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Small Businesses Must Strive to Thrive

With the hardships small businesses are currently facing, I decided to list the essentials I am seeing in owners who are good at enduring the tough times.

However, I then noticed that there is a lot of overlap with that list and what I see the prospering people doing.

I realize that many small businesses are more interested in just staying alive than having a drive to thrive, however, you are going to need all ten of these elements regardless.

Therefore, why not just try to be a Thriver rather than a Survivor?

1. They Are Passionate about Working On Their Business

Theresa Szczurek, Ph.D says, “Ordinary people become extraordinary and produce extraordinary results when they align their passion with a meaningful purpose." The Michael Jordans or Stephen Kings of the world know that you need to be clear on what you want to do in life and then just go out and do it. Similarly, the Thrivers of business are internally driven rather than externally driven. Thrivers are zealous about their business purpose and when they are aligned with that mission it pushes them forward with enthusiasm and energy.

2. They Make Decisions and Take Action

Franklin Roosevelt said, “It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all try something.” Right or wrong, Thrivers take action.

3. They Hold Relationships in the Highest Regard

Anthony Robbins says, “The quality of your life is the quality of your relationships.” I say, “The quality of your business is the quality of your relationships.” Introverts tell me they are not about to go out and shake hands and kiss babies, but it makes no difference whether you are an introvert of an extravert. Just be sincere and focused on others and become a trusted advisor. People will do business with you if they know you, like you and trust you. Where can you find a better ROI than that?

4. They Are Continuous Learners

Dennis Waitley says, “Never become so much of an expert that you stop gaining expertise. View life as a continuous learning experience.” Thrivers know that know-it-alls who are not willing to listen and learn are continuous losers. Thrivers surround themselves with continuous learners and they take the time themselves to study and learn.

5. They Are Accountable

Steven Covey says, “Accountability breeds response-ability.” Who are you accountable to when you are the owner? TAB board members get better results because they hold one another’s feet to the fire. Find an effective advisory board who will keep you honest and on your toes.

6. They Never Let Fear Hold them Back

Robert Heller says, “Fear is excitement without breath.” Thrivers overcome fear and slay the dragon whenever they face it. Or even better yet, they define their reality so that fear is substantially decreased or even gone in certain areas of their life! They are masters at listening to what they know rather than what they fear.

7. They Are Not Afraid to Ask for Help

A Danish Proverb says, “He who is afraid of asking is ashamed of learning.” Thrivers ask for help because they know they can do more and learn more through others than by going it solo. They utilize and leverage on the power of advisory boards. They listen to advice and accept input because they realize that is what makes them wiser.

8. They Have A Positive Attitude

Remez Sasson says, “You can close the windows and darken your room, and you can open the windows and let light in. It is a matter of choice. Your mind is your room. Do you darken it or do you fill it with light?” Thrivers know that positive attitude opens new doors every day. They see opportunities when others only see problems. The difference between can and cannot are only three letters. For them those three letters make Survivors become Thrivers.

9. They Align Their Life’s Vision with Their Business Vision

Robert Fulghum says, “I always thought anyone can make money. Making life worth living, that’s the real test.” Thrivers do not want to be rich in their business and bankrupt in their personal life. While business can be all-consuming, they also become CEOs of their personal life as they pursue life balance. They find that life balance produces healthier long run results for themselves and their business.

10. They Discover and Accept Their Weaknesses

Jean Vanier says, “Growth begins when begin to accept our own weaknesses.” Thrivers do not hide weakness, they embrace them. They know they cannot be equally effective in everything. They recognize their weakness, are honest about them, and then look to others to augment them. They become much more powerful and effective as a result. I would love to see more business owners make the transition from Surviving to Thriving.

Are you ready to do that? How many of these ten elements describe you today?


© 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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