Critical to the continued success of your business is having a sustained advantage over the competition. This involves more than just making short term decisions to achieve some quick gains in profitability or cash flow. Rather, you should focus on the key drivers of success – culture, people and internal processes.
It goes without saying that culture, people and internal processes are the foundation of any business. The stronger the foundation the more successful the business and vice versa. Based on our experience working with business owners over many years, we have found that successful businesses generally have a number of common factors, namely:
- Passionate about their vision
- Ability to communicate strategy
- Investment in people
- Acknowledgement of people’s effort
- Empathy for people
- Understanding of customers
- Improve internal processes
Owners and managers need to share and communicate their vision for the business to get buy in from all staff. In return, staff will understand their role better and the importance of their daily activities in achieving strategies and goals.
When staff clearly understand the key drivers of success, they invariably build it into their everyday thinking and behavior.
Whilst most businesses appreciate that people are their greatest asset and spend money and time training them, they sometimes forget to say “thank you”. Regular and timely positive reinforcement can have an impact on staff behavior in any business, big or small. As a business owner, you need to be aware of any concerns and show real empathy for your staff if you want to get the best results.
Understanding the needs of customers also requires good communication. A successful business typically has a sound understanding of their customers which helps the business adapt to any changes and match core competencies with the ideal clients.
In a number of cases, we find businesses share some of the common success factors. What generally stops a business from achieving continued success over time is the ability to improve internal processes and evolve. Good processes and systems underpin the ability to deliver value to the customers. We all know that satisfied customers are needed to achieve the owner’s strategy and vision. Also, staff can sometimes feel neglected where processes/systems are inadequate.
It is worth noting that the common “success factors” are all interrelated and should work together all the time.