What are the fundamental components of a successful small business? The following can assist you greatly in developing your basic list of success factors:

Work on your business not just in it. This involves your strategic skills. Planning and organising in such a way that your business does not become a burden that occupies your every waking second. This will involve putting in effective systems that will assist the operations of your business when you are not physically present.

Have a vision and goals – begin with the end in sight. Visions are extremely important. You must have this mental picture so that you can see where you are directing things.

Focus on the priorities. Everything in life is about balancing energy. Each morning you wake up and you will allocate an amount of energy for the day. You need to make sure you are channelling the right amount of energy into the right things.

This involves setting personal and professional goals and making sure your values are upheld in your business transactions. Stay focused, trust your vision and make that energy operate in the most effective manner.

Respond to your client. Every customer is vital and deserves to be treated as you would want to be treated. Every action you take in your business should be done with integrity and uphold your values.

Respect the client and listen to what he/she wants and respond accordingly and genuinely. That is what will get people coming back for more of what you do.

Be innovative/unique. Be vigilant in looking at what is going to make your counselling practice different and the business of choice for your targeted market(s). This will involve exploring who you are and marketing that uniqueness.

Build strong teams and lead by example. If you have staff, look after them. Hire good people whose values match yours. Realise that they are watching you for direction, so make sure you give it.

Plan. You are going to spend an enormous amount of time planning. Do not underestimate the value of the time you invest in planning for your business.

Be agile. One of the advantages of being a small business is your ability to be agile – move with the trends, make quick decisions, change. Remember to stay focused on the vision and to keep your values, but be open to change.

Review your paradigms. We can get stuck in a certain way of thinking so that sometimes the problem is the way we are viewing the problem. Try to develop the capacity to look at things from different points of view to allow you to not get stuck in a mindset that could prevent you from seeing opportunity or being agile.

Believe in the business – believe in you. Faith is a powerful tool. It is a mixture of blind commitment and visionary zeal. Don’t lose your faith in what you do or who you are.