A truly successful business requires success in six different areas. It’s possible to be somewhat successful if your business does well in some of these areas and not others, but if it doesn’t have these all six at decent levels, your business isn’t doing as well as it could be.
Here they are, listed in no particular order:
1. Customer Satisfaction
How happy are your customers with your product or service? How well do you handle any customer problems post-sale? How well do you retain customers? How often do you experience repeat sales? Are your customers talking about you in positive ways to others?
2. Economic Gain
Are you making money? Does your business have high sales and profits? (And remember that sales and profits are two very different things!) Are your expenses minimized? Do you know your key numbers (gross revenue, gross profit, average margin, expenses, net profit, etc) per month, quarter, and year? Do you know which products/services you offer that are the most profitable?
3. Product Quality
Does your product or service reliably deliver the benefits you say it does? How often? How well does it compare to competitors’ offerings?
4. People Building
Are you encouraging, motivating, and inspiring your employees, salespeople, subcontractors, and partners to do and be their best? Are these people doing well in your business? How well? Could they be doing better?
5. Organizational Development
Does your business run efficiently? Smoothly? Is the business aligned to a clearly defined Mission? Are you sure it’s always moving in a pre-defined direction? Is your management team in harmony and agreement with the overall picture and direction of the company?
Are you consistently developing new ideas, new approaches, new markets, and/or new products or services? Or are you resting on what you’ve always been selling?
Go back through the above six items and rate each one on a scale from one to ten. If you’re a one-person business with no employees and no regular subcontractors, you can skip item four, but rate yourself on all the rest.
If any items score less than a seven, then you know where you need to improve. Set a goal to get all six (or five) items to at least an eight. This may take some time, but the rewards will be well worth it. Hey, you’re going to work hard anyway. Why not ensure your business is the best it can be?