Your definition of success is different than mine. Is the wino who scores a cheap bottle every day less successful than the sales representative whose achieves the goal of 10 sales in a week? It comes down to how you define success.
When it comes to owning and operating a business, defining success is still a personal choice, although there are certain keys that can clarify the definition. Here are five “P”s:
Passion. One of the first elements Brand Irons considers when taking on a new client is how passionate you are about your business. The passion gets you up in the morning with eager anticipation for what you can accomplish during the day. It motivates you to bring enthusiasm to every decision you make about the business. It energizes your employees and that passion for your vision goes right through to your customers. That passion for your enterprise sends you home at night encouraged by the results and excited about bringing it back tomorrow.
Plan. Various research projects have illustrated that people, especially business owners, who set goals and write down their plans are far more likely to succeed than those who feel goals and plans have little value. Take some time to think for a few minutes: Are you working in your business or are you taking the time to work on your business? Working on your business means you do some research, study your competition, talk to your customers and personnel, and develop strategies to enhance your bottom line. Try a different tactic and measure the results of how it worked. Consult with professionals and others in your field who have been successful in their endeavors. Think about things.
Perform. Your passion conveys a sense of urgency that follows the path you’ve laid out in your plan. Another critical element is to execute the strategy, which means you and your people have to perform. Your customers have expectations. They believe in and trust you. They know what to expect from your products and/or services. It’s up to you and your team to make it happen and fulfill those customer expectations. That’s why it is essential you stay in touch with your customers. Get to know them and their needs. What are they looking for, and is your company meeting those needs? How can you enhance service? Are there other products you could provide to help them solve their problems? Do what is expected of you … and then do a little more than that.
People. Whatever your business, whatever you market, and whether you have employees or it’s only you, everything you do involves people. Your customers are people; human beings with needs, wants, and wishes. Your employees are people with a need to feel appreciated, who want to have value and make a contribution, and wish to be treatly fairly and honestly. Your success in business is therefore wrapped up with people. That means you need to establish and sustain relationships with these people, especially your customers. Always remember that without customers – who are people – you have no business.
Place. The adage that it’s all about location is true, to a degree. If you operate a restaurant or a retail establishment, your place in the community can be a critical element in your long-term success. The same holds true if the primary place where your business is located is on the Internet. If your web presence is old, stagnant, and hard to find, even the most elaborate website is a poor location. Keep your place looking sharp. Your parking lot should be as safe, clean, and comfortable as your place of business. Your website should be up-to-date and your social media current and professional. Remember, marketing is about perception. If your customers think your place looks sloppy, that perception could reflect on your products and services as clearly as crystal.
As a business owner or key management person, you know your business should have a strategy for constantly adding to the bottom line. That growth strategy outlines goals and identifies the steps to be taken in achieving those objectives. In the end, this defines what you consider and will accept as success for your organization.
Larger companies generally have the resources to set these objectives through annual planning sessions or corporate retreats guided by independent third party professionals, such as Brand Irons. Smaller companies also have the ability to conduct these strategic success meetings and bring in professional guidance. The cost of these planning sessions are more than offset by the focus they bring to your corporate culture and the results they generate through higher productivity and reduced waste.
The richest value comes when your team agrees to and commits to the end result of the planning and is able to successfully implement a majority, if not all, of the objectives.
There are others, but here are five of the objectives your business should define:
Net Profit. What are your earnings projections for 2013? Subtract anticipated costs to come up with your expected net profit numbers for the year. Are those realistic and attainable numbers? Will they satisfy you and/or shareholders?
Annual Sales. Knowing what your bottom line is supposed to be, consider how sales will achieve those projections. Who is responsible for generating sales and what will they have to do to get them? Do you need more sales people?
Production. Evaluate whether the capacity exists to produce what is sold in a timely fashion, or whether there is sufficient inventory to meet demand. Take a close look at ways to streamline costs yet still deliver quality products and service to your customers and prospects.
Customer Service. How loyal are your clients to your brand(s)? Do they enjoy the experience of working with or purchasing from your organization? Do your sales personnel and front line people convey the right sense about your culture? That culture should pervade your entire organization. Does it?
Marketing Results. Whether it’s through sales, advertising, promotions, or public relations, your company’s marketing efforts should generate measurable results. What do you measure? Conversion rates for sales presentations. Client response to advertisements (sales directly tied to an ad, for instance). Increased “Likes” on your Facebook page. Phone calls asking for information or to arrange meetings. New subscribers to your newsletter. You decide what else to measure, based on what is important for generating results.
You define success measurements to better allocate resources. There’s an adage about setting goals that goes something along the lines of “If you set sail without a destination, how will you know when you get there?”
If you place an ad in the newspaper and ask viewers to call about a special offer, you can gauge the success of the ad by how many calls you receive. Then you must ask: Were there enough calls to 1) pay for the ad? and, 2) warrant the expense in terms of sales that resulted?
However you define success for your business, make sure you take the time to think through whether that is, realistically, how you want to define your success.