Barring those start-ups that experience explosive growth in the first six months, most successful businesses take time to grow. They are built around the founders and ground floor staff that put the time and passion in to make it successful. Across industry though there are a few simple habits that are shared among successful small businesses that we can learn from and emulate for our own success:

  1. Read a lot

The word ‘a lot’ is an understatement! Successful businesses that have grown their business steadily have done so through dedicated hard-work and intelligence. This intelligence doesn’t necessarily come from a degree. Those who set aside time to read each day will grow their knowledge exponentially – not just about business but also personal growth and hobbies. This kind of well-rounded knowledge will become useful when trying to connect with prospects on common interests.

  1. Plan your day

Planning your day (and sticking to your plan) breeds consistent accomplishment. Usually done the day before (before you leave for the day) successful business owners map out the big ‘to-dos’ and the ‘nice to-dos’ so that priorities can be set. By prioritizing your large goals first (those goals that are most important or have more ‘riding’ on them) you spend more time on the important things!

  1. Wake up early

Being an early riser is a taught behaviour. If you sleep in late your sleeping habits can be changed (if you want) to wake earlier and get more done before your day begins. Most successful entrepreneurs use the morning hours to focus on things before the pace of the day gets going. You’d be surprised how much you can accomplish before 9am!

  1. Take care of yourself

Taking a sick day has become a thing of the past for many large organizations. Pressure accumulates while away and simply isn’t worth the time ‘off’. This is heightened in a small business where resources are minimal and business runs 24/7 whether you’re well or not! Successful small businesses recognize the importance of taking care of yourself and adopting a ‘wellness mindset’. A strong immune system will recover more quickly from colds and flus; a balanced diet helps ward off more serious health problems associated with obesity or high cholesterol; daily exercise helps keep them heart healthy and energized all day.

  1. Consistency

What makes these a habit is that they’re done consistently. This takes effort on an almost daily scale. But consistency is what turns a good action into a habit. And good habits are what build a business. A new habit can take up to a year to form, but can also be as little as 3 weeks. It depends how different this activity is from what you usually do, but small changes in behaviour should be celebrated! Mountains don’t move in a week – it takes time. Be kind to yourself and give yourself the time to make these changes.

What habits do you have that help you grow your business?

Carolyn Bergshoeff is the founder of WindWater Marketing, a small business marketing firm based in Toronto, Canada. Carolyn regularly helps her clients apply successful growth habits to their small business. For more information visit or email