Running a small business is a competitive enterprise. If you’re a startup, it’s likely that at least some of the newer businesses in your niche will fail within the first five years of operation. Your efforts will be focused on making sure your business doesn’t become a negative statistic. This may require an aggressive approach to some areas of your production and selling efforts. If you hate conflict and think scoping out the competition for weaknesses is mean spirited, then small business success may require a little reeducation.

You might have developed the seminal strategy for starting a business through a compelling hobby or as a result of lessons learned working in a specific industry. Maybe you want to start a small business because of a layoff and a need to bring in extra cash. After you make the commitment to move forward, though, the work of building your business is about getting out there and making an aggressive effort to succeed.

Assertiveness is a Skill

As an individual, you may feel more comfortable being the observer and taking a wait-and-see attitude about most of the big issues in life. Although small business doesn’t have to be bloodthirsty and cutthroat, it is lively, changeable, and may require assertiveness and even aggressiveness on occasion. Before you print up your business cards, take some time to think about how your personal style will mesh with your small business management style. Employees, suppliers, and even customers will take their cues from you. In a small business, your attitude and style contribute a great deal to the long-term success or failure of your brand. It also impacts how much you ultimately enjoy the process.

Can you succeed in business if you’re retiring and introverted? Sure you can. You don’t have to be outgoing to develop some of the skills that seem to come naturally to outgoing people. Once you recognize that you need a few tools to become more self-assured, assertive and even forceful, you can find useful aids to help. Toastmasters is one, but there are certainly others. Increasing your expertise in the areas that cause you the most anxiety is worth the effort, too. Whether it’s accounting, public speaking or business law, mastering difficult topics is an ego booster. Confidence shows, and the more confident you are, the easier it will be to go on the offensive with gusto when you need to.

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