Often I have been asked what it takes to be a success in business. I contacted seven SCORE volunteers who own or have successfully operated small businesses.

The most prevalent opinion was to "Get off on the right foot." That meant doing research on the market and the competition, defining a specific market, having adequate financing to start the business and to sustain it until income catches up with expenses, and having the energy and the commitment to take the plunge.

Here are additional tips:

Get the job done right the first time. Quality is everything. And get it done on time. Your customers will have you on a short leash. Follow through on your commitments. A tireless focus on delivering great customer value and experiences covers a multitude of business sins. Call your customer a week or two after delivering an order or service and ask if the customer was satisfied. Thank the customer for providing you with the chance to serve.

Lead by example. Start early and work late. Be friendly with customers and employees, but don't overdo it. You're there to get the job done, hopefully in a fun way.