Thursday, November 8, 2012

Success in Small Business - What does it mean?

Success in small business No doubt, you went into small business with the intent of being successful. But what does success really mean to you ..... how do you personally define it?

  • Success in the start-up stage

At different stages of your business cycle chances are that your definition of success will change.

For many of us, the early days of starting our small business is simply about survival. Success is very simply defined as making more money than what we are spending. At the end of the week after all of the numbers are added up, as long as we are seeing black ink and not red ink in that final nett figure, then there is a sense of hopefulness about the viability of our business..

There are plenty of 12 hour days often supplemented with working on the weekends - but all of the hard work seems worthwhile, and our enthusiasm carries us through.

As we steer our business through the challenges and frustrations of the"start-up" stage, we see signs of success in the long term relationships we are beginning to establish with our customers. We are building trust and developing a local profile, slowly establishing a wider base of regular customers. Our anxiety starts to ease and our confidence in our business model begins to grow.

We are seeing that our business is generating a consistent profit and we now set our sights higher. Success is no longer being satisfied with survival, it becomes associated with business growth.

  • Success in growing the business

We may start to employ more staff. We set about trying to systemise the business so that it is not so dependent upon us.

We set ourselves higher goals around improving our market share ..... We start taking a longer term view and think about social media strategy and more carefully positioning the business. Success is no longer being measured solely in revenue and bottom line, it is now about increased market awareness of our brand and how we are perceived.

We are prepared to take some risks and invest in exploring new opportunities, perhaps expanding into new markets. There is a greater readiness to take a short term loss in the pursuit of longer term gains.

For many people at this stage in their business cycle, success is also now about being recognised and respected as a leader within their wider industry.

The benchmarks for measuring business success have well and truly lifted. We are no longer satisfied with equalling last year's financial targets - they must be surpassed. It seems our mantra as we look to the future becomes all too readily ...... Growth, Growth, Growth

  • Success, but at what price?

Regardless of whether you are in the start-up or growth stages of your business, it is important to reflect upon how you are defining success.

If it is just about money, could you run the risk of paying too high a price for becoming wealthy?  It's all well and good to find yourself now being able to buy a bigger house by the beach or drive a new car that makes a statement - but will you have someone to share it with?

Will financial success compensate if you have sacrificed relationships along the way with your family and friends. Will you be able to enjoy the fruits of your financial success, if you do not have good physical and mental health to accompany it?

At the end of your time here on this planet, do you think you will be reflecting upon your bank balance, or about the difference you've made to the lives of the people around you?

Yes, business success can be about achieving financial freedom. But it can also be measured in the level of job satisfaction that you experience and your overall sense of happiness, purpose, balance and well-being in your life. As corny as it sounds, we need to remind ourselves that success is as much about the journey as it is the destination.

And by the way, if your energy needs a bit of a boost, have a look at Self-Motivation ..... and if your spirit needs a bit of uplifting, you could visit Inspiration

  • So, what is success for you now?

After many years, I've finally come to understand that success means different things to different people. There have been too many times when I have been guilty of trying to impose my values and definition of success upon others ....... However, I would conclude by encouraging you to simply pause and reflect upon this.

You may be be judging your business success by the fact that you have been achieving your goals. Just make sure that you do not sacrifice what really matters along the way. Don't limit any audit of your success to just your bank balance.

But whatever your definition of success, I hope that you enjoy it.
You can find many more tips and resources at Small Business Management