner. Do you come across as high-energy and enthusiastic? Do you provide your clients/customers with new thinking, new approaches, new products that demonstrate your commitment to continuous change? Do they learn something when they’re with you? Do they feel like spending time with you is time well spent?
4. Work hard. Nothing substitutes for hard work. Those of us who have been running our own businesses are not afraid of devoting 24/7 to our work when necessary. Our clients/customers know that we are always accessible, responsive and reliable.
5. Love what you do. Do your clients and customers feel that you are truly engaged and committed to serving them with excellence? If you are genuinely dedicated to the work that you do, this commitment will be translated to your clients, customers and colleagues. It’s inspiring to be with someone who transmits a love of her work and instills this love into every dimension of her client/customer experience.
Congratulations and Happy 40th Anniversary to Toby Dondis (www.tobydondis.com)!
We want to hear from you. Let us know what you think are the keys to a sustainable and successful independently-owned business.
Lisa Hills is an organizational strategist and workplace expert who has been the principal of a boutique management consulting firm for over 25 years. To learn how Lisa can inspire your work, please visit her newly refreshed website (www.hillsassociates.com).