Have you ever tried to do business with someone who didn’t seem to take pleasure in the job, or care? Perhaps you didn't go back to this person because you didn't like the way you were treated, or lacked confidence in that business as a whole.

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Did you then spread the word to others about your bad experience?

When you own your own business, “bad press” like this can affect your bottom line and your reputation. The solution is to foster and maintain a strong work ethic. A strong work ethic energizes you and your employees to face your challenges head-on, be your best and keep you at the top of your game.

Here are the seven key components of a rock-solid work ethic.

1. Professionalism

Being professional involves everything from how you dress and present yourself in the business world to the way you treat others. Professionalism is such a broad category, in fact, that it basically encompasses all the other elements of a strong work ethic.

2. Respectfulness

You display grace under pressure: No matter how tight the deadline or heated the tempers, you always remain poised and diplomatic. Whether you’re serving a customer, meeting with a client or collaborating with colleagues, you do your best to respect everyone’s opinions, especially under trying circumstances. This shows you value people’s individual worth as well as their professional contributions.

3. Dependability

You can be relied on to keep your promises. You are always on time and prepared for meetings, and deliver your work on schedule and on budget. Your reputation for reliability precedes you because you’ve proven over time that customers, clients and colleagues can trust you to do everything you say you will. In an uncertain world, your customers, colleagues and clients will appreciate the stability you embody.

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4. Dedication

You don’t stop until the job is done, and done right. “Good enough” is not good enough for you and your team. You aim for "outstanding" in everything you do. You put in the extra hours to get things right, giving attention to detail and devotion to excellence. Your passion shows in how hard you work and the results you achieve.

5. Determination

You don’t let obstacles stop you, and enthusiastically embrace challenges like a mountain climber who ascends higher and higher until the summit is reached. You know that your job as an entrepreneur is to solve your clients’ problems, and you resolve to continually seek better and more innovative answers. With purpose and resilience, you push ahead, no matter how far you have to go.

6. Accountability

You take personal responsibility for your actions and outcomes in every situation, and avoid making excuses when things don’t go as planned. You admit your mistakes and use them as learning experiences so you won’t make the same ones again. You also expect your employees to meet the same high standards, and support those who accept responsibility instead of blaming others.

7. Humility

You acknowledge everyone’s contributions, and freely share credit for accomplishments. You show gratitude to colleagues who work hard, and appreciation to your loyal clients. You have integrity in spades, and are open to learning from others, even as you teach people through your words, actions and example. And, while you always take your work seriously, you strive always to maintain a sense of humor about yourself.

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