One trend that I’ve noticed with my client base over the past few years is that businesses are either enjoying immense success or just barely surviving. Those in the middle are merely passing through on their way towards success or elimination.
I don’t believe that these two extremes have developed by accident. More and more, I’m seeing that every niche is dominated by one or two companies, while the remaining businesses are left to fight for their own survival.
Rather than studying the 95% of businesses that are struggling, let’s study the 5% that are doing things differently than everyone else in order to dominate their markets and enjoy success.
Here are eight things that separate the most successful business owners from the rest of the pack.
1. They have SMART profit goals
If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you may be familiar with SMART — an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. Every good profit goal has these attributes in common.
Imagine that you are setting a goal of 25% higher profits, for example. You should immediately start thinking about whether that goal is specific enough, whether it can be measured, whether it’s something your business can achieve, whether it’s a worthwhile goal for your business to have, and whether it can be completed in a given timeframe.
2. They eliminate all excuses
Far too many business owners make excuses when something goes wrong. Unfortunately, these types of excuses often stand in the way of them becoming highly profitable.
The best business owners understand that they are accountable for any setbacks and failures that occur. Rather than looking to assign blame, they take personal responsibility — the first step towards improving their businesses.
3. They are focused on constant improvement
Success doesn’t occur overnight, and you don’t stumble on it by accident. The best business owners understand this, and so they are intentional about constantly and incrementally improving their businesses each month.
I ask all of my coaching clients to dedicate four hours each week to improving their businesses. Look at this as 200 hours each year or even 1,000 hours over five years. Imagine what your business would look like if you spent this kind of time improving it!
4. They are committed to lifetime learning
For successful business owners, learning is not a destination but a journey. It’s no secret that today’s trends, strategies, and ideas are constantly evolving, so it’s critical that you stay alert.
The best business owners are able to glean all kinds of ideas from across various industries and find unique ways to apply them to their businesses.
5. They work to get rid of profit-killing mistakes
One of the fastest ways to increase profits is to simply eliminate the profit-killing mistakes that you’re already making.
Successful business owners know this, which is why they are constantly reviewing and improving all areas of their businesses — leaving no stone unturned when dealing with mistakes that could be stifling potential profits.
6. They understand the profit formula
Highly profitable businesses happen by design — not by accident. Successful business owners not only understand the following profit formula but can also apply it to their businesses:
A 10% increase in qualified leads
+ a 10% increase in the conversion of these leads into paying customers
+ a 10% increase in the annual sales amount per customer
+ a 10% increase in referrals from current customers
+ a 10% increase in customer retention
= a 10% increase in sales
+ a 10% increase in gross margins
– a 10% decrease in product costs, overhead expenses, and income taxes
= a huge increase in profit!
7. They set a time for working on their business
As mentioned earlier, it’s important that you work on improving your business. It’s not enough, however, to just say that you’re going to work on your business. There needs to be a specific time penciled into your calendar each month.
Whenever a client confirms that they will commit to spending four hours per week on their businesses, my next question to them is, when?
8. They have a business coach
Every successful business owner has a coach or mentor. Even though I’ve been working with small businesses for what seems like forever, I have two business coaches that I pay and meet with each month.
Sometimes they will help me develop a new strategy or idea. At other times, they will tell me what I’m doing wrong. In any case, the input that they provide is invaluable and only helps me increase my own business’s profitability!