What Makes A Business Successful?

We’ve worked with businesses for decades now. We’ve monitored different success stories and growth trajectories. This has led us to see lessons, failures, opportunities, and a lot of growth. And over the years, we’ve asked ourselves one vital question – What makes a business successful?

We’ve spent nights researching the secret ingredients of success…

Wake up at 5 am. Read a self-help book daily. Exercise like your life depends on it. Never stop learning. Put in 10,000 hours…

We’ve read them all.

But one big question remains unanswered: Is success all about good luck?

Mark Zuckerberg was born into a well-off family. His parents were able to nurture his talent. He could easily drop out of school to follow his dreams. He didn’t have any responsibilities, anyway. Lucky!

What about Oprah? Even though she came from such a poor family that she had to wear potato sacks as a dress, Oprah was a child genius. She had talent in reading and speaking publicly at only age 3. Lucky!

Bill Gates was one of only a handful of teenagers in America who had access to a computer in the late 1960s. His mother was on the board of IBM. And this gave him a head start in his career and success. Lucky!

Rihanna? Well, she was born talented. And even though she came from a family of poverty, a high-powered music executive quickly discovered her beauty and talent. That couldn’t have happened to just anyone. Lucky!

Take a look around at the world’s most successful people.

Were they all just lucky? Or is there more to success than just chance?

The simple answer is this: ‘If you don’t work hard, you’ll never know how lucky you are.”

Unfair advantages exist. But success is much more than just luck. 

So to answer the question, what makes a business successful is when opportunity meets preparedness. 

Success doesn’t happen by chance.

What You Need to Make Your Business Successful

Here are the untold stories from the examples above:

Mark Zuckerberg struggled to secure funding. Facebook was the first of its kind, so getting people to believe in him was nearly impossible. But he did. That wasn’t luck. It was determination.

Oprah worked so hard to be the first woman to own a production company. Between 2004 – 2006 she was the only black female billionaire in the world. Getting there wasn’t about luck, it was diligence.

While at school, Bill Gates was excelling in programming. He was putting in the hours, so the administration invested in a computer from the General Electric Company. That wasn’t luck, it was hard work. 

Rihanna’s childhood was defined by pain, abuse, drug use, poverty, and illness. As recently as 2017, she was on the road to bankruptcy. She has had to contend with racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination in all avenues of life and business. Yet still, in 2022, she was said to be the youngest self-made billionaire.

This is the danger of a single story, as Chimamanda Adichie once alluded. We look at successful people, and we almost ignore the blood, sweat and tears they had to put in to get to where they are. If you look keenly, hard work almost always precedes success.

3 Things That Make a Business Successful

Success does not just happen by chance. It happens through hard work and resilience. And as Tennessee Williams once said, luck is just about believing that you’re lucky.

Here are 3 things that make a business successful:

  1. Hard work
  2. Good leadership
  3. Resilience

1. The First Thing That Makes a Business Successful – Resilience

Business can be REALLY hard!

And as business owners, we’ve probably all gotten to a point where we ask ourselves, “Is all this really worth it?”

Maybe you’re spending too much time and not getting enough returns. Or it just feels so much harder than it should be.

It could be anything. Trust me, I get it.

How do you build resilience for your business? It all comes down to seeking solutions proactively.

  • Seek External Support

Small business owners sometimes head all the departments in their business single-handedly. You find yourself in charge of accounts, operations, marketing, finance…etc.

The truth is that you can’t possibly do everything by yourself. If your business is at a point where you feel that you’re juggling too many balls all at once, it may just be time to outsource.

You can consider different options, like hiring an agency or a part-time worker. Or, if your finances allow, you can hire someone full-time.

Whatever the case, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

  • Build Better Time Management Practices

So you are unable to tick off everything on your to-do list. Your family ends up suffering because you’re just not spending enough time with them. You feel lonely and isolated because all your time goes into your business.

Have you considered cultivating better time management practices? Consider using a default diary to manage your time.

Create a list of priorities, and allocate time for each depending on the urgency

  • Discover Coping Strategies

One of the biggest challenges for small businesses is that we tend to prioritise the business over everything else, including our health.

And when we do this, our bodies will eventually shut down. We feel burnt out, and we fall sick.

Before this happens, prioritise your health as a priority. Find the movement or exercise that works for you. Try journalling and/or meditation. Consider therapy, and learn when you need to rest.

One of my favourite quotes goes, “When things get tough, learn to rest. Not to quit.”

Similarly, find a way to work through your problems. You never know. You just might be three feet from gold.

2. The Second Thing That Makes a Business Successful – Hard work

I’ve repeated over and over again that there’s no such thing as overnight success.

Every success story that seemed like it happened overnight is a lie.

Hard work went into it. And probably some tears.

But the difference between those who are successful and those who aren’t is one thing: The successful just keep going.

They see failures as lessons. And they don’t dwell on them for too long.

If you look closely, no one’s journey is a straight line. It has ups and downs. The trick? Just keep at it.

Or, as Dory from Finding Nemo would say, “Just keep swimming!”

There are two things that I know to be true about hard work:

1. Hard work wins over talent

Whether you like it or not, there are people who are better at doing what you do than you. Maybe they were just born more talented than you.

But, another truth you need to accept is that hard work will always beat talent. The real gift isn’t hard work, it’s talent.

Michael Jordan was kicked out of his basketball team because he wasn’t working hard enough. He was undeniably talented, just not working hard enough. And when he eventually started to work hard, he became the greatest basketballer of all time.

Forget talent, it’s your hard work that separates you from everyone else in the field.

2. Hard work wins over intelligence

The more I grow up, the more I realise that learning abilities differ. Some are book-smart, and others are street-smart. The latter, of course, are not accorded as much cheer as the former.

But without hard work, intelligence means nothing. Many smart people don’t achieve as much success as they could, unfortunately, because the rest on their smart and never learn to work hard.

So the bottom line is this: Whether you are talented or not, intelligent or not, if you work hard enough, you will be successful. Hard work is what makes a business successful.

3. The Third Thing That Makes  A Business Successful – Good Leadership

A good leader makes all the difference in making a business successful. Michael Anderson says that all poor leadership traits are because people are in their egos.

The key to leadership is recognising when you’re in your ego and moving to your authentic self.

Here are three really important facets of good leadership:

  • Communication

A good leader has exceptional communication skills. They communicate, in a respectful way, their vision, goals and objectives, thoughts, ideas, and concerns.

They set clear expectations for their employees in a simple, concise way.

In turn, this sets the tone for the workplace and makes it easier for the team members to understand the work expectations. It creates an atmosphere of transparency which in the long run is beneficial to everyone.

  • Relationships

A good leader fosters relationships within the organisation. People are far more likely to perform well when they’re placed in a friendly environment.

Building and nurturing good relationships fosters respect and trust. Your employees are far more likely to give you honest feedback when you are open with them.

Good relationships create space for people to work together and collaborate on their different tasks. They motivate employees to perform at their level best.

  • Mindset

A good leader needs to have the right mindset.

Think of it as a magnet. Your employees will mirror you. If you are open-minded and have an optimistic attitude, they will likely be the same way. And if you’re not, they will be close-minded and pessimistic.

Leaders with a growth mindset embrace challenges, possess emotional intelligence, maintain a positive attitude, engage in self-reflection, encourage innovation, exhibit resilience, and have a clear vision and purpose.

What Makes a Business Successful – Our Summary

Luck is where opportunity meets preparedness.

How prepared are you for success? What structures have you put in place? And what things are you doing today to get to that success?

Don’t wait for luck. Create your own. Work hard to make your dreams come true.

Success does not happen by chance. It happens through hard work. 

And hard work is not an easy task. You will be tried and tested. But if you keep going, the opportunity will meet you prepared. And other people will call it luck.

We make our own luck, and the difference between the lucky and unlucky is perspective.

In summary, here is what makes a business successful

  1. Resilience
  2. Hard work
  3. Good leadership

If you’d like support to find your success get in touch or take a look at our 1-2-1 coaching.

Dream big



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