Sometimes becoming successful in the business world can seem like a more a matter of luck than anything else. But according to #bosslady Sasha Simmons, there are eight things that every successful business leader has- no exceptions- that have nothing to do with luck. 

1. They think like there is no box. 

Seriously, forget about the box you were taught to think outside of and strategize how you can level up your business. Start by asking what your market is and how you can better connect to it. If you were not invited to an important industry event, connect to other industry leaders by posting positive comments on their event pictures. By repurposing the tools already on your toolbelt, like the power of social media engagement, you can overcome obstacles to your business’s growth.  

2. They make the right connections.  

Specifically, they make four crucial connections: the Mentor, the Champion, the Sponsor, and the Devil’s Advocate. The Mentor is your prime social and professional connection, the one who can introduce you to the right people at networking events, guides you through challenges your business faces, and has already been where you are. The Champion is that person who, no matter what, supports you and your business. The Sponsor is your connection to the social and economic resources your business needs. And the Devil’s Advocate takes time to help you think through potential holes in your ideas or business plan.

3. They take game-changing risks. 

Many business leaders acknowledge the risks they’ve taken as what led to their success. But these risks are extremely calculated. Before you make a game-changing risk, consider how it could affect your finances, relationships, reputation, or health. For example, if you abandon a steady paycheck to focus on your venture, be aware of all the potential consequences, including not being able to pay a bill on time. Although you should accept that failure is a possible byproduct of risk, the anticipated success should be more likely and substantially outweigh any potential consequences. Otherwise, you should not take the risk. 

4. Their work is researched. 

Although the most successful business leaders take risks, they aren’t reckless. Use your free time, whether this is the hour before bed or your drive home from work, to be productive for your business. Whether you read about new technology, listen to podcasts on your industry, or research your competition, continually learning more about your industry will keep you innovating, and give your business the competitive edge necessary to succeed. 

5. They’re authentic. 

It pays to be yourself. Seriously, being uniquely you is the secret to success. When you’re authentic, you attract similarly minded individuals who will help catapult your ideas into something profitable and foster the long-term relationships necessary to succeed. To test if you are presenting your true self in business, ask yourself whether those around you align with your aspirations. If the answer is no, it’s time to make some changes. 

6. They know their numbers.

People, especially potential stakeholders and investors, will ask you for your numbers when they are thinking about funding you. These numbers include, but are not limited to, working capital, profit margin, and expenses. You need to know them and have them easily accessible. Before talking to any potential investor or business partner, research all the numbers they might want, and go in with them prepared. 

7. They know when and how to focus. 

There is a ton of distractions out there. The trick is to recognize what they are, know how to block them out, and go where they don’t seem to happen. Even the small, seemingly harmless habits, like keeping your phone on your desk, can sabotage your productivity. When you’re approaching a deadline, some of the best things you can do is set yourself to away on Slack, leave your phone in another room, and turn all your notifications off on your computer. These small changes alleviate distractions and help center your attention on the work you have in front of you. 

8. They have an accountability partner. 

Where your connections help catapult your professional self toward success, your accountability partner keeps the human inside sane. Some days are harder than others, and that’s okay. Having someone hold you responsible for your mission and values will help keep you on track toward your intended impact. This person should be someone you trust, who will be real with you, and who is reliable.