There are a lot of steps on the path to success. For a small business owner, many little tweaks and changes to a financial plan could be what is needed to take the company to the next level. All positive growth comes out of hard work, however, and the best in the industry regularly find ways to capitalize on their opportunities.

Not all entrepreneurs are made alike, though. The path from a start-up to a small business and beyond is a bumpy one, and great leaders do things that set themselves apart from other professionals. They also look to avoid costly mistakes and make the right choices when necessary.

What entrepreneurs shouldn't do
Everyone makes mistakes. This is a fact of life, and it is especially true for a small business owner. In order to ensure that any errors don't drastically damage a financial plan, every firm should take a look at what others have done in order to grow successfully.

According to Steve Tobak in an article for Entrepreneur magazine, there is a difference between good leaders and great ones. Not everyone is formed from the same mold, but many do share similar traits – which appear to be critical to overall success.

For starters, many small business owners shouldn't worry too much about a work-life balance. The nature of the profession is that a lot of work is required early on, so more days may be spent at the office than at home. That is OK, as long as the person isn't losing their sanity over it. In many cases, the best entrepreneurs love to work, so that is how they end up spending the majority of their time. Also, money isn't the prime goal starting out. Great profits won't appear early on, but with financial services and hard work, that time could come. 

In addition, great small business owners shouldn't be fearful. Tobak explained that nobody is fearless, but that shouldn't stop anyone from reaching for their goals. In some cases, risks will have to be taken. A little bit of doubt is all right, but it can't cripple growth and expansion.

Success comes from preparation
According to Robert Normand in an article for Business Know-How, successful businesses have a number of traits that failing ones don't have. Certain financial tips could help owners evolve into strategic leaders and great managers of people.

One way small business owners can set themselves apart is by integrating positive personal traits into their own company, Normand explained. A good attitude is a must for any firm's leadership, and that can wind its way down to all levels of the venture. Also, they need to be committed to their cause, patient and persistent. Without traits such as these, odds are, success will be harder to come by. A strong financial plan can also help keep the business on track and moving in the right direction.

Moreover, quality firms are designed to grow. Normand added that an organizational structure can make or break a company, and the better these are the more likely success will happen. This can include policies and other structures which keep employees productive. Everyone's role needs to be defined clearly, and high-quality training programs can help facilitate success. However, the other side of the coin is needed too – strong discipline. Without appropriate punishment, the entire business could suffer.

Overall, a great small business starts from the top and works its way down. If the owner is a driven, motivated individual who is well organized, they should be able to see their company succeed and grow.