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9 Habits of High-Performing Business Leaders These successful professionals share a similar approach to life and work. Here's a concise list of their secrets.

By Jacqueline Whitmore Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

There's more than one way to run a business and become a successful entrepreneur. Yet many of the most seasoned business leaders share similar habits in their approach to life and work.

Here are nine secrets these professionals use to master their craft, grow their businesses and achieve extraordinary success.

Related: The Most Important 20 Minutes of the Day

1. Plan for the long term.

In a competitive market, the temptation to prioritize short-term goals is difficult to ignore. Your clients and customers expect you to deliver great products and services in a timely manner. You also have a fiduciary responsibility to your company, partners and investors.

But if you focus only on the short term, your business may not reach its full potential. Instead, set aside time at least once or twice a year to plan for the future. Routinely monitor your progress on achieving long-term goals.

2. Communicate quickly and effectively.

Respond to emails, phone calls and other requests immediately. The amount of time you take to respond could make the difference between gaining or losing a sale. Furthermore, when you respond quickly to clients, customers and employees, you develop a reputation for reliability. In your workplace, timely and effective communication will create a culture of focused efficiency.

3. Spend money wisely.

Entrepreneurs often face hard decisions about resource allocation. Pay close attention to your company's monthly expenses to avoid excessive or unneeded costs.

Always consider the return on an investment when you evaluate the best ways to spend company funds. Ask yourself, How long will it take me to recoup my investment? Also consider, Will this investment help me achieve the goals of my business?" If you can't answer these questions, don't spend the money.

4. Set a daily routine.

Although every day will be slightly different, create a rundown of what your ideal daily schedule should include. Every morning, before you check email, determine the three most important tasks to complete for the day.

Prioritize crucial tasks over those that are less urgent. This approach will keep you focused throughout the day and help you avoid time-consuming distractions.

Related: 18 Things to Do Right Now to Be a Happier Small-Business Owner

5. Meet challenges with enthusiasm.

I will always remember my mother saying, "Do your very best." She must have known that if I perform my highest ability, everything else will fall into place. It's important to meet every new challenge head-on.

Apply the same level of passion and zeal that you felt when you first started your business to every difficult situation. If you give each new challenge your best effort, you'll experience positive outcomes more often than not.

6. Read.

Every morning, consume the daily news from newspapers, industry blogs or magazines. Not only will this help you stay informed, it will give you plenty of material for casual conversation with colleagues and small talk before meetings. In the evening, unwind and relax with a good book.

Readers are leaders. You might learn something that will provide you proven tools and strategies to apply in your own business.

7. Never stop networking.

The right connections can bring your business new opportunities. Most professionals prefer to do business with entrepreneurs they know, like and trust.

Make it a priority to grow your network and build long-lasting professional relationships. Don't limit yourself to just attending networking events. Join professional organizations and associations or volunteer to serve on the board of a local charity.

8. Think creatively.

Make innovation the center of your business. Encourage team members and colleagues to experiment with new ideas and fresh approaches to business. Entrepreneurs who take risks often accomplish extraordinary things because their methods are creative and unexpected. Push outside your comfort zone and approach the risk of failure with a positive attitude.

9. Nurture yourself.

If you want to be productive, start by taking care of yourself. Receive at least seven hours of sleep to ensure that you'll wake up refreshed and ready for the day ahead. Don't forget to make exercise part of your weekly routine. You'll feel more energetic, focused and be better equipped to manage stress.

Make time to play and have fun. Striking a balance between work and life isn't as hard as you might think. You just need to identify and integrate into your weekly mix a few activities that really matter to you. Play brings satisfaction and joy to the heart. And when you feel more satisfied and happy, you're kinder to yourself and to others at work.

Related: 7 Traits Elite Entrepreneurs Display at Work and in Their Zest for Living

Jacqueline Whitmore

Author, Business Etiquette Expert and Founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach

Jacqueline Whitmore is an etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach in Palm Beach, Fla. She is the author of Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Professionals (St. Martin's Press, 2011) and Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work (St. Martin's Press, 2005).

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