Look back on your childhood and think about activities you enjoyed: sports, playing an instrument, performing in a play, etc.  Why did you enjoy the activity?  Most likely, it was because you excelled in that area.  When we have some level of success, it motivates us to continue learning and striving to improve ourselves even further.  Applying your strengths to your business is crucial to achieving your professional goals.

  • Identify your strengths.  Believe it or not, some people don’t even know what they’re good at.  Make a list of things you do well, even if you don’t think they are relevant to your business because there’s a good chance that you can tap into it for even the most minor aspect of being your own boss.  If one of your strengths is that you are well-organized, apply that to anything in your business that requires short or long term planning (marketing strategies, seeking referrals, etc.).  Furthermore, if you are good at making people laugh, then use that in your interactions with customers and prospects.  People always remember others who make them feel comfortable, so don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through.
  • Start with who you know.  If you know other small business owners or direct sellers, pick their brains about areas of your business you’d like to improve.  Don’t be afraid to ask for advice and even for some referrals or contacts if appropriate.  Even if you don’t know anyone personally, consider secondary contacts, such as your best friend’s cousin, who owns the local pastry shop.  Any connection you have to successful people in business can be an asset to your own.
  • Be yourself.  You may have a lot of competition, but there’s only one you.  Both employees and customers alike will be turned off if you present yourself as someone you’re not.  People respond well to sincerity, especially in business, where it is imperative that you build meaningful relationships with others.  If you’re uncomfortable talking about yourself, get the other person talking about themselves.  Ask questions that will give you some more insight about how your product or service can help them, and show a genuine interest in what they are saying.  The more at ease you are with yourself, the more the customer will be at ease with you.
  • Have fun!  You’re probably involved in a business because something about it appealed to you.  Maybe you have always enjoyed cooking, so being a consultant for a kitchenware company allows you to share your culinary talents with others.  Even though owing a business requires hard work and can be stressful, don’t forget why you’re doing it.  Take the initiative to share your love of what you do with others in creative, out-of-the-box ways.  For example, in addition to throwing a traditional home party for that kitchenware company, host a community cook-off where local residents can demonstrate their own recipes using different products, vote on the best, and the winner can receive a nice prize from your catalogue.  By showing others that you enjoy what you do, you spread a positive feeling that people want to be around.

Reflecting upon your strengths and not letting your weaknesses become obstacles are two key elements to small business success.  How do you use your strengths to build your business?  Please share with us in the comments section below!

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