10 Things Every Business Needs To Succeed

It’s a jungle out there. Small businesses have an alarming failure rate, and that’s at least partly because many of them simply don’t have what it takes to succeed. Of course, businesses can fail due to circumstances beyond their control, but you can always exert a degree of influence over whether your business fails or not. So, does your business have what it takes to achieve long-term success? Can you last where others have faltered? Here are 10 things that every business needs to succeed.

1. Investment

It’s a sad truth that businesses are nothing without external forces showing financial faith in them, but it’s a truth nonetheless. Every business needs investment to succeed. Of course, that money doesn’t need to come from elsewhere; if you’ve got savings, you could pump them into the business, or you could even seek out online personal loans to get you started if you don’t think a business loan will be forthcoming. However you choose to do it, be sure that you’re out there hustling and looking for funding opportunities.

2. A business plan

Your business plan sets out everything your business intends to achieve within a given time frame. Naturally, this document is subject to change and alteration as the markets fluctuate, but for the most part, it should be a consistent plan to which you can refer every time you need guidance. Your plan should be short, concise, and accurate; leave the business jargon and unnecessary fluff for the amateurs. Any staff member should be able to look at your plan and know exactly what they need to do immediately.

3. A niche

If you want to succeed as a small business, then you will need to identify your niche and serve it well. Given that larger businesses are always better at being all things to all people, your business needs to “slot into the cracks”, so to speak. You’ll need to undertake extensive market research to know what your niche is and how you can best serve it, but that research will pay off when you start seeing your business improve because of it.

4. A unique approach

Of course, it isn’t enough simply to identify your niche. You also need to differentiate yourself from the competition by providing genuine value in a way that other businesses don’t already do. You could do this by emphasising a customer service-centred approach, creating a unique user experience, or leveraging unique skills you and your staff members have. Only you will know the best way to be individual, but however you do it, this is a vital trait for a business.

5. Meticulous record-keeping

More than any other type of business, a small business needs to know exactly where it is and what it’s doing at any given time. This means keeping extensive records of every transaction into which you enter, and it also means chasing invoices and payments as soon as they’re due. If you’re alone, this can feel like a difficult task, so make sure to hire dedicated staff for this task if you’re able. When hiring staff is impossible, be sure to create a system rather than just relying on memory.

6. A social media presence

Traditional marketing is certainly not dead, but it has moved over to some extent in order to accommodate social media marketing. This means that for any business to succeed in this day and age – especially smaller outfits – a social media presence is required. You’ll need to build a page on every major social media platform, and while these can change from moment to moment, there are mainstays (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) that are important in an evergreen sense.

7. A unique website

You shouldn’t just be relying on social media alone to do all the legwork for you when it comes to your online presence. Building a web platform for your business is vital, as it’s how business-to-business customers (as well as many regular clients) will find you and learn about you. This website should also be optimised for mobile platforms; many people will only access your site via mobile devices, so it’s important for your site to look appealing on every screen.

8. The right employees

Good help is hard to find. So goes the adage, and it’s not for nothing that this has become a commonly-used aphorism in business. Hiring the right staff involves a combination of luck, a thorough interview process, and good judgement on the part of you or your HR personnel. The importance of ensuring your staff are skilled cannot be overstated, though, and if you hire the right people now – even if it takes a little longer – then you won’t run into trouble later down the line.

9. A network

No business can succeed alone, especially in today’s connected world. It’s important to build connections and try to network as much as you can. This includes your competitors; though they may be vying for the same market space as you, this doesn’t mean you can’t collaborate or reach out across the divide to build meaningful, impactful relationships with them. The more hostility you engender in the business world, the more alone you’ll be when the hard times come.

10. Dedication

Building a business is very hard work. If you don’t have the dedication required to approach constructing your business, then you’re quickly going to find that the workload overwhelms you. It’s important to know what you’re getting into before you get into it. Spend time planning your business, trying to anticipate every eventuality, and learning common problems that business owners face. The more knowledgeable you are when starting up your business, the better-equipped you’ll be to face problems when they arise.    

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.