As small business owners, we sometimes tread a very thin line between what we consider success and failure. Margins are small, money is tight, risk is high, and some days it seems that everything we try is a bust.

If that sounds like you, I’m here to tell you, “Don’t be discouraged!” Sometimes we are so close to business operations that we miss opportunities for growth, either from fear or not seeing the forest for the trees. And both of those habits have a lot to do with your mindset. Your head must be in the game. However, how do you achieve the right mindset for success? It may seem insurmountable, especially when you have a billion things going at once. Here are a few things that I think are essential to overcoming these issues…

Take Time to Take Stock

You’ve probably heard the phrase: “Working IN your business rather than ON your business.” Many, many small business owners find themselves in that spot. They’re so busy concentrating on the inner workings that they think there’s no time to work on the big picture. However, setting goals and knowing exactly where you are in terms of your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is essential for making data-driven (instead of emotional) decisions. You need to make the time to evaluate this on a regular basis to keep a healthy growth mindset.

Develop Positive Attitudes (Including Learning)

Another key ingredient to mindset is your attitude. Attitude impacts success in everything we do—work, play and especially relationships. You know that when your attitude or outlook is pessimistic, things don’t go very well. But when your outlook is optimistic, it’s a different story. I like to think that business mindset is made up of an individual’s “collection” of attitudes. And in addition to attitudes of confidence, gratitude and optimism, I think it’s also essential to add an attitude of learning to the mix. Always be asking yourself: “Why did this work when that didn’t? What can I learn from this?” Applying an attitude of learning to your approach to your business can set you up for seeing those “opportunities” that got lost in the weeds before. Attitude, Perspective… Mindset.

Persistence is Essential

In addition to committing to regular business checkups and developing the right mindset, persistence is another key to business success. It can be considered an attitude, but I think of it more as a habit—and one that every small business owner needs to cultivate. I did a quick Google search on “persistence in business” and came up with a ton of articles on the subject with titles like:

  • The Entrepreneur’s Secret Weapon: Persistence. (See General Grant.) (
  • Don’t Give Up – Persistence is Key to Business Success (HuffPost)
  • From Idea to Business: Persistence is Critical (Forbes)
  • Persistence, not Patience, Key to Entrepreneurship (Mashable)

Things always take longer than expected. You can set all the goals you want, but things will go wrong and obstacles will pop up to get in your way. Having the doggedness to keep moving toward the goal despite the barriers is absolutely critical for any small business to survive and thrive. Is it hard? Yes. But I don’t know a single successful business owner who gives up when the going gets tough, do you? 

Success Doesn’t Always Mean Winning

Although it might not seem like it, the most successful businesswomen and men don’t always win at everything. There are always setbacks, failures, and mistakes (sometimes lots of them). However, some things all successful entrepreneurs have in common are winning attitudes, a willingness to learn from mistakes, discipline and persistence. Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn, but with the right Attitude, Perspective… Mindset, you can win either way. #NoLetUp!

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