Business success is coveted by many but gotten by few. This is because success in business is predicated on many factors that an overwhelming majority of founders ignore.
Successful entrepreneurs know and follow all the secrets of business success.
This ultimate guide will give you everything it takes to scale your business. You cannot ignore any factor listed in this guide.
Statistics on success rates of startups
More than 90% of businesses ultimately fail. This means that only 1 out of 10 businesses survive in this tough and competitive marketplace.
Many people think that big businesses cannot fall. This is a fallacy. Big businesses are not invincible. We have seen big businesses being wiped out by a single economic depression.
For example, in the case of the 2008/2009 global economic depression, big names were wiped out. All of us thought that only startups and SMEs are at risk.
The fact is that businesses have to be taken care of regardless of their stage. A business in the seed or growth phase can fall. Still, businesses in the mature or aging stage can also fall. No business is exempted.
Effects of business success
Business success has tremendous positive effects on the founder, society, and the nation at large. Let us consider some effects:
- Financial fortune to the shareholders. The richest people in the world are people who got business success.
- Source of employment. Big companies like Toyota, Google, and Wal-Mart employ hundreds of thousands of workers. In this case, they feed millions of people every month.
- Business success is also a win for governments. The bigger the business, the more the taxes.
- Philanthropy through CSR. Many big companies are adopting CSR as a major business function. Many have affiliate foundations that they use to help the community they do business in.
- Big businesses can fund research and development and thus, advancing the way we live and do business.
Therefore, everybody gains when a business succeeds.
27 tips to business success
Since success in business is invaluable to all of us, we need to help each other grow. Read this guide and build the next Apple or Facebook. Those who built such brands are not superior to you.
1. Innovative business ideas
every business is a product of an idea. If the idea was not innovative, business failure is guaranteed. The business idea determines the fate of the business in the long run.
There are two ways to look at it. One, invent. This is where you come up with something new altogether. Two, Innovate. Innovation means improving on an existing invention.
As an entrepreneur, you can invent a business idea based on market challenges. This will give you the first-mover advantage.
Two, you can improve on an existing idea. This is called doing the same thing differently. For example, LinkedIn is like Facebook but they serve a different purpose and market segment. Despite both being social media platforms, they are different in usage and positioning.
If you have a superior product in the market, you can charge a premium price. This means more revenue and profit.
2. Provide value to the market
How much improvement do you intend to bring to the marketplace? Are you offering any value to the customers you serve? What is your product helping people accomplish?
The best business ideas are answers to hurting people. They help people accomplish what they could not have accomplished by themselves.
Think of Google. Where can you get so much timely, free, and relevant information in the world if not on Google? This is what value provision is about.
Identify the value your business provides and find innovative ways of increasing it. The more you increase the value you provide in the market, the more you get an edge over your competitors.
3. Have a mission
Any person that starts a business without a clear mission is doomed to fail. The mission of a business is defined in its mission statement.
A mission statement defines the purpose of the business. Over and above making a profit, why are you doing what you do?
Successful entrepreneurs are always mission-driven. They inspire everybody else to help accomplish the mission. Successful entrepreneurs make people work for the mission rather than for them.
4. Hard work
Growing a business is very hard in this competitive business ecosystem. Therefore, you need to put all your energy and time into the business to succeed. You must be ready to put in the hours to get business success.
Entrepreneurs work between 14-18 hours a day. Productivity is their main goal. Since they need more time, they buy it by hiring employees to help them work.
If you are not ready to work extra hard, you are not ready for success in business.
5. Business strategy
A business strategy is a plan detailing how a business will gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Without a proper business strategy, a business will be outperformed by its competitors. Your competitors will take all your customers and your revenue.
Michael Porter came up with what we call the generic business strategies. They include:
- Cost leadership– Where you produce at less cost than your competitors and thus charge a lesser price than them or make more profits by selling at the same price.
- Differentiation– This is where you have a set of different offerings in the market. This allows you to stand out. You can charge a premium on the differentiated products.
- Focus– This entails serving a certain niche. A niche is a section of the market. You can define your niche geographically, demographically, by gender, etc.
With a winning business strategy and execution, business success is guaranteed.
6. Great team
Having a great team is critical to success in business. Successful entrepreneurs surround themselves with people who are more skilled and gifted than they are.
People who fail in business employ people who are not that skilled because they want to save on the cost of wages. They also want to dominate them and make them puppets.
Little do they know that a business is as good as its team. Therefore, hire with caution.
7. Seamless sales
Super successful businesses have a way of reaching their customers wherever they are. They make the process of sales very easy and seamless.
It is worthless to admire a product that I cannot access. This is the case with many businesses. They build great products but do not have a way of getting them to the convenience of their customers.
Invest in a good distribution system, and a great sales team and systems. Make payments as convenient as possible. Give after-sale services to your clients.
8. Marketing campaigns
No business can succeed without effective marketing. Marketing is the process of making your product known in the market and giving people a reason to purchase it.
Marketing can create demand and satisfy it. It creates demand when it convinces a person who had no business purchasing your product or those of your competitors to buy.
Marketing satisfies demand by helping a stranded prospect make an informed decision.
There are many forms of marketing. They include:
- Printed banners, fliers, magazines, eBooks, etc.
- TV and Radio commercials.
- Digital marketing over the internet. For example, social media marketing and SEO.
- Content marketing on various platforms e.g. a blog.
- Word of Mouth.
- Conferences and roadshows etc.
These are just the main marketing channels. There are many more out there. Develop a marketing strategy and implement it successfully.
9. Customer service
Business success has so much to do with how you handle your customers. At all stages of the sales process, you have to make the customer feel cared for, important, and respected.
Customer service starts with the tone you use in your marketing campaigns. It also entails how you engage with prospects who are interested in your product.
Since consumers have numerous options to choose from, the only business that will retain them is the one that gives them an experience; a feeling of awesomeness.
Customers who get an awesome experience in their purchase process become brand loyalists. They help you with word of mouth marketing which has proven to be the most effective form of marketing.
10. Have a vision
Every business should have a vision. This is what they wish to achieve and by when. It is the destination they wish to get to after following their mission.
The vision of a business is defined in the vision statement. It can also be stated in the company objectives and goals.
A vision will help you stay on track and analyze results over time. As has always been said, if you do not know where you are going, you will never know when you arrive.
11. Proper financial records
Every entity that desires business success must keep proper financial records. It is not a matter of choice here.
Even if you will not hire a CPA, make sure you can draw basic financial statements like the balance sheets or the income statements.
Record all your transactions be it with suppliers, partners, or customers. This is called bookkeeping. Calculate all the useful accounting ratios and know what the figures are telling you.
12. Stay focused
Many entrepreneurs fail when they try to do everything. Even before they bring stability to their business activities, they quit and start another one from scratch.
Such entrepreneurs never succeed. They waste time and resources. Follow one course until it is successful. You can then move to another industry after you get this success.
Focus helps you to gather experience in a certain industry. The more the experience you have, the more the possibility of success.
13. Business analysis
Successful business managers keep analyzing their businesses. Analyzing a business helps you discover whether the strategies and tactics you employed are working.
What is not measured cannot be improved. Therefore, keep analyzing and reshaping your strategies as you move towards business success.
There are many tools developed for business analysis purposes. The most common ones include:
- SWOT Analysis
- PEST Analysis
- PESTLE Analysis
- Porter Five Force Analysis
- MOST Analysis
Perform business analysis weekly to avoid losing track.
14. Competitors’ analysis
Every successful business keeps an eye on the competitors. They identify their strengths and weaknesses and then capitalize on that information.
Business strategy and marketing plans should be informed partly by what your competitors are doing.
Your networks can be invaluable to your quest for success in business. They can give you sales or refer you to potential customers.
Know important people. Attend functions that are attended by the people you want in your networks. Focus on them when you meet them. Show genuine care and friendship and you will win over their hearts.
16. Proper pricing
Your pricing has a lot to do with your business success. If you overprice your product, you lose potential sales. If you underprice your product, you lose potential revenue and profits.
To get the optimal price for your product, you can analyze your competitors’ pricing. You can also have a pricing pilot phase. Here, you test the reaction of the customer and make adjustments.
17. Proper location
If your business is a brick and mortar, you need to be careful about the location you choose.
The place has to be occupied by your customer target segment. It should have enough people to generate demand for your product.
18. Digitize your business
More than 4 billion people globally are active users of the internet. This is a market you cannot afford to ignore.
Over and above having a physical location, you can set up an eCommerce store as a substitute. Every business must also seek to increase their social media following.
No serious business should lack a business website. The website should be the digital gate by which your customers visit.
In all you do, make sure you are connecting, engaging, and selling online.
19. Have multiple products
Multiple products increase the authority of your business. They also give customers buying options.
As products age, develop new products and push them to the market. Have a product in all stages of the product life cycle.
20. Financial leverage
Ensure that your business is well funded using other people’s money (OPM). Debt is extremely important to any business. It acts as a catalyst for growth.
21. Cost management
Businesses that seek success must put their cost in check. High cost means less profit. Less profit means less funding for growth.
To manage cost, have a cost policy. Determine the appropriate cost to revenue ratio. Make sure you enforce that policy by all means possible.
Negotiate with new suppliers and renegotiate with the existing ones. Never incur a cost for what you do not need in your business. Do not pay for more than a commodity is worth.
22. Plowing profits for growth
If you consume all your profits, you will never grow. Have a dividend policy and keep to it. As a shareholder, do not withdraw from the business more than your dividend policy dictates.
23. Protect your brand
Brands can be wiped out in a day. If your brand reputation and the image is tarnished, your chances of success are very slim. This is why you ought to make PR a significant part of your business.
24. Follow your business values
Your values are your moral policies. You cannot go against them. Let your business enforce the values and live by them.
Business can be hard most of the time. You need a persevering spirit to make it.
If you thought that you will break even in 6 months and you are still making losses after two years, will you still hold on? This is what perseverance is about.
It is not those who start a business that succeeds but those who hold on to the end. Never give up.
26. Read widely
All successful entrepreneurs are great readers. This includes Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Mark Cuban, Elon Musk, etc.
Reading helps an entrepreneur get knowledge and ideas of managing their businesses to grow. Read widely and deeply as an entrepreneur and you will get business success.
27. Keep fit
You will never be truly successful in business if you are not personally fit. The effort and work that startups demand to grow need a person who is physically fit.
Make it a priority to exercise often. This will refresh your mind and make it more active.
Final thoughts on business success
Success in business is possible but it is never easy. However, if you follow this ultimate guide, you will make it. All the best in this pursuit