Successful small businesses succeed on their own terms. The true legends stake out their own place – they don’t follow a well-worn path. However, that doesn’t mean that successful businesses don’t share a number of common traits.

1. Have a well-defined business plan and vision
No business succeeds by copying others. And, your business can’t succeed if it doesn’t have a clear plan for what it wants to achieve and how it expects to achieve it, either. Before you’ve made your first sale, you should be thinking about the sales you want to make one, two or even five years in the future.

2. Keep up the high morale
High morale is one of the most-important parts of any high-functioning business – both from yourself and your employees. You can have the greatest products on the planet and the strongest business plan, but you still won’t get anywhere unless your team wants to get there with you.

3. Have a dedication to your community
Many successful brands receive their first accolades from their local communities (think Under Armor in Baltimore or Shinola in Detroit). So be sure to give back whenever possible, whether it’s through a donation to a local cause or a sponsorship of youth sports team. Acts of kindness like this ingratiate yourself with your best customers.

4. Always think about creative strategies
We’re not saying you have to reinvent the wheel – but all businesses thrive if they’re able to solve problems and develop products with a creative eye, and in a better or different way than ever before.

5. Make an enjoyable atmosphere
If nobody enjoys spending time at your store or your location – whether it’s your employees or your customers – you can bet they won’t be purchasing your products or services that often. So more than anything else strike to create an inviting and warm environment.

What’s your best small business habit?

Let us know in the comments.

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