Finding business success

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Business success: everybody wants it, but everyone has their own definition

When speaking with our clients on a daily basis, it always surprises us how many different definitions of business success we hear. From “improving the buying experience of every customer” to “building an internationally recognised brand”, the ideal vision of success is as varied as the businesses themselves. But whether you are just starting out on your path or you already have a thriving business that you’re proud of, it’s crucial that you define measurable and attainable success.

“Knowing what you want as a business and how you’re going to get there is essential for your team, your employees, and your shareholders”

Relevant questions that should be answered:

  • What kind of service are you looking to provide and how could this be provided well?
  • If financial control is your priority, have you spent time comparing your businesses debt to earnings?
  • Is the end goal based on keeping the business in the family or passing it on to your children?
  • Will your company values closely align with your personal values or interest in environmentalism/equality?
  • Would you refuse to work with certain industries on a moral level? (Big tobacco, the arms industry, fossil fuels, etc)
  • If your end goal is to sell the business how would you like to exit the business? (Management buy-out, Employee Ownership Trust? etc)

Shareholders may matter

For a publicly traded company, the accepted definition of success usually relates closely to shareholder value. People, organisations and investment groups will invest in your business and your success is tied closely to how confident these people are in your company, brand and future.

For start-ups or smaller organisations that are not publicly traded, shareholder relationships aren’t often an issue as owners of small businesses are usually the ‘owner’ without shareholder interest. If you own a SME, your success may be related to something entirely more personal. It could be simply providing an excellent service to your community, developing a fully functional product or creating jobs. Ultimately, the bottom line and profits may be slightly lower on the list; it’s all about context.

Communicating your definition and making it happen

However you go about defining what your success is, it’s essential that it’s communicated clearly to your team. When it comes to entrepreneurs in particular, many find it difficult to fully define their vision when outlining an attainable future ‘success’. The result of this can be that teams in start-ups fail to fully “get” the vision and may compromise in certain areas along the way or adopt policies that help the company expand but neglect the end goal.

Having a fully committed team behind your vision, will make it much easier to get off the starting blocks. It can be useful to regularly share your vision of success with your team and assign goals based on individual strengths. Everyone should fully understand and be on board with the business success strategy in order for the plan to work.


  • Attainable goals are going to be important and 1, 5 and 10-year plans can be useful.
  • Research is key. Focus on achieving goals that are attainable in your industry. The sky is sometimes the limit.

If you would like to discuss this topic further please contact us on 0845 555 8844 or complete our enquiry form and we will get in touch with you.

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