10 Things That Are Critical For Business Success
It’s one thing to start a business, but quite another to make sure that business enjoys some level of success. Most small businesses will fail within their first three years of operation, and around a fifth of businesses fail in just one year. With that in mind, it’s incredibly important to do everything you possibly can to try to ensure your business stays afloat, and while you don’t have control over everything, some things are within your grasp. Here are 10 things that are critical for business success.
1. An entrepreneurial mindset
It’s actually quite difficult to quantify exactly what constitutes an “entrepreneurial mindset”, but in broad terms, it simply means the dedication and commitment to see your business succeed. You should always be thinking in terms of what will work best for your business and how you can achieve that, trying to turn opportunities to your advantage and never seeing failure as anything other than a learning opportunity. It’s not easy, but it will come in handy more and more as your business grows.
Funding might be a more practical and less exciting concern than many other elements of your business, but it is important to have money, for obvious reasons. There are lots of funding avenues open to you when it comes to raising capital for your business. Loans and investors are two of the most common places business owners look for money, but you can also use personal savings or personal loans from trustworthy providers to fund aspects of your business as well.
When you’re talking to other business owners or experts, you’re probably going to hear the old “it’s who you know” maxim a lot, but there’s a good reason it’s such a well-travelled phrase; it happens to be true. Networking will get you far in the world of business; it creates crucial connections you could leverage for mutual benefit in the future, and it also means you know where to go if you need advice (as well as any potential business collaborations!).
Traditionally, many business owners have held that a competitive mindset is essential for getting ahead in business. To a certain extent, this is true; you should be willing to carve out a niche and fight for it, after all. However, excessive competition without acknowledging the benefits of collaboration is foolish. Talking to other businesses and seeing if there’s a way you can work together rather than against one another could have much more tangible benefits than endlessly fighting.
When you start hiring staff (and hopefully it will be a when, not an if), you need to make sure that you never forget the people working for you are just that: people. They have schedules, just like you, and they may also have families or obligations that they need to balance with their working life. Expecting employees to work for long hours isn’t just unfair; it’s also likely to lose you crucial personnel, who will then be hired by rival companies more empathetic to their needs.
6. A clear business plan
This is less of a personal quality and more of a must-have for your business as a whole. If you don’t have a clear, concise business plan, then you’re going to struggle to establish yourself. It should be immediately obvious what your business objectives are, how you plan to achieve them, and what potential challenges could lie in your way. Working all of this out will make you look good to investors, charm potential hires, and help you to keep things clear in your mind.
7. The right staff
While it’s important to have empathy for your staff, you should also make sure that you’ve hired the right people. If you hire someone who isn’t committed to the job and doesn’t have the right experience or attitude, then you’re going to suffer for it later down the line, however enthusiastic they may be. It pays to be closely involved in the interview process at all stages, because then you can develop a better idea of who would make a good candidate and who wouldn’t.
8. A willingness to take risks
No business ever succeeded without taking risks. It’s all very well to carve a niche for yourself and then remain steadfastly within that niche, but that won’t result in growth. Proactively looking for growth opportunities and taking them, even if they might seem like risky ventures, is the way to establish yourself as a truly forward-thinking business with a progressive attitude. This will also put you in a better light for investors, who will see that you’re willing to take those risks (within reason, of course).
Picture this: you’re sitting at your desk trying to analyse your business accounts, but you can’t because the desk is strewn with papers and you can’t find anything. That’s not a good state of affairs, right? That should give you a good idea of how important it is to stay organised as a business owner. You should be dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s at every available opportunity, keeping hard copies of everything you can, and double-checking everything before you sign it.
There are, inevitably, going to be times when your business looks like it might be in trouble. Those are the moments when it’s most important to demonstrate perseverance and a dedicated attitude. If you just give up as soon as things look like they might be heading for a downturn, then you might not be cut out to be an entrepreneur. Look for new opportunities, try to reassess your current business plan, and work to lift your business out of the doldrums. You’ll be glad you did.