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Sixteen Mind frames of Successful Owners of Businesses

Nothing can stop a CEO who has the right mental attitude from achieving his goal.

However, nothing on earth can help the CEO with the wrong mental attitude. The state of your life and business is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind. I find working with successful business owners to be a pure joy.

As a result of working closely with over 100 entrepreneurs in recent years as a facilitator for The Alternative Board, I have noticed that certain mind frames exist for all Successful Owners of Businesses (affectionately referred to as “SOBs” for the rest of this article).

Here are my top sixteen:

1. There Is Always a Better Way to Do It

Marcel Proust once said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in making new landscapes but in having new eyes”. SOBs look beyond traditional ways to solve problems, create deliverables and get results. No matter what strategy, process, or procedure is under consideration, there is usually an easier or better way. SOBs have an unquenchable thirst for doing things faster, easier, less expensively and with less risk.

2. Being a Marketer Trumps Being a Master Every Time

While you must always strive to evolve from proficiency to the mastery of your expertise, your doors will close if you do not make others aware of your services. SOBs never stop promoting their business at any time.

3. Risk Is Always Manageable

John F Kennedy said, “We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes”. SOBs know there is risk everywhere in life and in business, and their job is to reduce it for themselves and for others, especially their clients. SOBs never let a little thing like risk slow them down. They are like the leader T.S. Elliot was referring to when he said: “Only those who risk going too far can possibly know how far one can go”.

4. The Answer is Somewhere

SOBs do not expect to be the answer man. However, they are programmed to look to others and a variety of resources to find the answers. Michael Gerber says, “The problem with struggling business owners is not that they do not know enough about basics like finance, marketing, management, and operations. Even if they are weak in key areas, the problem is that they spend their time and energy defending what they think they know. My interaction with owners has demonstrated to me that successful entrepreneurs are not good because of what they know but because of their insatiable need to know more”.

5. Delay Is Costly and Is Unacceptable

SOBs have a bias for action. General Patten said, “A good plan today is better than a great plan tomorrow”. Windows of opportunities open and close too quickly to drag your feet. SOBs do not wait. They know that the time will never be “just right’. They just start from where they stand, and work with whatever tools they may have at their command, confident that better tools will be found as they go along. They live by the Chinese proverb, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now”.

6. I Can Always Find Self Confidence When I Need It Most

Your chances of success in any undertaking can always be measured by your belief in yourself. Jack London said, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club”. SOBs do not rely on themselves to generate a sense of self confidence. They arrange for support structures and encouragement. They do not need mastery for themselves when they can design situations that will feed them the confidence when they need it.

7. Where There is a Problem There is a System to Solve it

Peter Drucker says, “No institution can possibly survive if it needs geniuses or supermen to manage it. It must be organized in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership composed of average human beings”. SOBs follow Gerber’s E-Myth and build business that depend on systems not people, especially when those key people are themselves.

8. There is No Such Thing As A Problem

A problem to one person is just a chance for an SOB to showoff their brilliance. They view every problem as an opportunity to challenge their knowledge, perceptions and beliefs, and to really get creative.

9. Mistakes Are A Requirement for Success

Mistakes are merely steps up the ladder. They believe that “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down. They can have a fresh start any moment they choose.

10. They Set High Standards

High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation. Niccolo Machiavelli said “Make no small plans for they have not the power to stir men’s blood”.

11. Creeping Excellence Trumps Perfection

SOBs strive to make sure everything they do is just a little bit better than the time before. However, they remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. They confront their fears and allow themselves to be far happier and more productive people as a result. They do what they do best and hire out the rest. They do not want to be the perfectionists who spend 80% of their time perfecting the last 20% of everything.

12. Focus Equals Power

SOBs follow the Chinese proverb: “If you chase two rabbits, both will escape”. SOBs stay in the flow to increase productivity, efficiency, and creativity. It takes four minutes on the average to return to a previous level of concentration every time you get interrupted. Andrew Carnegie said, “Concentrate: put all your eggs in one basket, and watch that basket”.

13. It Is About the Goal Not the Plan

Do SOBs commit to the Goal or the Plan? They believe first and foremost that the most important thing about goals is having one. After that the goals drive everything. If the plans are not getting the results they want, then they change the plans not the goals.

14. They Empower Others

Steven Covey said, “There are only two lasting bequests we can give our children... one is roots, the other wings”. SOBs apply this simple reality of parenting to leadership. SOBs live by the framework that it is only as they develop others that they permanently succeed.

15. They Break Overwhelming Projects into Small Steps

SOBs make the complex simple. As Henry Ford said, “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs”.

16. Having Your Own Business is a Joy

Owners have told me they considered themselves successful because “they went to bed last night and got out of bed this morning”. Bob Dylan said, “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do”. SOBs find their work to be joyous. Why own a business if it does not bring you pleasure? How many of these sixteen frameworks to you apply in your daily situations? The more you have, the more successful you will be.

© 2008 Ray Brun, MBA,SPHR, (Sr.Prof.HR Mgr.), CPBA (Certified Professional Behavior Analyst) Owner, facilitator of TAB East Bay North - Author of "How Small Businesses Capture Talent," 164 Strategies for Recruiting and Hiring Winners

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