I have had the opportunity to work with the small-business community over the last twenty years.
That community includes people looking to start a business, those in the start-up stage, others growing to the next stage, and a cadre of people dedicated to support these folks.
I have seen businesses start but also shut down.
Over that time, I am often asked what is the key element to success.
A successful, sustainable small-business meets a need. It offers products and services at prices the market will pay. These businesses market themselves and watch their dollars carefully. The owner knows that he or she must do the daily tasks and also look forward and plan for the future. And the owner understands the importance of keeping up with the trends. While the initial product might be unique, it won’t stay that way plus the market itself will often shift away to new ideas and alternatives.
Yet even when following all of these important elements, some businesses make it and other don’t. So what else is at play?
Some people say its luck or timing. Others talk about the support network and mentors that a business owner has in place.
And there is support for those two factors as well.
But there is one more element I view as even more crucial than all of these. That element is passion!!
Some call it perseverance or focus. Neither of these quite capture the attitude though.
You have to want it. You think about your business constantly looking for ideas and concepts to follow.
One of the earliest business owners I worked with drove this idea home. There were ups and downs, and hurdles. His response was it’s all a learning experience and let’s keep learning. If you asked him about his business, he knew it would be a success.
Passion, it goes a long ways. No it isn’t the only thing you need but it sure helps when the road ahead looks rocky.
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Glenn Muske is an independent expert on rural small business, working as GM Consulting – Your partner in achieving small business success. He provides consulting, and writes articles for county extension agents and newspapers across North Dakota. Previously, he was the Rural and Agribusiness Enterprise Development Specialist at the North Dakota State University Extension Service – Center for Community Vitality.