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It’s one thing to have a great idea and set up a small business, but it’s another thing entirely to lead that business successfully as it grows. So here are seven qualities that a successful small business owner should have.


Otherwise known as Knowing Your Stuff. As the boss, you’re the end-of-the-line; the go-to person who makes the final decisions and answers the questions nobody else can. You may not have mastery of all the skills possessed by all your employees, but you should have a good knowledge of your industry, a thorough grasp of what’s going on within all areas of your business and an insight into the demands of each employee’s role.


Running a small business can be tough. Unless you’re very lucky, there will be times when it seems as though your business will fail – and times when you have to deal with difficult employees or customers. Determination is vital to see you through those tough patches and essential if you find yourself being intimidated or patronised by employees – remember who’s boss!

Willingness to Listen To Others

But now the other side of the coin – while you ARE the boss, that doesn’t mean you’re always right, or that other people’s opinions don’t have value. Don’t be afraid to invite and consider the opinions of your employees or industry experts. One of their ideas may make all the difference to your company.


If something – or someone – in your company isn’t working the way it should, you may need to adapt your expectations or your strategy. Perhaps you’ll move that employee into a different role or negotiate a change to their working hours; maybe you’ll look out for new premises because the workshop that seemed perfect hasn’t proved ideal for your business.

There will be times when you need to be bold and think outside the box to succeed. Being flexible enough to change your plans and adapt to new circumstances is essential for any successful business owner. Nothing stays the same forever!


To a certain extent, you are your business – and people will judge your business partly on what they know of you as a person, either via a personal relationship with you or by what they hear or read about you in the press, on social media or through gossip. It’s worth bearing this in mind, even when it’s outside working hours – and of course, inside working hours, professionalism is a must too.

If you need convincing of this, a quick internet search will doubtless find the recent much-publicised spat between a disappointed bride and the representative of the castle at which she’d booked her wedding; a prime example of how to ruin your business reputation on social media!

One easy trap to fall into, especially early on, is to get carried away and promise to provide services or fulfil orders that you don’t have the capacity to complete. In trying to look professional, you may set yourself up for failure and ultimately end up appearing very unprofessional, so beware!


You’ll get the best out of your employees and your business if you remember that you’re human. This means that you need to accept that you need to take a break from the business sometimes, and appreciate that your employees do to. Nobody’s recommending that you become a pushover, paying employees for sub-standard work, slacking and skiving – but if you show them some understanding and compassion when it’s needed, the result should be happier and more loyal employees who will work with you to make your business a success.

One Eye on the Future

However successful your business is now, there’s no guarantee that this success will continue long-term. Times and technologies change, as do customers and their requirements. Always keep an eye on the future, keeping up with developments in your industry and any emerging trends.
Always have a plan in mind for expansion, development and diversification, too, as your business is unlikely to ride high indefinitely if it doesn’t change and grow. Of course, just like the rest of us, you can’t be virtuous all the time – but hopefully our list will have helped you identify any areas you need to work on to become a better small business boss!

About The Author

Karl Bilby

We work very closely with our expert accountants to bring you the latest factually correct tax and accounting news. We also enjoy writing about small business news that we hope you find useful!

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