We all have goals. And we all want to achieve them. We all want to be successful at what we do. But how do we know when we’ve achieved it? How do we know when we’ve ‘arrived’? To a point, the definition of success is an individual matter as we all have different goals and aspirations. However, there are also common themes that can be found in all businesses that can tick this particular box. So what makes a small business successful? In this blog we are going to explore exactly that.

What is success?

The dictionary defines success as ‘the achievement of an aim or purpose’, so in theory this means we can describe ourselves as ‘successful’ whenever we complete a task or meet a target. However if we look at Instagram, it would be easy to view entrepreneurial success as being more about cars, status and money.

Both of these are equally valid definitions (or indeed a combination of the two!) – but equally, they are very different. So, it’s probably quite fair to say then, that success is whatever you choose it to be. For example, if you have a particular financial goal in mind, and you achieve it, you are successful. But equally if your goal is to create a business that allows you to work in a certain way, and you achieve it, that also makes you successful.

But if everyone’s definition of success is different…

What makes a small business successful?

For me therefore, what makes a small business successful is very much dependent on what they are hoping to achieve. However, regardless of their different versions of success, there are a number of things that bind every successful business together:

1. They are customer-focused

Successful businesses look after their customers. They take the time to understand them, communicate with them clearly and effectively, and have a strong focus on their satisfaction and loyalty.

2. They are strategic

A second factor that influences what makes a small business successful is whether or not that business takes a strategic approach to its development and operations. Planning is at the heart of their operations and they take time to review and to learn on a regular basis. Time to work on the business, rather than just in it, is a crucial part of how they work.

3. They know their numbers

If you have read any of my other blog posts you’ll know already how important knowing your numbers is to your potential success. Our numbers provide data, which in turn provides intelligence upon which we are able to make sensible, calculated, justified decisions. Without knowing our numbers, the development of our business, and our future successes, are dependent largely upon guesswork.

4. They are supported by strong, effective processes and procedures

This fourth point is essentially about control, structure and organisation, which then leads to effectiveness, productivity and efficiency. It’s about getting things done in the right way. A way that works not just for you, but for your team and for your customers. It’s about making sure you’re able to be proactive, not reactive.

5. They look after their people

When it comes to what makes a small business successful, this final point is incredibly important. It’s not just about looking after your team and your suppliers and collaborators. It’s about looking after you, the business owner, just as much. Because when we look after ourselves, and are selfish enough to make ourselves a priority, then we become far better equipped to look after our businesses.

What does success mean to you?

As a final word on this particular topic, take some time to think about what success means to you and set yourself goals to help you to work towards that success. Then just as importantly, arm yourselves with the tools needed to achieve it using the points above. And if you want a little help along the way, check out my business coaching page, and book a free 30 minute consultation so we can talk about how I can help you move forward.