There are some abiding, timeless principles that every business must apply – if it is to succeed over the long term. We’ve summed up the essential principles after researching the thoughts of business leaders and thinking about it ourselves. Here are Just Business Today’s top five principles for business success.
A vision for your business is the thing that keeps it on track; moving towards a happy future where it is more productive, valuable and possibly bigger.
A vision is a picture of your future business. The vision remains fairly constant through the ups and downs of daily activities. You are always on a mission to realize your vision.
While the exact path for getting there may be uncertain and variable, you know the destination and you do what is required to keep moving towards it. A vision generates leadership, strategy and motivation. You go harder, which contributes to startup success in particular, because you have know what potentially awaits in terms of your future business.
Without a vision, you lack an over-riding objective. Where your business will be in the future is unclear. Decisions made on a daily basis may seem sensible, but they could be taking you to a place where you don’t really want to go. That is why a strong vision for your business is essential.
Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. Thoughts are things! And powerful things at that, when mixed with definiteness of purpose, and burning desire, can be translated into riches.~ Napoleon Hill
I like thinking big. If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big. ~ Donald Trump
Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success. ~ Swami Vivekananda
In almost any business endeavor, there is competition. Beating the competition is enables your business to flourish and may be essential just for survival.
If you lack a competitive edge, you need to find one. If you already have it, you need to keep working to consolidate and build on it. In this way, competition drives effort and innovation.
Potential competitive advantages exist in many areas. Industry characteristics determine which area gives the biggest edge. You may be competing mainly on cost, quality, service standards, branding or technology.
One thing we know about competitive edges is that they tend to dull over time. Rivals attempt to follow successful approaches. Supply and customer markets are constantly evolving. A competitive edge is not really one if it can’t be sustained in some way.
There is always competition. Whatever you do, there will be competition, and you have to decide how you’re going to play. For me, I had to be the very best. I had to be the very best. Because, if I was not the very best, I would end up being number two. ~ Debbi Fields
If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete. ~ Jack Welch
Good enough never is. Set your standards so high that even the flaws are considered excellent. ~ Debbi Fields
You can’t make a fortune in an industry unless you really understand the industry. Intimate industry knowledge is needed to do things better than your rivals; more quickly, at less cost, to higher standards and more strategically.
Gaining this knowledge doesn’t necessarily require many years of hard-won experience though. There are ways to fast track the process. You can:
- do a good university business course (so you know what is important for achieving business success)
- research the top companies are (so you can take their best ideas and benchmark your quality against them).
- find out what they are selling (so you can design a product that’s different).
- learn how they are positioning themselves to customers (and seek to have a different positioning).
- get to know knowledgeable people in your industry (and model the best people and behaviors).
You are well on a path to having the industry knowledge you need to succeed when you recognize that you must always be learning and see knowledge sources all around you.
To succeed in business, to reach the top, an individual must know all it is possible to know about that business. ~ J. Paul Getty
We look for opportunities where we can offer something better, fresher and more valuable and we seize them. We often move areas where the customer received a poor deal and where the competition is complacent. And with our growing e-commerce activities, we also look to deliver old products in new ways. We are proactive and quick to act, often leaving bigger and more cumbersome organizations in our wake. ~ Richard Branson
The secret of business is to know something that nobody else knows. ~ Aristotle Onassis
Successful business operators are doers. They try new things, take risks and take shortcuts (when appropriate). They see what they want to achieve and forge a path to make it happen – quickly. They are resilient and adaptable.
It is impossible for a business to succeed if its leaders want to sit in a comfort zone. Business is too dynamic and complex for that.
Aside from your core business activities, there are many other things you may need to get done. To grow a business, you need to market and win sales. You need to correctly price your products and services. Someone needs to stay on top of the books. And as the business grows, you need to manage more staff.
These things need don’t only just need to be done, usually they need to be done well.
The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer. ~ Nolan Bushnell
The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow. ~ Rupert Murdoch
The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it. ~ Debbi Fields
We all know business is chaotically busy and fast moving. Workloads can be overwhelming. For many of us, it’s nearly impossible to get the day’s To Do List actually done. Succeeding at business management depends on succeeding at time management.
So now, more than ever, we need to perfect the science of personal productivity. We need to focus on getting the crucial tasks done that make all the difference to our success. Rather than getting caught up in the urgent but not important stuff that bombards us each day, we need to invest time in the things most help us realize our business vision.
Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days. ~ Zig Ziglar
I learned that we can do anything, but we can’t do everything… at least not at the same time. So think of your priorities not in terms of what activities you do, but when you do them. Timing is everything. ~ Dan Millman
It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste time. ~ Henry Ford
Strategy Complements Management
Most of the things that you do as a manager are similar to the things that your competitors are doing. These things are the things that constitute good management.
On the other hand, your strategy consists of the things you do differently. They probably make up no more than 5% of your busy schedule but they are your differentiation and they make all the difference.
Good management provides you with the entrance ticket to the competition. Strategy allows you to win the battle for the consumer. It’s an important distinction.
Only differentiation is strategy because it is only your uniqueness that can be a basis for customer preference. Consumers seldom notice that you are better than your competitors; however, they will invariably notice that you are different.