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CHARACTERISTICS OF STELLAR SMALL BUSINESSES
by: Cary Christian


We've been examining 15 ways small businesses get into trouble over the past three weeks. This week, we're looking at the flipside. stellar small businesses can be identified as NOT making the 15 mistakes we discussed, but rehashing those 15 mistakes in reverse will not define them. We're going to look at several common variables stellar small businesses exhibit that are more intangible, yet seem to make all the difference between success and failure.

You see, while making those 15 mistakes can kill a business, not making them does not guarantee success. It only means the business is not likely to kill itself. For the business to grow and become more and more profitable, more is required.

The business must know the SCORE, how to SCORE, and when to SCORE.

S - Stellar small businesses have a readily identifiable source of STRENGTH, and the ability to SELECTIVELY apply that strength with SKILL.

The strength a small business has can come from many sources: perhaps it's the owner's vision and experience; maybe it's ownership of a desirable patent or process; maybe it's a highly trained workforce; or it could be, and often is, a combination of several different types of strength.

Whatever the source might be, strength, like energy, is not limitless. Misapplied strength tends to dissipate rapidly and accomplish little. The stellar small business not only recognizes where their strengths lie, but they understand that strength must be conserved and applied in a selective manner. In other words, they pick their battles carefully and choose those that offer the best opportunity for profit with the least amount of risk.

The stellar small business is also willing to expend resources to increase their skill level relative to their strengths. Higher skill levels translate into better usage of strengths.

As a simple example of what I'm talking about in the preceding three paragraphs, think about a martial arts expert. They are often thin and wiry, but they can bring down an attacker three times their size with relative ease. How? They know their strengths, how and when to apply them, and have developed such skill as to actually turn an opponent's strengths against them.

C - The stellar small business exudes CHARACTER from top to bottom, has a deep COMMITMENT to CONSISTENCY, and never retreats from a CHALLENGE.

The stellar organization treats its vendors with honesty, treats its employees well and fosters their personal growth, and treats its customers like gold. Their commitment to these principles is deep, abiding and consistently applied. Challenges to these principles occur every day, but the company meets them head on and refuses to back down.

Character flows from the top down. It is rare to find an organization that exhibits organizational character where the traits are not espoused and practiced every day by the owners.

O - The stellar small business is ORGANIZED and primed and ready to take advantage of every OPPORTUNITY.

When you visit one of these stellar companies you will be struck with the sense of order you feel. Some of these companies may be extremely laid back, some very formal, and all others somewhere in between. But whether the pace of the business is lazy or frenetic, it is organized to the point where every day it moves one step closer to reaching its goals.

Organization might not be the word that comes to mind when you see these businesses in action. You might even think "chaos" at first. But if you watch long enough, you'll see that even the frenzy has purpose and the people working there are highly effective at what they do.

This organization and level of effectiveness make the business ready, willing and able to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves.

R - The stellar small business has a commitment to RESEARCH in their market area and is willing to spend whatever it takes to guarantee they have the RESOURCES available to quickly react to any new trends identified.

These companies always seem to be in the right place, at the right time, with the proper resources in place to act. It's no accident.

E - The stellar small business demands EFFICIENCY.

There's a hard way to do things and there's a right way to do them. The right way is always the easiest way that's effective. stellar companies, AND their employees, are always looking for ways to operate more efficiently. They fall in love with better and faster, even if it's not cheaper. They understand that time is money, and efficiency multiplies time.

Is your business one of these stellar small businesses? Check your SCORE to find out!


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