Business Owners (or as I call them BizOwners) need a lot of habits in order to succeed. Before I tell you what I think is the most important habit bizowners need, I should probably define what a habit is. In general terms, a habit is an action or thought pattern, developed through repetition, which is for the most part automatic. Bizowners use habits all the time to make their lives easier and to make their businesses grow. Some use habits to always give the best service. Some use habits to keep track of their finances on a regular basis, and some use habits to simply return phone calls and e-mails on time. We all have habits and we all use them all the time. How many of us have developed the “I can’t live without my smart phone” habit?

To pick one habit over another as far as importance is a very tough job, because each of habits we have acquired impacts our success in its own way. For me the one most overlooked and underutilized habit most BizOwners should have to make sure their small business grows and succeeds is the CAP habit. CAP stands for Customer Acquisition Plan. If I had to pick one habit that impacts the success or failure of a small business the most, it is this habit. A Customer Acquisition Plan is what you do on a daily, weekly or monthly basis to generate NEW business. For some successful business owners it is making 10 calls a day to new customers. To others it is canvassing a neighborhood once a week for 3-4 hours, and for some it is sending out 30 e-mails a week to prospects. In any case, for a CAP to work it needs to become a habit. Routine and repetition are keys to successful long term growth. Doing something once doesn’t make it a habit. Doing something twice or three times doesn’t make it a habit. Doing something 21 times or more begins the process of making a habit.

If you want your business to grow and develop long-term momentum then let me give you a challenge. Take a four hour block of time each week and do nothing in the block of time but look for new customers. Use your individual strengths and your knowledge to figure out the best way of doing the prospecting, but do it for four hours and do nothing else in that time period. Block the time off in your calendar and don’t let anyone or anything get in the way of this activity. It is important that you pick the same time each week. This makes it easier to develop a habit. If you do this for a minimum of 21 weeks, you will begin to develop the CAP habit, and you will be amazed at the growth and momentum you will achieve. This is a competitive advantage that I can pretty much guarantee your competition is NOT doing!

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