What Makes a Business Successful: 10 Main Factors | Square (2023)

What Makes a Business Successful: 10 Main Factors | Square (1)
What Makes a Business Successful: 10 Main Factors | Square (2)


(Video) 6 Key Success Factors in any Business in 2023

What makes a business successful?

This question is perhaps less simple than it first appears. You might be inclined to shout ‘profit!’, and if you’re a shareholder, that may indeed be all that matters to you. But for business owners and entrepreneurs, the definition of success may not be one measured in dollars at all.

Money is a consequence of business success, not the cause of it. Business success is built on an appropriate amount of investment, sure, but it’s also built on talent, on strategy, on hard work and often on a little bit of luck.

In this article we’ll be taking a closer look at exactly what ‘business success’ means, what makes businesses successful, and how an organisation might go about realising that success.

What is business success?

While the meaning of business success will change from company to company, the most successful companies tend to have things in common.

Many tech giants measure business success not just by money made, but by the user experience that they deliver… which, if it’s great, will in turn lead to increased profit and market share.

Hedge funds and investment bankers see success as making their clients money, rather than themselves, because the former inevitably leads to the latter.

Understanding that people are their most valuable resource, many forward-thinking companies are beginning to measure success in terms of employee happiness. Contented employees build a business’s reputation as a preferred employer, helping them to attract the best and brightest minds, and in turn increasing the likelihood of future success.

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What makes a company successful? Your definition shouldn’t be based on profit or increased market share – it should instead encapsulate those things that lead to profit and increased market share. Take a step back and identify the difference makers in your business, and choose those as your markers for success.

10 factors that contribute to business success

It’s one thing to define what makes a business successful. It’s quite another to realise that success. As a business owner or entrepreneur, you need to work to understand the factors that will contribute to the ongoing health and wealth of your organisation.

Let’s take a look at 10 of the most important.

1. Set a business goal

What is the main objective of your business - the overall goal that you’re working towards? Every business should know, in a quantifiable way, where they want to be in five or ten years’ time. It could be that:

Once you’ve clearly defined your mission, you can then run your business in accordance with it.

2. Understand Your Customer Needs

Successful businesses meet the needs and wants of customers. They identify a pain point or a gap in the market, they conduct deep research on what people are looking for, and they offer a solution to suit. While it’s true that some companies have successfully created demand – fashion labels, tech companies, supercar manufacturers – they are the exception, not the rule.

Such a customer-focused approach to development can also lead to a more customer-focused approach to sales and service. In an ever more digital and automated world, human touch is becoming a real point of difference.

3. Research your competition

Some markets are more competitive than others. If you’re trying to enter a saturated market, you’ll soon find yourself racing to the bottom to secure business. It’s difficult to grow when you’re fighting for every morsel of food. Again, work to identify demand before committing to a path.

(Video) The single biggest reason why start-ups succeed | Bill Gross

But no matter how innovative or left of centre your business is, you’ll always have some form of competition. It’s critical that you conduct competitor research to avoid being left behind or caught off-guard. You always want to be proactive, not reactive, in business.

4. Attract and retain the right talent

People are a company’s most important asset – clichés are usually clichés for a reason. Attracting and retaining the right people can have a greater effect on your business success than perhaps any other activity.

Do all that you can to get the best possible people on board initially, then take a structured approach to treating these first employees well. In doing so you’ll begin to develop your employer brand – your reputation as a place to work. If you paint a positive picture, you’ll find it far easier to attract and retain great people into the future.

5. Be transparent with your team

Gone are the days of autocratic, dictatorial leadership, where bosses barked orders without explanation. The most successful modern businesses work to build a culture of trust by being perfectly transparent:

  • Clearly outline your values and live by them.

  • Consult your team when you need to make important decisions.

  • Follow through on promises.

  • Own up to mistakes and commit to being better.

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(Video) 10 Success Factors in Business

6. Become a decisive leader

But even in the most consultative and transparent of company cultures, leaders will still need to make the tough decisions when necessary. There are often times when business success is dependent on prompt and confident decision making, often without the luxury of all the information you might want or need.

An imperfect decision early is usually better than a perfect decision that comes too late. Business success is about using experience and gut feel in these moments, and committing to your call.

7. Learn to be patient

Don’t be distracted by a big and flashy sale, nor a particularly bad week, as these events only serve to distract you from your overall trajectory. Business success is an incremental process, one that demands quiet and consistent effort over the course of months or years. By taking the tortoise’s approach to growth, rather than the hare’s, you’ll minimise risk and build real confidence in your team.

8. Keep business documents

Record everything. It’s been said before that data is the oil of the 21st century, and it’s true. Between internal company and external market information, the answers to almost all of your business questions will be hidden within the zeroes and ones. And you no longer need to be a data scientist to make the most of this resource – smart tools like Square Analytics allow you to gain deep insights with a single click.

Documenting everything also allows your business to preserve ideas, establish credibility and resolve disputes.

9. Build strong business relationships

Your professional network can be an incredibly valuable thing. The relationships you build with mentors, thought leaders, suppliers, customers and other industry players can be a source of business, talent, ideas and advice. Make yourself known in your industry: get active on LinkedIn and attend in-person events.

10. Be resilient

No business has ever experienced pure and unadulterated success. There are always missteps, knockbacks and bits of bad luck. Success or failure isn’t shaped by these events themselves, but rather by how you respond to them.

Resilience is perhaps the most abstract factor on this list, but it’s one that a business owner or entrepreneur must work on if they are to succeed. Recognise that you learn more from failing than you do from smooth sailing, and try to see setbacks for the opportunities they are and the lessons they provide.

What is business success? At the end of the day, your definition can be whatever you want it to be. Realising that success is then a matter of breaking your definition down into actionable parts.

Ready to shape your own version of business success? The team at Square is ready to help!


What are the top 10 successful businesses? ›

While income can range, we've also provided an average salary to expect based on data from sites like PayScale, ZipRecruiter, and more.
  • Social media management. ...
  • Cleaning service. ...
  • Business consulting. ...
  • Copywriting. ...
  • Graphic design. ...
  • Real estate brokers. ...
  • Online courses. ...
  • Pet services.
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What are the 5 success factors for a successful business? ›

The five critical success factors are strategic focus, people, operations, marketing, and finances.

What are the 4 things you need to be successful in business? ›

4 Things You Must do to Succeed in Business
  • Commit to ongoing learning. The business world is evolving at a rapid pace and entrepreneurs must remain up to date with the latest advancements. ...
  • Provide exceptional service. ...
  • Learn good financial habits. ...
  • Accept failures.
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What is the key for success? ›

The American Academy of Achievement members describe how they applied these six principles to their own lives — passion, vision, preparation, courage, perseverance and integrity — to set them on to their individual paths to success.

What are the 10 business ideas? ›

Top 10 Most Successful Small Business Ideas:
  • Tuition/ Coaching Classes: What was your favorite subject in school? ...
  • Event/ Wedding Planner: Weddings never go out of fashion. ...
  • Cooking Classes: ...
  • Driving School/ Cab Service: ...
  • Food Catering Business: ...
  • Fitness Centres: ...
  • Computer Training Center: ...
  • Boutique, Salon, Spa, etc.:
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What's a successful business? ›

Successful businesses are concerned with making long-term profits and generating sustainable growth, rather than achieving short-term gains. Successful companies effectively meet the changing needs of their customers by developing new products or services that will make people happy.

What are the 6 critical success factors? ›

6 Critical Success Factors
  • Shared Change Purpose. ...
  • Effective Change Leadership. ...
  • Powerful Engagement Processes. ...
  • Committed Local Sponsors. ...
  • Strong Personal Connection. ...
  • Sustained Personal Performance.
Jun 8, 2018

What is the most important factor in business? ›

Financial management is the most important responsibilities of owners and business management. They must consider the potential consequences of their management decisions on profits, cash flow and on the financial conditions of the company.

What are the 5 things to success? ›

The Five Things You Need to Succeed
  • A Thick Skin. As you climb the corporate ladder or chase your dreams, you'll likely encounter criticism and rejection. ...
  • A Rainy Day Fund. ...
  • Confidence. ...
  • A Goal. ...
  • A Role Model.

What are 3 important keys to success? ›

Irrespective of what “Success” means to each, what has been clearly understood that there are three key elements of success. They are - Clarity of Purpose, Growth Mindset, and Courage. Without purpose, it is hard to have a clear direction. It is important to know what you want and what you are striving for.

What are the 3 most important things in business? ›

No matter how bold or ambitious your plans are to grow your business, the key to your business's success lies in three critical, interdependent components: operational excellence, customer relations/communications and financial management.

What are 10 ways to be successful? ›

Here is a list of 10 tips to help you become successful in your life:
  • Be committed. Through commitment, you can gain motivation to pursue success. ...
  • Learn from the journey. ...
  • Have fun along the way. ...
  • Think positively. ...
  • Change your perspective. ...
  • Be honest with yourself. ...
  • Take away distractions. ...
  • Count on yourself.
Nov 14, 2022

What are the 7 keys to success? ›

These are 7 qualities that we must have to achieve our goals. Commitment An open mind Persistence Flexibility Faith Thankfulness Passion Author has described these 7 qualities with examples of people around him who have applied these to their lives. It makes these principles more practical and acceptable.

What are the 8 keys to success? ›

8 Keys of Excellence
  • Integrity. Align our actions with our values. ...
  • Failure Leads to Success. See failures as feedback. ...
  • Speak with Good Purpose. Be positive with our language. ...
  • This is it! Focus our attention on the present moment. ...
  • Commitment. Do what we set out to do. ...
  • Ownership. ...
  • Flexibility. ...
  • Balance.

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In 2022, the Saudi Arabian oil company Saudi Aramco posted the highest net revenue of any company in the world, with profits of over 300 billion U.S. dollars.

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  • Learn to be flexible. ...
  • Automate as many things as possible. ...
  • Maintain a personal touch. ...
  • Protect your intellectual property. ...
  • Have a great website. ...
  • Create unique content. ...
  • Don't be afraid of data analytics.

What are the five good business ideas? ›

Best small business ideas to start in 2023
  • Start a dropshipping business.
  • Design and sell print-on-demand t-shirts.
  • Launch your own book.
  • Create digital products or online courses.
  • Sell print-on-demand posters, greeting cards, and prints.
  • Start a charitable business.
  • Sell a service.
  • Create an online fashion boutique.
Dec 15, 2022

What are your ideas for a business? ›

What are the top businesses to start?
  • Dropshipping business.
  • Selling print-on-demand shirts.
  • Sell digital products.
  • Become a blogger.
  • Sell freelance services.
  • Create homemade products to sell online.
  • Affiliate marketing.
  • Pet sitting and products.
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How do you measure success in a business? ›

Here's a list of common metrics used for measuring success across a variety of business platforms:
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  2. Net income ratio. ...
  3. Monthly recurring revenue. ...
  4. Leads, conversion and bounce rate. ...
  5. ROI and ROAS. ...
  6. Customers. ...
  7. Employee satisfaction.
Sep 30, 2022

What are the 10 critical success factors? ›

Top 10 Critical Success Factors for project success
  • User Involvement.
  • Executive Support.
  • Clear Business Objectives.
  • Emotional Maturity.
  • Optimization.
  • Agile Process.
  • Project Management Expertise.
  • Skilled Resources.

What are the 9 Factors Influencing success? ›

9 Proven Success Factors That Can Accelerate Your Career and Life
  • Education. Research shows that the highest-paid people are the ones who have an education and who know more than the average person. ...
  • Skill. ...
  • Contacts. ...
  • Money. ...
  • Good work habits. ...
  • Positive mental attitude. ...
  • Positive image. ...
  • Creativity.
Aug 7, 2015

What is the most important success factor? ›

Working hard. There can be no substitute for hard work. It is an essential requirement if you want to be successful, whether it is in your personal or professional life. Working hard may not come easily, but with consistent effort, it may become easier.

What are the 12 steps to success? ›

12 Steps to Achieve Success in Anything
  • Have a Desire: What Do You Really Want?
  • Believe That Your Goal is Achievable.
  • Write Your Goal Down.
  • Determine Your Starting Point.
  • Determine Why You Want It.
  • Set a Deadline.
  • Identify the Obstacles in Your Way.
  • Determine the Additional Knowledge and Skills You Need.

How do you build success? ›

How to Be Successful (And Get Everything You Want in Life)
  1. #1. Stop Looking for the Silver Bullet.
  2. #2. Start Creating Better Goals.
  3. #3. Stop Looking for Validation.
  4. #4. Start Living Your Dreams.
  5. #5. Stop Looking for a Mentor.
  6. #6. Start Building Your Expertise.
  7. #7. Stop Blocking Yourself.
  8. #8. Start Doing.
Dec 6, 2021

What are 3 keys to succeeding in business? ›

The three key things that all long-lasting companies share, he posited, are:
  • Great vision.
  • Great financial management.
  • Great people.
Dec 23, 2019

What are the 3 keys to success? ›

These 3 keys to success in business and life are timeless, effective, and well within your grasp right now. Don't be afraid to trust yourself, your talents, and your resources – you have everything you need to succeed and it's available to you today.

What are the 5 key of success? ›

At Horniman, we promote the '5 Keys to Success': Confidence – Perseverance – Organisation – Getting Along – Resilience.

What is success in business terms? ›

Successful businesses are concerned with making long-term profits and generating sustainable growth, rather than achieving short-term gains. Successful companies effectively meet the changing needs of their customers by developing new products or services that will make people happy.

What are the 7 steps to success? ›

7 Simple Steps To Happiness And Success!
  • Believe In Yourself. Identify your natural talents and abilities. ...
  • Develop a Vision. First, define your path and start working your plan. ...
  • Develop Good Habits. Happy and successful people choose good habits. ...
  • Show Gratitude. ...
  • Take A Chance. ...
  • Give to Others. ...
  • Take Responsibility.

What are the 8 steps to success? ›

8 Steps for Success in Life
  • Create a Support Network.
  • Put in the Work.
  • Stay Focused.
  • Whatever success you're working towards, keep your focus on it. Remind yourself often of the success you want to achieve. ...
  • Set Many Small Achievable Goals.
  • Give Yourself a Break.
  • Believe in Yourself.
  • Get Back Up Again.
Nov 20, 2020


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