Seven Habits of Biz Success

Want to rocket your company into the stratosphere? Develop these habits and enjoy a successful ride!

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By Brian Tracy • May 5, 2006 Originally published Nov 11, 2004

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You must develop seven key habits for business success. Theabsence of any one of these habits can be costly--if not fatal--toyour business. When you become competent and capable in each ofthese areas, you'll be able to accomplish extraordinaryresults, far faster and easier than your competitors.

Plan Thoroughly

The first requirement for business success is the habit ofplanning. The better, more thoroughly, and more detailed that youplan your activities in advance, the faster and easier it will befor you to carry out your plans and get the results you desire onceyou start to work.

There is a "Six P" acronym that says, "ProperPrior Planning Prevents Poor Performance." Very often, thefirst 20 percent of the time that you spend developing completeplans will save you 80 percent of the time later in achieving thebusiness goals you've set.

To plan better, develop the habit of asking and answering thefollowing questions:

  • What exactly is my product or service?
  • Who exactly is my customer?
  • Why does my customer buy?
  • What does my customer consider value?
  • What is it that makes my product or service superior to that ofmy competitors?
  • Why is it that my prospective customer does not buy?
  • Why does my prospective customer buy from my competitor?
  • What value does he/she perceive in buying from mycompetitor?
  • How can I offset that perception and get my competitor'scustomers to buy from me?
  • What one thing must my customer be convinced of to buy from me,rather than from someone else?

Once you've asked and answered these questions, the nextstage of planning is to set specific targets for sales andprofitability. You must determine the exact people, money,advertising, marketing, distribution, administration and servicepeople, and facilities you will require in order to achieve yourgoals. The more thoroughly you plan each stage of your businessactivities before you begin, the greater will be the probabilitythat you will succeed when you commence operations.

Get Organized Before You Get Started

Once you've developed a complete plan for your business, youmust then develop the habit of organizing the people and resourcesyou need before you begin. In organizing, you bring together allthe resources you've determined you'll require in theplanning process. In the military, there is a saying,"Amateurs talk strategy, but professionals talklogistics." It's absolutely essential that you determineevery ingredient you'll need before you begin businessoperations and bring them together so they're ready to go whenyou open your doors or begin your project. The failure to provideeven one important ingredient in advance can lead to the failure ofthe entire enterprise.

Find the Right People

The third habit you must develop is the habit of hiring theright people to help you achieve your goals. Fully 95 percent ofyour success as an entrepreneur or executive will be determined bythe quality of the people you recruit to work with you or to workon your team. The fact is, the best companies have the best people.The second-best companies have the second-best people. Thethird-best companies have the average or mediocre people, andthey're on their way out of business.

Delegate Wisely

The fourth habit you need to develop for business success isproper delegation. You must develop the ability to delegate theright task to the right person in the right way. The inability todelegate effectively can be the cause of failure orunderperformance of the individual and can even bring about failureof the business.

When people start in business, they usually do everythingthemselves. As they grow and expand, the job becomes too large forone person, so they hire someone to do part of it. However, ifthey're not careful, they try to retain control of the task andnever fully hand over both authority and responsibility to theother person.

In my Advanced Coaching and Mentoring Programs, I teachexecutives and entrepreneurs to identify the two or three thingsthat they do that contribute the most value to their companies andthen delegate the rest. You must do the same thing. You must learnto think in terms of "getting things done through others"rather than trying to do them yourself. It's the only way youcan leverage and multiply your special skills and abilities.

Inspect What You Expect

The fifth requirement for business success is for you to developthe habit of proper supervision. You must set up a system tomonitor the task and make sure it's being done as agreed upon.The rule is, "inspect what you expect." Once you'vedelegated a task to the right person in the right way, it'sessential that you monitor the performance of the task and makesure it's done on schedule and to the required level ofquality. Remember, delegation is not abdication. You are stillresponsible for the ultimate results of the delegated tasks. Youmust stay on top of it.

When you've delegated a task, set up a system of reportingso that you're always informed as to the status of the work. Besure the other person knows what is to be done, and when, and towhat standard. Your job is then to make sure he or she has the timeand resources necessary to get the job done satisfactorily. Themore important the job, the more often you should check on theprogress.

Measure What Gets Done

The sixth practice of successful entrepreneurs and executives isthe habit of measuring performance. You must set specific,measurable standards and score cards for the results you require.You have to set specific timelines and deadlines to make sure you"make your numbers" on schedule. Everyone who'sexpected to carry out a task must know with complete clarity thetargets he or she is aiming at, how successful performance will bemeasured, and when the expected results are due.

In our Focal Point process, we teach the importance of selectingand defining specific goals, measures and activities that are thenused as benchmarks for performance. Jim Collins, in his bookFrom Good to Great, refers to the importance of selectingthe "economic denominator" for a company, and forindividual goals and objectives within that company. Whichevernumber you choose, it must be clear to everyone, and it must bemonitored continually to make sure everyone is on track.

Keep People Informed

The seventh habit for businesspeople is the habit of reportingresults regularly and accurately. People around you need to knowwhat's going on. Your bankers need to know your financialresults. Your staff needs to know the status and the situation ofyour company. Your key people, at all levels, need to know whatresults are being achieved.

In a study on workplace motivation, several thousand employeessaid the most important factor leading to job satisfaction was"being in the know." People in an organization have adeep need to know and understand what is going on around them inrelation to their work. The more thoroughly and accurately youreport to people the details and situation of your business, thehappier they'll be and the better results they will get.

Excerpted from Million DollarHabits

Brian Tracy is the founder and chair of Brian TracyInternational, a human resource company based in San Diego, andone of America's leading authorities on entrepreneurialdevelopment.

Brian Tracy

Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, Speaker and Author

Brian Tracy is chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International. He is the leading coach on the topics of leadership, self-esteem, goals and success psychology. Learn more at

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