Get Into the ‘Habits’ of Growing Your Business

Twenty-five years after author Stephen Covey rocked the business world with his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” the business-oriented self-help guide continues to be the gold standard for entrepreneurs seeking a path toward growing their companies. Having sold more than 25 million copies in 38 languages worldwide (and counting), it remains one of the all-time, best-selling nonfiction business books and Covey’s approach is practiced the world over by aspiring moneymakers.

Self-discovery, self-mastery, initiative, responsibility, team-building, prioritization, and open-mindedness are just some of the characteristics that Covey suggests are necessary for success. And even after acquiring his designated habits, entrepreneurs should strive to continually improve them, the author said.

Universal Good Habits

An example of Covey’s continued relevance: In August 2011, Time listed “Seven Habits” as one of the 25 most influential business management books. And even though norms have changed over the last quarter century, Covey’s “habits” remain universal and timeless, continuing to guide acolytes even after the author’s death in 2012; plus, they have prompted other businesspeople to identify their own habits for success. They always seem to come in sevens.

For example, Entrepreneur magazine has advocated its own set of seven habits necessary for success. They are more practical when compared to Covey’s more philosophical instruction. Entrepreneur recommends:

■ Establish a detailed plan before starting your business.

■ Organize your resources thoroughly before beginning business operations.

■ Surround yourself with the right people who will help you reach your goals.

■ Apply the art of delegating the right task to the right person.

■ Monitor performance of others with an efficient reporting system.

■ Measure your progress to be sure your business is on the right track.

■ Make employees feel like part of the company by keeping them informed of developments and progress.

“When you become competent and capable in each of these areas, you’ll be able to accomplish extraordinary results, far faster and easier than your competitors,” according to “Million Dollar Habits” from Entrepreneur Press.

Lessons for Life

And Covey continues to be an inspiration for a new generation of writers who have pinpointed their own successful habits, many of which can be applied as life lessons that go beyond the business world. Darrell Zahorsky is one such small business expert, author and consultant who espouses his own ideas about success. Remember the old shampoo commercial about the advantages of telling two friends about the benefit of using the product? Then they will tell two friends, who in turn will tell two friends, and so on, and so on…

Zahorsky borrows that idea by being a proponent of building an inner network of five successful colleagues, mentors and advisers who can introduce you to another five successful businesspeople, and so on, and so on…

It’s just one of the writer’s suggestions for success. He also reminds people to remain adaptable to changing situations and vigilant about new opportunities that might emerge in times of trouble. Moreover, Zahorsky offers a lesson in humility to those with Type A personalities.

“Business success requires the ability to know your strengths and weaknesses. Being open and honest about yourself and your business creates growth as an individual and as a company,” he says. “In the book, ‘Now, Discover Your Strengths,’ Gallup Organization reveals that building our strengths instead of fixing our weakness is the path to mastery and success.”

Finding balance in all aspects of your life, is another key to success, he suggests.

Add ‘Lean In’ to the List

But it may be time to add a new habit to Covey’s list that wasn’t really talked about when he published his book in 1989. It has become a recent buzz term and applies primarily to women executives and entrepreneurs. Of course, I’m talking about “leaning in,” the advice dispensed by Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg in her recently published first book, “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead.

Sandberg encourages women to “lean into” their ambitions in order to achieve professional and personal goals, break down societal and personal barriers, and achieve positions of leadership. The book has inspired a movement. With more female voices in positions of power, Sandberg asserts, more equitable opportunities will be created for everyone.

If that can be achieved, leaning in could become as good a habit as anything put forth by Covey.

Written by

John Romano is an entrepreneur, marketing strategist, Internet consultant, blogger and an expert in the technical, conceptual, and content development of online startups. He is the founder of several ecommerce sites and has helped multiple companies launch successful online businesses.


  1. Nastya

    Get Into the ‘Habits’ of Growing Your Business

    Thanks for the notes about the “lean in” concept, I had heard the term in use, but had not known its origins. (Perhaps I’ve been living in a cave these last few years) It is an excellent concept, and I’m not saying that just because I am a woman. The gender percentage of a leadership team should be close to the percentage of the employees they lead. As the percentage of woman in the workforce approaches 50 percent so should the gender mix in the executive suite. It’s more than a fairness issue; effective leadership does indeed come from the ability to put yourself in the shoes of those you are leading. In fact, the mix should go beyond gender to include ethnicity and race. But changing norms requires work. Yes, one must to achieve break down societal and personal barriers to achieve positions of leadership.

  2. Bill

    Get Into the ‘Habits’ of Growing Your Business

    Indeed Covey swayed the corporate world with the wise and insightful words in his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” however I’m more a pratical hard-science kind of person when it comes to business advice.
    And that is why I enjoyed the details from Entrepreneur magazine that you highlighted. Seems their seven habits can be boiled down to: plan, organize, ask the right people the right questions, delegate, monitor, measure, & inform.
    I think a business that follows these seven practical morsels of advice is well on their way to success. But as always, the devil is in the details – follow through is key.

  3. Nattie

    Get Into the ‘Habits’ of Growing Your Business

    One could say that I’m a Covey disciple; indeed he did set the business world ablaze with “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” I’d go as far to say that if a person adapts habit one the rest fall into place and poof – a successful person results. Sometimes habit one is described as “being proactive.”
    As Covey says, “…. life doesn’t just happen. Whether you know it or not, it is carefully designed by you.” In the “speak” of today, you have to own your life. We can’t keep blaming everything on your parents, grandparents, sisters or supervisors. Proactive people are responsible. I feel that if a person can master this concept (easier said than done – human nature drives us in a different direction) then his other concepts follow and success results.

  4. Jennifer

    Get Into the ‘Habits’ of Growing Your Business

    ” remain adaptable to changing situations and vigilant about new opportunities that might emerge in times of trouble.” – Great way of saying be opportunistic! :)

  5. Brock

    Get Into the ‘Habits’ of Growing Your Business

    While deep down I always knew that Covey’s seven tips were sound and a set of attributes that business should fold into their process I’ve always found them to be a bit “lofty” – a bit pie-in-the-sky. In a world that demands action, that screams for activity, – and a workforce that screeches “give me tasks” Covey’s work begs for an implementation model. I’ve sometimes found that people fail to put concrete action behind his work. And this is why I enjoyed the highlighting of the Entrepreneur Magazine recommendations. Excellent choice here. The article answers the question what real steps can be taken. Starting tomorrow, what do I do differently?

  6. Emily D.

    Get Into the ‘Habits’ of Growing Your Business

    Delegating tasks is very important but to be an effective manager you have to trust those you delegate to. No one like working for a micro-manager.

  7. efpierce

    Get Into the ‘Habits’ of Growing Your Business

    For a lot of us newbies, that advice is like gold! It’s true that creating a habit for success is important and it’s something that doesn’t come naturally. Working at it and making those tactics seem second nature is the key to growing a strong business. I am thankful that I found your site!

  8. Stephanie

    Get Into the ‘Habits’ of Growing Your Business

    I think your last bullet point is one of the more important once. Employees kept in the dark contribute to low morale. I worked for a small company once and the owner/president was very secretive about everything – and sometimes he wouldn’t even show up for important meetings. Once a few asked if he thought it might be a good idea to let us know when he was going to be out and he said it isn’t our business to know! Hmm!

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