19 Key Elements Of A Successful Business
How do you define a successful business?
Well, I believe a successful business is one that gains enough profits to offset debts, continue production or provision of services and expand at the appropriate time. The other question is; what are the key elements of a successful business?
Starting a business or running one takes serious commitment and the willingness to learn new skills, tricks and general knowledge that will keep your business afloat.
You are now at the stage where you have jumped through all the hoops to finally get your business up and running and the adrenaline from the initial launch is beginning to wear off.
You are excited about where it might take you, as well as being a little apprehensive about the unknown challenges that lie ahead. Yes, it can be challenging to work and manage your time and attention.
With all that said, you are here because you have that willingness to learn. I congratulate you for that.
This is why I want to share some tips that will help your business to succeed. Let’s get into the 22 key elements of a successful business.
1. Building relationships
It is so important to build relationships when you are in business. Every meeting and chat should be an opportunity to network and create new relationships.
You need to seek out local networking meetings and arrange meetings with local suppliers and others working within your industry.
Start to get your face and name known this way and you never know when this might lead to more business for you or useful connections. This can also help when you need to call on someone for assistance.
You should also build meaningful relationships with your new and potential customers. In order to create brand loyalty, people need to believe in your business and your passion for it. So, do convey this in any interactions with them.
A loyal and engaged customer base is far more likely to recommend you to friends and share positive online reviews about you than a disinterested one.
2. The latest tools and tech
In order for your business to keep up with others in your industry, or to nudge ahead, it is crucial that you have the latest tools and tech available.
Take a look around your business and ask your team to share their ideas on any processes that could be streamlined with better technology as this could make you more productive and efficient.
Sometimes, I wish I could just find a way to make this louder. Uniqueness is the foundation of any successful business. In fact, it should be your anchor when trying to break into any industry. Without uniqueness, your business is merely a new name for the same service.
For instance, Netflix came into the movie distribution business to compete with Blockbuster. They brought an easier method than what was common at that time. They came up with the idea of using the internet to stream or download movies for a subscription.
This single uniqueness was a stepping stone that helped them to achieve a good reputation in the industry. They also succeeded in taking Blockbuster out of business. Uniqueness is a major element for any successful business. You must be able to find a way to build a deeper relationship with customers by solving a problem they don’t even know they have.
4. Good Leadership
A pride of lions led by a sheep might seem like a strong team. You might even prefer this alliance to a herd of sheep led by a lion. However, a pride of lions led by a sheep will only do very little because the sheep in charge will do very little to motivate the team.
Whereas, a herd of sheep led by a lion will be well motivated to do great things. Leadership is an important element of any successful business. Not just anybody can be a leader. You must display some iota of the alpha status and take charge.
5. Hard work
Even if there was a prophesy that you’d be a successful billionaire and you do not get up to work, you are going to remain in penury for a long time. Nothing good ever comes easy. If you doubt this statement, you can do your own research on the lives of many billionaires who were not born with a silver spoon.
It’s either you go hard or you go home. Put in those extra hours and they will surely pay off one day. Bill gate stayed up night after night planning a business that had no market at that time. Who knew a billion-dollar enterprise will be the outcome?
I once came across a very inspiring quote as I was scrolling through my Instagram. It says it is usually not the first strike that breaks a stone, but the continuous strike that eventually weakens it. These words sunk deep in my heart and I am willing to share what I deduced from this quote.
Firstly, new business owners are usually discouraged with their first loss and many of them close the business entirely. However, if you do your research well, you will realize that no big business had it easy, and for many like Jeff Bezos who had several failed ideas, those failures were lessons that made him what he is today.
In the corporate world, it is either you grow a tough skin or you get eaten. You can’t have success without first experiencing some failures. Your success depends on your willingness to keep striking that stone until it breaks.
7. Team Work Spirit
What is leadership without teamwork? I don’t know if you are familiar with the saying – no man is an island. You cannot know or do everything.
In order to achieve great things, you will need the help of other people. You must learn to work with a team for easy implementation of goals and faster task execution.
8. Collective Commitment
When a business makes her staff feel like one big family, and customers’ one big community, there is a sense of belonging that is ignited in everyone. A sense of belonging is what keeps iPhone users glued to Apple Inc.
When you are able to turn your dream to everybody’s dream, you will be surprised at how quickly your business will grow. Collective commitment is what made Instagram grow from a small office project to the major social media application we know today.
Every member of that team treated Instagram like theirs and in that effect, did what any owner would do with the business.
My grandma once told me that patience is a vital virtue to learn if you want to succeed in life, and coming from a woman who owns an apartment complex in Lagos and a restaurant, I held those words very close to my heart.
Personally, I am not really a patient person and it’s something I am trying to work on. If you are like me, I’ll encourage you to become as patient as a lion waiting for prey.
The patient dog eats the fattest bone. Wait for the right opportunities while doing the right thing. Before you get your big break, keep working on your brand image and foster a stronger relationship with everyone.
Whatever the future brings, patience is a virtue that everybody should learn most especially, business owners and managers.
10. Ability To Take Action
Some people find it difficult to take certain decisions, especially decisions that will affect other people negatively. However, some decisions need to be made and certain actions need to be taken for the greater good.
So, let’s say Mr Jack noticed a serious strain from the marketing department and he knows the best decision would be to relieve a particular person of their job.
If he refused to take this action because he doesn’t want to be the bad guy, that individual’s laxity and incompetence will continue to have a parasitic effect on the company. So, someone has to be the bad guy.
11. Entrepreneurial Skills
This is more like a combination of all the skills an entrepreneur needs to start and maintain a business. Firstly, your communication skill is quite important when passing specific information to your partners or employees.
Then, there is also ‘the motivation skill’ that every manager should use effectively. It requires you to motivate your workers and inspire them to achieve greater things.
Think of it like addressing people the same way Martin Luther King could cause a riot with his words. Your ability to motivate your workers to take action makes you a better manager, employer and leader which is good for your business.
12. Maximizing Opportunities
Opportunities come but once. The ability of a business to utilize any given window or a break in the wind usually determines its success or failure. You do not expect a sudden drop in production component’s prices to happen. Do you? This is why you must always be up to date with everything happening in the industry.
If a bird flew over your competitor’s branch office, get someone to fill you in on all the details including the colour of the bird. Most especially why it flew over your competition’s office and not yours. Believe me, if you do not follow up business trends in this manner, you could be the odd one out when everyone suddenly moves from the customary practice to a new and advanced one.
I always make an example of what used to be a major television company. They were so popular and well-patronized but their marketing and research team literally took a complacent nap. Nearing the late ’60s, there were rumours about television that could show colours, and this particular black and white TV company felt it was nothing to worry about.
To cut the long story short, they stayed napping until it was too late and their competitors overtook them after getting wind of the new trend. I learnt that it doesn’t really matter how big your team is, what matters is how effective they are when it comes to change.
13. Knowledge Of The Industry
How do you lead a bunch of people to a place if you don’t know the way yourself?
If you don’t have any idea of how to navigate the path, you might be on one spot for so long. At worse, you are going to get lost and get other people lost too.
You can’t know everything and that is the bitter truth of life, but you need to have a good knowledge of your business to navigate the industry if you are going to answer to the title – business owner.
14. Learn to adapt
I read somewhere that this is a motto for some military special forces. Flexibility is the willingness to adapt to whatever changes might occur during the course of a task or mission. If you currently own a business or you are managing one, be honest with yourself – can your business survive a major incident that affects it both financially and internally?
Do you think your business can take a major hit like a countrywide recession? I am not trying to make you paranoid or anything, please don’t get me wrong. What I am trying to do is to provoke an honest answer from you. Flexibility and your willingness to adapt to changes make your roots stronger, and stronger.
If a business can stand through a recession, it is safe to say that almost nothing, except for internal sabotage, can take down that business. So, be flexible as a leader and employee, try new things and always be on the lookout for new practices.
15. Build Partnerships
Two good heads are always better than one. When two companies partner to achieve a short or long term goal, there is literally nothing that can hold them back. Partnerships hardly ever end up in failure except there is a thug of war for power or superiority.
However, this rarely happens if partnerships are initiated with the necessary contract agreements and arrangements. If you want to take your business to the next level, then you should partner with someone who has what you want and wants what you have.
For instance, you might have the skill to take on a particular task, but you do not have the machines or tools to make it big, you can reach out to another company for partnership. If at the end of the day both parties are satisfied with the outcome of the partnership and want to achieve more together, then you can choose to create a long term contract.
16. Family Spirit
Even though some writers might choose to use the word “team”, I beg to be different because when you operate on a more intimate level like family, you tend to bring out the voluntary best in your workers. Take time to host those nice picnics once in a while, and invite your workers with their families.
Learn your workers’ names no matter how big your company is. Call them by their first names and speak to them about little things like how their five-year-old just graduated nursery school, or how you are both struggling with your teenage daughters.
These little things matter and can really raise encourage your employees. What I am relatively saying is – be a manager and a friend.
17. Great Customer Service
I was compelled to slot this guy into the list by my aunt. She worked with the customer service department at a bank for fifteen years. According to her, the customer service table is the heart of the bank. My aunt made a pretty good argument when she gave some really interesting reasons why she called the customer service the heartbeat of a business.
If one customer service personnel does a bad job, it is assumed that one customer has ended their relationship with the bank. More recklessness might mean about twenty customers taking their money elsewhere.
Your brand is you and you are your brand. However, the face of this whole brand is that beautiful lady or handsome man sitting close to the customers. It’s no wonder big businesses spare no expense when it comes to training their customer service.
18. A strong team
To have a successful business, your business will need to stand on the shoulders of your team, so you must prioritize building a strong team.
You will need to hire effectively initially. Then train and support team members so that they can confidently deliver for you and meet your customers’ expectations.
Ensure that your team feel valued and motivated in their work so that they stay with you and give the best of themselves each day.
19. Strategic marketing campaign
Now that your business is established, you need to start spreading the word about all that you do. In order to do this, you will need a strategic marketing campaign.
Start by considering the messages that you wish to convey. Then work from there to be creative about how you can do this.
You might choose to create amazing aerial videography using drone companies or hire a graphic designer to put together a captivating visual marketing campaign.
You might also run a launch event in your area to get the local community visiting you.
Along with these creative and unique ideas, ensure that you have a website and social media channels. If you don’t, set them up so that you can start promoting your business online.
So which of these tips are you already doing to help you build a successful business?