Business success comes from being good at many facets. There are so many things that need to be done right and so many things that could go wrong. That is why over 2 out of 3 companies started in America fail within ten years. As a business person, you need to be knowledgeable and good at many things. We have identified the following success factors required for business success. All of us have one or more of these success factors that we need to work on.
Your beliefs and relationship with money and business will enable or impede your business success. If you were raised believing that money is the cause of misery in society or that it is impossible to make, your mind will ‘hold you back’ when you seek to make money. Similarly, if you believe (as some people do) that business plunders society and business people are evil, your subconscious mind will never let you be successful in business. If, on the other hand, you have a healthy relationship with making money and being in business, you can work on other factors to become more successful in business.
Desire is the need to possess or achieve something. If you desire something, you will seek the internal and external motivation to achieve it. Intrinsic motivations could be things like seeking prestige, wealth, financial independence or power. Extrinsic motivations could be things like wanting to please somebody, beat a competitor or acquire something. Is being in business aligned with your 'true north' - what you enjoy doing?
Your personality is a set of individual differences you possess that are affected by your development values, attitudes, personal memories, social relationships, habits, and skills.
Your instincts were developed over your lifetime. Each of those are based on what you heard, believe and experienced. Each of those were developed in specific contexts, some may be enabling your business success and others impeding it. The same is true for judgement. If you simply act and judge based on your past, your good instincts and good judgement will help you and the bad ones will not. Do you have good business instincts or bad ones. Also, do you use your conscious mind to monitor your instincts and judgement before you act? While you may need to change some beliefs, what matters is that your behavior is what is in your best interests.
Just as your instincts and judgement were shaped over your lifetime, so too were your emotional reactions to your internal thoughts and external situations. There are emotions like compassion that enable your business success whereas emotions like anger and violence that impede you. Do you understand your good and bad emotional behaviors within you and in interactions with others? Do you use your conscious mind to monitor your emotions and use it to achieve your business success?
How creative are you in your business - thinking laterally across different aspects of life and business to draw unique inferences and ideas? Warren Buffet spends 80% of his working day reading, thinking and making unique inferences and developing creative ideas. In brain terms, this is about how you use your right brain. Artistic type people use more of their right brain than their left. However, all of us use both to some extent. People like Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s associate study a wide range of subjects besides business and draw parallels to develop creative ideas in their business world.
Your intelligence and ability to analyze and make logical decisions. Everybody uses their conscious mind to varying degrees. To what extent are you able to discern a situation, analyze it and make a logical decision? Mindfulness is about being consciously aware. The most mindful people have their conscious mind monitor a great many of their instincts, judgements, emotions and creative ideas, and deciding how they will use it. Critical thinkers analyze situations and data better, and therefor make better decisions.
Business or commercial acumen is the understanding of how a business makes money. It requires an understanding of the different function of a business – finance, marketing, operations, strategy, etc., the interrelationships between them and how they affect the various financial measures of a business. A person with good business acumen knows how a business can and does make money. A large number of people who are in business are fairly illiterate on this measure leaving a few people in senior positions to pull the strings and drive the ship.
Every business is built to meet a need or solve a problem in the market. A clear understanding of the market need is a foundational need for a business. Companies with a technology seeking a problem are examples of the opposite. The solution that your business offers, in the form of a product or service as well as a clear understanding of how the solutions will be delivered to the market and where in the process your business will make money, how much and from whom is the business model. All of these are captured in a business plan which is generally required to run a business and obtain capital and support.
The objectives are aspirational and long-term whereas goals are concrete and short-term. An example objective is that you want to build a business that helps 1 billion people around the world become business thinkers that are able to run their own lives as businesses. A goal is an intermediate short-term milestone that is generally measured easily. In our example, if the goal is to have 10,000 people register on our website this month, I can measure our progress against our goal by counting the number of new registrations on businessthinking.com.
What you know and learn that informs your view of the world, your industry and business? What skills do you have that helps you be successful in your business? Your knowledge of business, industry and specific aspects of your business and markets is essential for your business success. Similarly, you may need specific skills to succeed in your business. Typical sources of knowledge and skills are colleges, universities, training programs, online MOOCs (massive online open courses), conferences, seminars and such. You can also acquire knowledge and skills on-the-job.
Success in business is not a one-person sport. Being able to network, relate to people, build relationships and leverage them is essential to business success. That manifests in team building and leadership. The personal brand of the business person, when cultivated carefully, can be an enabler of business success.
Do you know how you need to look, become and play the part for business success?
Our emotions change based on how hungry we are, what we eat and whether we got enough sleep last night. That’s physiology at work. In the same vein, have you wondered what you are doing when you drink a cup of coffee or an energy drink? Well, you are chemically changing your physiology so you are more alert. Do you think that physiology affects your business success?
There may be certain norms and expectations for certain professions and roles that one has to develop. It may be stamina required for a frequent business travelers or ability to work long hours for those in other professions. Or, it could be that you need to have a certain image for success. Do you know how you need to look and play the part for success in your business?
Are you building your personal brand and positioning it in a manner that enhances your ability to succeed in your business? For the industry, geography and business you're in, do you look and play the part?
People, capital, technology, materials, assets and whatever else you need to make your business a success - the resources required vary by industry and profession. This success factor covers a number of items that are widely covered in the business community - recruiting, retaining and developing the right talent, raising capital for different needs, R&D, innovation, materials required in businesses; and, assets required and acquired for the business.
Smart business people know that the key to building high quality repeatable solutions that can scale in the marketplace come from implementing good processes and systems.
Marketing to feed the funnel, sales to close sales and customer relationship management to keep the customers you have. Marketing attracts prospects and works with sales to qualify them as leads and converted to customers. Customer relationship management retains customers and keeps them happy. Businesses without customers are not businesses and those that cannot hold onto their existing customers run themselves into the ground looking for new ones.
Every goal needs measurement and feedback, whether numbers or qualitative feedback, whether from computers or from people, and, good business people will use the metrics and feedback to make corrections and achieve their business outcomes. Metrics could be leading, real-time and trailing ones and feedback could be from peers, employees, partners and external advisors so you can take corrective action.
A key success factor in business is execution. At the end of the day, money is made when business people smartly take carefully laid plans and resources to ‘make it happen’. If you don't make things happen, there is no value delivery to the client, no money received and therefore no business. Execution is where businesses grow or die, you succeed or fail and money is made or lost.
An ongoing business provides an income but cashing out of a business is what creates wealth, whether it is selling your ownership in the company or a merger.
From your experience, do these strike you as the essential ingredients for business success? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.