Get Weekly Coaching Tip
Ready to Grow Your Business Fast?
Here’s How I Grew Five Businesses, and Eventually Sold One to a Fortune 500 Company.
The Keys to Business Success | 20-Point Exhaustive Checklist
Keys to Business Success A 20-Point Exhaustive Checklist
Attaining the keys to business success is a difficult yet rewarding journey!
The road towards finding the keys to business success can be long and complicated and requires careful planning and hard work to conquer. It’s no secret that there are many successful companies globally, but this doesn’t mean that it’s easy to achieve greatness. We often associate business success with large corporations like Apple, Microsoft, or GE. However, small businesses also enjoy a high level of success and can be tremendously rewarding.
“Almost everything worthwhile carries with it some sort of risk, whether it’s starting a new business, whether it’s leaving home, whether it’s getting married, or whether it’s flying into space.” – Chris Hadfield
What is the secret behind their achievements? The answer to this question varies from one company to another, but there are some common threads that successful companies share. Before we delve into how to achieve business success and the various keys to business success, let’s look at why businesses fail.
What Is The Major Reason Behind Business Failures?
Lack Of Planning And Preparation.
Sometimes companies fail because they don’t have a proper plan of action for their new business. They tend to jump into the market without doing any research or simply ignoring current industry trends. Or, on the other hand, they overestimate their capabilities and resources and don’t plan accordingly for future roadblocks and problems.
Not Adhering To Market Needs.
The second reason that leads to business failure is the lack of customer orientation. Businesses that fail tend to ignore market needs and preferences and try to sell unsuitable products or services, thus getting a low demand for their offerings.
Both of these reasons are closely related, but one of the major aspects of business success is the ability to offer products and services that are on-demand in the market. This not only helps you get your first customers easily; it also helps your business stay alive despite tough competition or changing times.
How Can You Run A Successful Business?
The keys to business success elude most business owners, and it’s not really a surprise – the road to success is complicated. Believe it or not, even well-known companies like Apple and Microsoft faced difficult times before getting through their early years.
It is widely known that, on average, 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years of start-up, 45% fail during the first five years, and 65% shut down during the first 10 years. Only about 25% of new businesses make it to 15 years or more. So how can your business be among the 25%? Let’s explore the “how”! Don’t ignore these keys to success!
Keys to Business Success – A 20-Point Exhaustive Checklist
Invest in Your Education
As an entrepreneur, you need to arm yourself with the knowledge to learn how to achieve business success and handle tough situations and complications that will inevitably arise. You should take up courses, seminars, or webinars related to your field of business and can also read books on entrepreneurship and management. Successful business owners invest in their education and keep themselves updated with the latest trends and market demands.
“The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.” – Colin R. Davis.
Perhaps the most important of the keys to business success is learning. While it may not always be a prerequisite to running a successful business (and the examples are numerous), don’t pass an opportunity to learn whenever you can. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, take it up and acquire as much knowledge as you can. That includes management, business start-up strategy, organization or financial management, etc. It may not even be an immediate skill/piece of knowledge you need right away. But having it in your toolbox will pay dividends when you need it.
Be Action-Oriented: Number 1 of the Top Keys to Business Success
Taking action is the key to success – it’s as simple as that. It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting or your business has been established for some time now – one of the keys to business success is taking action and delivering results.
When learning how to achieve business success, you can study all about marketing, management, and organizational skills over the years, but what will actually make your business grow is taking action. Without doing something, you will not get any results, and your business won’t be successful.
“Stop chasing the money and start chasing the passion.” – Tony Hsieh
You’ll need to take a step (or two or three) back and put in the hard work required to achieve the goals you set for yourself and your business. Successful individuals are often described as hardworking and action-oriented, so if you want to succeed in business, that’s one of many keys to business success.
Gaining knowledge and new insight or relevant skills is critical in running a business, no doubt. However, knowing how to achieve business success means your plans and goals should be action-oriented – be swift to act. My coaching clients understand this is one of the most important keys to business success. Business coaching clients who take action get spectacular results!
“The best investment is in the tools of one’s own trade.” – Benjamin Franklin.
Many persons have imagined and envisioned themselves owning and running a successful business. However, most rob themselves of their dreams because they fail to act on them. Don’t hide behind the research of how to achieve business success each day to delay and procrastinate in starting your business or moving it to a realm of greater success. Many people suffer from “paralysis by analysis.” Don’t do that! Take action now. Apply the knowledge you already have on how to achieve business success. You’ll have more opportunities to learn on the way, both from experience and from other structured learning programs.
No matter how much knowledge you may have on how to achieve business success, it’ll matter very little to your goal of a successful business if you fail to act. Dreams are dreams and will remain imaginary until it is accompanied by a corresponding action. Turn a dream into action by setting a due date and telling others about your goal.
Present Relevant Products to Help You Attain The Keys to Business Success
Many businesses fail because they sell the wrong products and services to the wrong people. For instance, if you are selling weight loss supplements but your target market comprises persons suffering from heart diseases, it will be a waste of time for both clients and yourself. You will not make any money or have any happy customers either.
“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really: Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.” – Thomas J. Watson
The process of product development is about serving people, listening to them, and providing the things they actually need. It’s not just about inventing something that you think will be cool or interesting – it has to present value to someone, and that is how to achieve business success. I’m sure you all remember the story of James Dyson, who was convinced by his wife to keep on working on his vacuum cleaner design. Prior to its launch, the market was already saturated with several competitive products.
People who took action succeeded; people who did not fail. There are many reasons why people fail in business, but this is one of the main reasons (if not THE reason) why businesses fail: they sell what they think people need, not what they really want. There is no how-to achieve business success doing this.
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney
Many businesses fail because there is no real demand for their products. The business idea might be great, but if the product or service does not solve a problem or meet a need of someone out there, then that business will end up failing. Make sure to do proper market research before launching any products or services.
Don’t get me wrong; I am not saying that you should never invent your own product. In fact, you can invent a new product or service by stumbling upon an unmet need in the market and then selling a solution to it. If there is a gap in the market for a specific problem, you can become an entrepreneur overnight.
However, you need to realize that new products and services are usually very risky business ventures, so make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into before taking any steps in this direction.
Build a competent team
Many people fail in business because of poor teamwork. Working on your own is somehow easy, but working with others can be hard. However, you should not be selfish and work alone to achieve success. Work with others who have abilities that complement yours. Play to each individual’s strength so that the whole team becomes strong. This is how to achieve business success easily.
Build a team of people who are more talented than you are. So many entrepreneurs fail because they’re bad at their job, but because they lack the strong team behind them to get things done.
“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” – Theodore Roosevelt
The business idea may be great, but success will not be attained if the entrepreneur lacks competence or has no good relationship with their employees.
A bad team will kill your business even if you have a fantastic idea because your idea can only go as far as your competence and the competency of those who work with you.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb.
Most often than not, small businesses thrive when there is teamwork. As such, one of the important keys to success in your business, you must carefully select those you want on your team. Being the business owner, especially in small- to medium-sized businesses, you’re most likely in charge of making hiring decisions. As such, strive to hire those who have the necessary skill set to fit your business to accomplish the set goals. Create the ideal employee profile in advance, and then compare your candidates to the profile.
“Play by the rules, but be ferocious.” – Phil Knight
When we speak of a team, we referred to those serving in various business areas: accountants, consultants, business attorneys, or sales agents. Their effectiveness in their delegated responsibilities will reflect on the overall success of the business. Consider those who have the necessary experience, including working in similar businesses or industries, before hiring them.
Learn from Others – One of the Most Important Keys to Business Success
Along with formal education, one of the keys to business success is not being afraid to learn from others. While you may have experience in your industry, it pays to learn from others who are ahead of you. This is how to achieve business success.
It doesn’t matter if they are well-known or not, study them carefully and try to understand their moves. Learn what makes them successful and implement those strategies in your business to avoid mistakes they made. But remember at the same time that you must be careful not to copy them.
That’s because it is very much easy to be successful copying others, but in the long run, your prospects for continued success are slim. The reason is simple; you will never have a new idea or path of your own if you do not create anything original. Furthermore, competitors may see your work, read between the lines, and get ahead of you.
“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” – Bruce Lee.
“Instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are, we should compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow men. It then appears that we are among the privileged.” – Helen Keller.
When you study how others have achieved success in their businesses, you can learn from their mistakes or challenges that gave them sleepless nights. You can then use this information when planning your business strategy, which will help make it easier to achieve success.
Learning from other peoples’ failure
To learn how to achieve business success, connect with other business owners, and try to learn a thing to two from their experiences and how they’ve been successful. Of course, you can only learn from someone who has something to give. You can’t achieve success by learning from a failure, can you? You can! Learning from other’s failures can be very instructive.
There are two lessons that you can learn from every failure. The first is if the other person could have avoided it, so can you! And second, what should they do differently next time? If you only take the first lesson and ignore the second one, then your brain will try its best to avoid making the same mistake.
Now, imagine how much you can learn from other’s failures? Obviously, a lot!
Also, don’t be shy or afraid to share your successes and failures, and challenges you face, as it creates more opportunities for learning and growth.
You can also find yourself a mentor or business coach. These people can help navigate you through the ocean of business and guide you on how to achieve business success as you venture into your own business. Having these contacts with others can be important. Their wisdom, successes, and even failures can guide you and keep you from making similar unnecessary mistakes.
Have a well-strategized business plan when seeking the keys to business success
You can have the most skilled managers in your firm, but it will be difficult for you to achieve success without a well-strategized business plan.
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
Having a formal business plan that includes detailed information about your business growth, expenses, and revenue is very crucial. Not having a set business path could lead to chaos in your business. It can be disastrous if you are unable to achieve the milestones you have set for your business. And this can result in you losing clients or not being able to attract investors at all.
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison
Another important thing about formulating a good plan is that it forces you to think. Many businesses owners view having a formal plan as unnecessary work. They just jump straight into their businesses without ever considering how to achieve business success or goals or what kind of obstacles may be in their way.
But be mindful, “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” – Henry David Thoreau.
These plans will show you where your strengths and weaknesses lie. If you lack in an area, you need to find someone who can fill the gap or hire another person, for that matter.
Your business plan also defines how to achieve business success, how a business will function, and with what strategies. This plan maps out the target market in view. You want a clearly established and attainable vision as well as the methods to achieve that vision. The business plan also defines financial and staffing projections and the goods/services rendered.
“The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
A well-strategized business plan will keep you and the team well organized, focused, and motivated. Business plans aren’t for show. All decisions and steps you take should be in line with the clearly defined plan. You should also create plans for activities like meetings, exhibitions, or even promotional activities.
Continually Revise And Tailor The Business Idea For The Keys to Business Success
It is, however, important to note that you will continually revise and tailor the business idea as you develop the plan. This plan will be updated and amended as you engage in the business and deploy the plan. The strategy may need to be modified, staffing projections altered, and even goods/services rendered changed to meet consumer preferences. The keys to business success greatly hinge on the business plan, so carefully strategize your plan for success and stay focused on it.
Expand Your Financial Knowledge
Finance is a very crucial aspect of your business. Your effective management and mastery of it are another of the keys to business success. Even when you have a great plan with a committed team, how you manage the business’ finances will determine how to achieve business success.
So, invest and learn basic aspects of finance, including creating a budget, saving, and accountability in business. At some point, you will invest in a finance person, accountant, or bookkeeper. But it’s great to handle and review financial statements and have enough knowledge to fully understand the profits the business is generating. For example, balancing out income and expenses from the business can enable you to make statistically sound and strategic decisions. Errors in cash flow can pull even a successful business into the pit of failure.
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell
Also, as part of the keys to business success, it is important to understand the types and amount of taxes you pay, when you pay and how those balance in your balance sheet. Knowledge of insurance and loans will go a long way to boost the keys to the success of the business, so be wise to invest in your education.
Having the right financial information can also help you maintain a good cash flow, fund important opportunities, and save the business from sinking. This allows you to maintain the road to success. If you are planning to expand your business or just starting, then knowing the basics of finance is great for making better decisions. This is how to achieve business success.
Don’t be afraid of the competition. Embrace it and use it for the advancement of your business. “Every problem is a gift—without problems, we would not grow.” – Anthony Robbins
“Finance is a language. And like all languages, you need to master it to be able to speak and understand it fluently.” – Robert Kiyosaki.
Have an effective working process
Small businesses often have a small staff and struggle with getting things done and on time too. As such, there is often the feeling there isn’t always enough time to accomplish all designated tasks, and that can be true. To manage this, you create systems.
To be successful, your business needs to be well organized; this is one of the vital keys to business success you must understand to succeed. For example, you can lay down a process for handling taxes monthly or even handling invoices. Such processes spell out every action at every step of the activity chain, thereby reducing the chances of mistakes. This will save time and enhance the chances of achieving success in the business. And when you delegate these tasks to your staff and ensure the processes are followed, you can rest assured they’ll get the job done right. Doing this will allow you to focus on other aspects of the business for growth and ultimately achieve the keys to business success.
“The best investment is in the tools of one’s own trade.” – Benjamin Franklin.
Not only that but having a system in place for hiring employees is important. It can prevent you from hiring the wrong kinds of people who cannot contribute to the business. This is another important process on how to achieve business success.
“An ordinary mind can only think of one way to do things. A creative mind has unlimited ways.” – Anonymous
Take advantage of targeted advertising
Another of the keys to success comes with increased profit, which comes from increased customers. Now, how do you get more customers to know and demand your goods/services? Marketing, that’s how. You can’t get customers to a business they don’t know about. It doesn’t matter whether you have a physical sales point or use e-commerce facilities. You should have targeted marketing/advertising strategies to expand your customer base.
“Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” – Conrad Hilton
When you advertise, don’t just go with the flow. Your marketing campaign should be well thought out and consistent in delivery. Have your budget ready to handle this exercise before embarking on it. Analyze the cost of advertising per unit. Also, for online or social media campaigns, track individuals who shared or retweeted your post/advert to identify your target market. You can then develop a more targeted marketing strategy that will help you capture the customers who are most likely to buy from you.
“Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” – Will Rodgers
You must find types of marketing and advertising that are most effective and would make the greatest impact on your particular business. When you have good marketing and advertisement strategies implemented, more people will know your business. More customers will be added, thereby increasing the scope of the business and ultimately tending towards success. This is a great tip on is how to achieve business success sooner than expected.
“Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don’t have for something they don’t need.” – Will Rogers.
Build Customer Loyalty- Important Keys to Business Success
One of the important keys to business success is loyalty to its customers. Building loyalty to and from customers can take a significant length of time. But once established, it can ensure consistent revenue and referrals by satisfied customers. So, be diligent and consistent at what developing relationships.
“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” – Jim Rohn.
To build customer loyalty, you must consistently provide good customer service. People remember good customer service and easily get attached to such a business. People want to be treated well. When you achieve this consistently, customers will feel comfortable frequenting your business, being confident that they’d be treated well. With this, you can build customer loyalty to your business.
Communicate the business vision and mission to customers:
When customers can understand your vision, what you stand for, and your policies, they can easily decide if they want to align themselves to your business to become part of what you’re building.
Communicate the value of the goods/services your business provides. Sometimes, people may not fully understand why what you sell is of any importance to them. It is your job to enlighten them if you want to make a profit. Make customers see the importance of choosing the goods/services you offer, and they’ll get “hooked” on your products when they do.
Build on your interests- Important Keys to Business Success
On an individual level, what are your interests? What do you enjoy doing? What do you like to do? One of the most important keys to business success is engaging your interests in business. Getting involved in what appeals to you will go a long way to define your enthusiasm and devotion to the business venture and, ultimately, the success of the business. Don’t just do what you have to; do what you want to! When you engage in what interests you, you’ll be more devoted, working harder at it with passion, and ultimately, you’ll reap the rewards. When you engage in what appeals to you personally, you’ll easily find ways to succeed at it.
“To succeed, we must first believe that we can.” – Nikos Kazantzakis
For example, if you’re drawn to phones and gadgets, then dealing in mobile phones or consumer electronics may be of more appeal to you than engaging a clothing line. You’ll be more likely to passionately engage the former and find more ways to be successful than the latter.
Create Business Networks
In business, you can’t and shouldn’t try to be an island; that is not is how to achieve business success. Be open to creating networks in your business. Even when on vacation, when you attend social events or personal interactions, keep your eyes and ears open to every opportunity. Connect with people for the betterment of your business. This might include other business owners, potential clients, or partners. Such connections can happen at any time. Be keen to make the most of every opportunity and talk business.
Maximize Profit for the keys to business success
The ultimate goal of every business is to reduce costs and maximize profits. So be open to new ideas to maximize available resources to profit. Brainstorm with your employees to find better approaches. Develop new ways to save on costs that do not conflict with your values and mission. These keys to business success will positively impact the profits generated by the business and steer your business on the path to achieving the keys to success.
As a business owner, you should have protective measures in place for your assets. For example, you should function in such a way that you don’t lose your house or car if someone sues your company. Liability insurance can, thus, be useful. Also, have a legal team to work this out and keep them posted on the developments and changes in your business to better shield you from any fallouts in the business. Regularly consult with them to ensure you make the right moves legally about your business.
Keep Detailed Records
When it comes to record-keeping, successful business owners understand its importance, and they keep good records. Records help you keep track of the progress of the business, the financial standing of the business, and existing challenges in the business. Records highlight trends in the functioning of the business. They help the management to make statistically accurate decisions based on facts. Knowing is half the solution.
Know Your Competition
If you are determined on how to achieve business success, it is of utmost importance to know what your competitors are up to. This is one of the keys to business success that will enable you to have the upper hand in the industry. So, keep a close watch on their products, marketing strategies, pricing schemes, new initiatives, or advertisement campaigns so that you can stay one step ahead of them.
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer
Competition brings out the best in a business. Know your competition. Study them and learn from them. When you have competing businesses in the same domain as you, it pays to know them and possibly their modus operandi. It is possible to learn from your competition, especially when you feel the competition is fierce. They might be doing something you aren’t that is getting the results you desire.
Don’t be afraid to take risks or fail for the keys to business success
Another of the keys to business success is owners who are not afraid to take calculated risks for the growth and betterment of their businesses. For every venture you intend to engage in, you must clearly establish the worst-case scenario, accept it, and strategically proceed. Some risks are necessary to succeed, and some are unnecessary, but you must not be afraid of taking risks. There are no guarantees of success, but you can do your best to assess the risks. Accept the risk and roll up your sleeves for action.
Well-calculated risks can also include the timing of starting or expanding your business. When is it the right time to make a move in advancing your business? What is your perspective when others see impediments and setbacks?
Be Creative and Innovative to gain the keys to business success
When learning how to achieve business success, you must be innovative. Creativity and innovation go a long way when trying to find new ways to do things in business. Just as every other living being evolves, so does business. If your business remains stagnant, it will die a slow death – this is one of the greatest keys to business success you must understand. Thus, you must be open to constructive criticism and embrace change to better your company or business. While change is difficult, it can be a good thing if done for the right purpose.
“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.” – Chinese Proverb.
In other words, to be successful, you must constantly be innovating, making out new opportunities for an increase. Also, be open to ideas from any and every source. You’re not omniscient, so pay attention to ideas and innovations from others towards your business. Paying attention doesn’t mean you’ll commit to those ideas, but be open to consider them carefully.
“Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it.” – William Durant
Stay Focused and Consistent
The mark of successful business people is how they stay focused and consistent on a path to accomplish their goals. Business owners must align the purpose of the business with a higher vision, whether it is personal or cultural. They know that for them to be successful, others must succeed as well. They focus on keeping their business aligned with the purpose and vision of why they started it in the first place. Income is a bonus, not an end goal.
When it comes to business, you’ll not likely become a success overnight. As such, be patient, focused, and consistent in what you do. Consistency will put you on the map of many customers. You must keep at it, day in and day out, to establish long-term habits and loyalties that will pay dividends in the long run. This is how to achieve business success! Remember, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
Be ready to make the necessary sacrifices when seeking the keys to business success
To make how to achieve business success easier, a lot of sacrifices are required to be made before you see the results from your business. Sacrifice time, money, and effort – these three things must be given up for a successful business. You need to have the right balance between all three – find it and cling on to it until you’re successful! Be ready to do anything it takes to make it in business.
“If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” – Steve Jobs
The last of the keys to business success, ‘sacrifice’ isn’t always a cakewalk, and you must be ready to endure what it takes to be successful. It may entail cutting back on your leisure activities, sleep, personal expenditures, etc. You must be ready to make the necessary sacrifices and establish a balance in all things. At the end of the day, your business is important and should be given due diligence. The sacrifices will be well worth it.
Sacrificing is difficult, but the results are always worth it. Once you make the necessary sacrifices, take hold of your business and ride out to success. This is how to achieve business success – You can do it!
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired and success achieved.” – Helen Keller.
Success is a wonderful and exciting thing to achieve, but it isn’t for the faint of heart who are not ready to learn how to achieve business success the best way. If you aren’t ready to make many sacrifices along the way, then you may want to rethink your goals. It’s work; nothing worth achieving comes easy! However, if your ambition is high enough and you’re willing to take hold of the reins, then you are sure to succeed beyond your wildest dreams. Just remember that success can’t be achieved overnight, nor should it be. Instead, it is a journey, one that must take place day in and day out. Make the right sacrifices, focus on what you need to do, learn from your mistakes/failures, stay consistent in your endeavors, etc., all along the way so you may succeed!
I had a lot of fun writing this article for those searching for how to achieve business success and the keys to business success. I know it’s easier said than done, but everyone has chops deep down inside of them. You can be successful if you are willing to make the necessary sacrifices and learn how to achieve business success by staying focused on your goals and taking action when opportunity knocks. Just remember these keys to business success!
Have a great day, my friends!
Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right!” – Henry Ford