What Makes or Breaks an Entrepreneur?

What makes or breaks a successful small business? Xero's Make or Break report, which polled over 2,000 entrepreneurs, found those who succeed in business have several key factors in common. Here's a closer look at what successful business owners do differently.

1. They make time for a personal life. Despite the stereotype of the hard-driving entrepreneur who works 24/7 and sleeps under his or her desk, the reality of entrepreneurial success is far different. Almost six out of 10 survey respondents (58 percent) believe spending time with their families in the evenings is critical to their success in business, and 53 percent say it's important to keep their weekends free for family time.

2. They focus on managing finances. The most common business issue causing business failure among the entrepreneurs surveyed was financial mismanagement leading to problems such as poor cash flow or lack of access to capital. Take the time to learn the basics of bookkeeping — even if you're not the one managing your money, you still need to know the essential principles so you can keep an eye on whoever is. Today's small business accounting software greatly simplifies accounting processes that used to take hours, so be sure to tap into this valuable tool. Nearly 60 percent of the successful small businesses surveyed use software to manage their money. In contrast, just 14 percent of failed businesses do.

3. They're willing to invest in improving their businesses. Successful small business owners don't scrimp when it comes to putting money back into their companies. In addition to installing small business accounting software, other areas where successful entrepreneurs see fit to spend include marketing/advertising and improving customer service.

4. They understand the power of technology. A whopping 86 percent of successful entrepreneurs in the survey use technology to make their companies more productive. The most popular type of technology: business apps, used by 49 percent, while 32 percent use mobile payment technology and 26 percent use business planning tools. In addition, successful small business owners use technology to balance their business and personal lives. Although they greatly value their family and personal time, only 29 percent turn off their smart phones and/or laptops outside of business hours.

5. They're not afraid to ask for help. Successful entrepreneurs in the study actively enlist the support of a supportive network that includes family members, accountants, advisors and mentors. One-third of successful entrepreneurs say they have relied on business mentors, compared to just 14 percent of respondents whose businesses had failed.                 

If you need help figuring out what will make or break your business, visit www.score.org to get matched with a mentor today.  

Rieva Lesonsky
<p> Rieva is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship. She was formerly Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine and has written several books about small business and entrepreneurship. <br /> <a href="http://www.growbizmedia.com/" target="_blank" title="GrowBizMedia">GrowBizMedia.com</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/rieva" target="_blank" title="Rieva on Twitter">@rieva</a> | <a href="https://www.score.org/author/Rieva-Lesonsky/all-posts" title="blogs by Rieva">More from Rieva</a></p>


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