Successful entrepreneurs emerge from a unique group of individuals who are willing to take on personal financial risk, for a chance to prosper. These self-starters find creative ways to overcome challenges and often devise innovative solutions for business, industry, and end-users. Because they stand out among their peers and sometimes amass fortunes, business leaders achieve celebrity – particularly among business-minded observers, looking for the secret to success. Many admirers and budding entrepreneurs naturally wonder if emulating their business heroes might take them down a similar path to personal success.

Is it possible to imitate the habits of successful people, in order to make your mark in business?

The elusive answer may keep observers wondering, but it can’t hurt to explore how successful people use discipline and consistency (among other things) to get ahead.

Recipe for Success?

Though entrepreneurs may be smart people and progressive thinkers, few can claim credit for every aspect of their good fortune; the stew of business success is flavored with an extensive list of ingredients. Among them, a stroke of good luck often propels business titans to the top, without which they may be relegated to obscurity. Collaboration, another key facet of entrepreneurial success, is sometimes overlooked by outsiders analyzing another person’s path to prosperity.

Several things must come together, at once, for you to travel the road of the next business visionary, but developing a strong entrepreneurial core may well be the move that puts you over the top. Whether it’s imitating habits of successful people or following their personally tested advice, you can do worse things than take some of your professional cues from experienced business leaders.

  • Keep Your Priorities in Order – Business concerns are numerous, so there’s no way you’re going to clear your to-do list in a single swipe. Rather than take a piecemeal approach or frustrate yourself with unrealistic expectations, it pays to map out an ordered series of priorities, pointing directly toward your organizational goals.

Outlining a clear set of professional priorities can spare you the distress of forgetting important deadlines, misappropriating resources, or falling behind achieving long-term goals. Having your priorities lined up enables you to tackle tasks and expend resources efficiently, without rethinking your direction, every time you make a move.

Sprout Funding logoAlign your priorities by compiling a complete inventory of all the things on your plate and assigning a level of urgency, or critical importance to each task. Prioritize tasks that cannot wait, followed by important things you can schedule for the near future. By putting the second group of tasks on your calendar right away, you may be able to build a buffer into your schedule, so more of your time can be spent planning for the future, rather than putting out unanticipated fires.

  • Stay Healthy – Small business owners dedicate themselves to hard work and long hours, so self-care sometimes suffers. The most effective entrepreneurs stay on the ball by getting enough sleep, eating right, and taking time to exercise. Occasionally burning the candle at both ends can help you gain a competitive edge, but wearing down due to poor health habits will only slow you down, in the long run. Better to find down time, or schedule it, for your body, mind, and spirit.
  • Manage Your Time – Business operators are stretched thin, so the cream of the crop learns to effectively manage time. Working too much can actually become counterproductive, so your goal achieving independent success is to take control of your time, rather than be pushed around by business demands. If you haven’t done so recently, track your time for a week. You may be surprised by the results, potentially highlighting changes you can make, creating a more productive workflow.

One Step Ahead?

Lasting business success doesn’t happen by accident. Even if it’s a big break that lifts you onto the ladder of professional good fortune, you’ll eventually have to prove you belong there – probably more than once. The world’s most effective entrepreneurs share a unique ability to learn from the past, even as they remain focused on the future.

  • Anticipate Trends – For businesses operating in competitive consumer markets, accurately anticipating trends can make the difference between steady growth and slumping sales. A noted Wayne Gretzky quote has gotten a lot more mileage since Steve Jobs adopted it for inspiration.  According to Gretzky, the hockey standout skates to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been. Jobs and other effective business leaders pull-off similar feats off of the ice, by foreseeing business hurdles and predicting consumer trends.
  • Accentuate the Positive – Maintaining a positive outlook doesn’t guarantee good fortune, but staying on the bright side helps effective businesspeople overcome challenges that might defeat less-inspired entrepreneurs. Once you’ve accepted the fact that you will sometimes fail in business, it’s easier to turn missteps into lessons you can use to grow your enterprise.

Drop the ball?  Didn’t see that coming? Zigged when you should have zagged? These temporary setbacks are half-full glasses to business optimists, so calling them half-empty will only slow you down.

  • Never Stop Learning – Curiosity and thirst for knowledge are hallmarks shared by many top business professionals. Their unending pursuit of greater understanding many times sparks breakthroughs and innovation. Opening your mind like high achievers can help you dissect and digest complex commercial concerns and anticipate evolving business trends.

Imitating successful entrepreneurs may not carry you across the finish line, but emulating their most effective business habits can help you perform at a higher level. For results you’ll see in your bottom line, model top producers, using their experience and guidance to reinforce your business savvy.

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