There are many qualities and characteristics delineating what separates highly successful businesses from those which are more mediocre. So how can you determine what makes a successful business?
When you look at big businesses that have grown from being a start-up, you can notice similarities about the businesses. For example, their work ethic and/or their approach. But even the greatest of ideas can struggle to take off without a strong leader within the business. Similarly, a great entrepreneur can take an idea and transform it into something legendary.
Although there is no ‘one size that fits all’ theory for how to develop and run a successful business, there are a few guidelines that can help those with great ideas to evolve into successful entrepreneurs. Here are ten must have characteristics of a successful business.
1. Have a clear vision
Of course the first important characteristic is to have a clear vision. If you don’t have a clear vision of the business that you are trying to create, then how can you be successful in creating it? First of all you need to figure out exactly the type of company you are looking to build. For example, where do you see it l being in five years’ time? Do you have a goal for the number of customers you’ll have? The number of employees? Having a clear vision of where you want your business to go will help to contribute to its success.
2. Have a business plan
As well as having a clear vision of what you want your business to achieve, you should also have a plan detailing exactly how you will make your business successful. According to Entrepreneur, writing out your business plan forces you to review everything at once; your marketing assumptions, operations plan, financial plan and staffing plan, helping you to spot connections you otherwise would have missed. Within your business plan you should identify what you want to accomplish in the next twelve months to ensure you’re on the right path to achieving your long-term goals for your business.
3. Create short-term goals
As well as having a business plan for long-term goals, the most successful businesses are those which have measurable short-term goals. Specifically, they identify what the company needs to achieve in the next quarter, month and week to ensure that they meet their annual goals. Goal setting is not a one-time event when formulating your business plan, but an ongoing process. It’s important to remember that goal setting shouldn’t solely be about how much revenue you want to generate. It could relate to your service offerings, business growth, or anything that is important to enhancing the business.
4. Skill development
As well as setting goals for the business, you should ensure that your skill development is continuous. Success is the result of expanding your knowledge and developing those skills to the best of your ability, providing investment in your brand and quality assurance. To be successful, businesses should commit resources and time to training their employees to ensure that everyone can work as effectively and efficiently for the business. With the changing nature of businesses, you should provide continual training for your employees, something which you should include within your business plan. You should implement frequent assessments of your training and operations and, if you uncover a weak area, address it through revising your methods.
5. Be a great marketer
Businesses usually receive the most success through their marketing efforts, so ensure that your business has a clear marketing plan in place. Of course, if you’re providing a good service to your customers you will benefit from word of mouth recommendation, but usually you want or need your business to grow faster. The key to your marketing plan is to utilise as many marketing channels as possible. For example, attracting customers through pay-per-click advertising, newsletters and social media is likely to attract more customers than it would from using just one of these channels.
6. Get to know your customers
One of the best characteristics a successful business can have is knowing their customers and providing what they are looking for. Being able to understand your customers’ needs should be at the centre of every successful business, whether you sell directly to your customers, or to other businesses. The more you know about your customers and their needs, the more effective your marketing efforts will be. By talking to your customers you can learn a great deal from them. Ask them why or why not they’re buying from you and what they would want to see more of or differently in the future. This way you can have a valuable picture of what’s important to them and can provide them with that product or service to help your business become successful, as well as having a loyal customer base.
7. Be willing to change
If you are committed to developing a successful business, it’s important for you to think on your feet and to be willing to change if something isn’t working. With today’s changing and competitive business scene, the ability to change and adapt when necessary is crucial. Effective change is evidenced when you are regularly evaluating and adapting your business plan and goals to ensure that you achieve the vision you set for your business.
8. Be financially prepared
Running a business can be a rather expensive venture and you’ll need to have the right financial profile to make the leap. Many small businesses struggle in their first year, with unexpected expenses needing payment. Or perhaps you need to add more budget to your marketing plan to get your name out there. According to Bplans, the reason many businesses fail isn’t because they are unprofitable, but because they are unable to pay their debts as they fall due. With start-ups, main focus is on cash flow and breaking even; for already established businesses who are running profitably, it becomes less important. To ensure you can run a successful business it’s important to be financially prepared for anything that might be thrown at you. By having something such as a business cash advance you are able to put more budget into your business plans, or even expand your business without having to worry.
9. Never give up
Of course the life of a business owner isn’t ever going to be easy, particularly in the early days. There’s likely to always be more work that can be done and there can be significant ups and downs along the way. However, you should never give up, even when business looks bad. By sticking to your business plan you can ensure that you attain the goals you set out and that your business becomes successful.
10. Be passionate
Of course it’s impossible to have a successful business if you don’t yourself believe it will be successful and are truly passionate about your work. If you’re passionate then you are likely to be more productive with your business and help it to grow.