We all seem to want it.
We all seem to seek it.
“Success” seems to be the magic word for what we chase after, prepare for, choose, desire. It’s how we often define our lives. Money, fame, power and impact or contribution are often what we have been told make up success. If we don’t get it, we’re consumed with envy of those who do. Those who feel they have lost this golden ring have mental breakdowns, mid-life crises, and get ill just thinking about it. Others give up, and decide that success isn’t all that important; what is important is simply having a job, keeping food on the table and having the children’s fees paid. Others, at the end of their lives, suddenly realise they blew it, and what they thought they had, they never had at all.
Here below, we look at the different ways that people define success;
- Many people today define success with money, and by what money can buy. These people are known as materialistic. They’ll always strive after things and define success by the items that money can buy – such as posh cars, the size of their homes and designer clothes. This doesn’t mean more fulfillment or contributing to make the world better in some way. It simply means more things.
- Some define success by the sense of balance they have between their work lives and the rest of their lives. To them, work is not what success is about but they believe that life needs to be balanced. They argue that work is not meant to be the only thing in our lives. Key aspects of a balanced life include time for family, friends and fun among others. Such people will view success more in terms of whether their work supports their family life, social interests or get time to always go for prayers or even exercises.
- Another category of people, success is defined by effectiveness and contribution. The questions they seek answered include: “Are they making things happen? Are they achieving project goals? Are they contributing in a way that adds value to the project?” Success for them means the project becomes better as a result of their participation. They can see the results, and feel fulfilled by their work, but also know their work fulfills others, either because the product they make is useful, or because the service they provide is helpful.
- Lastly, some others define success by whether their job suits them and by how much joy they have as a result of their work. They define it by the joy they feel when they do the work; the joy they feel when they’ve finished the work; and by the joy that others feel as a result of their work. If their work doesn’t add to their sense of happiness and joy of themselves and others, then no matter how much money they’ve earned or how many accolades they receive, they don’t feel successful. This joy not only comes from their own work, but from the collaboration with other talented people who not only bring their skills to the project, but also bring harmony to the working relationship.
How then can we tell that a business is successful?
Many entrepreneurs will face many stressful days and sleepless nights to make their businesses a reality. Once they have moved out of the survival stage, they are then faced with the big question, “Will my business be a success?”
Our experience at BLEGSCOPE is that success in business is not the end but it’s a process. We’ve learnt that entrepreneurs will from time to time set goals and once achieved, they consider their businesses successful and fresh targets shall be set. Success will therefore be re-defined depending at which level of business you’ve achieved and the next set goals.
We now bring you the five simple ways to gauge whether or not your business is on the path to success.
- Profit: Profitability is probably the first thing people think about when measuring success. Is the business making money? This is fairly common sense — if there is money left after you have paid your monthly operating expenses and debt, then things are looking pretty good. However, if you find your bottom line is continually red, your chances of success begin to dwindle.
- A growing customer base: In addition to profitability, a growing customer base is a sure sign that you are effectively reaching your target market, and reaching your target market is what your business is all about. Without a vibrant customer base, your success will be limited, at best. The long-term growth of your company is tied directly to your ability to not only reach your customer base, but to expand it to accommodate your long-term goals.
- Customer satisfaction: Customer satisfaction is an indication that your company understands the needs of your customers. Understanding your customers and being able to satisfy their needs is crucial to the strength of your business. Just remember, one unsatisfied customer can negate the promotional impact of several satisfied customers. Having strong customer service polices will add to the success of your company.
- Employee satisfaction:Employee satisfaction is another key indicator of business success. Developing a work environment that rewards employees for their hard work is imperative in attracting and retaining quality employees. If workers know they are appreciated, they are much more likely to go the extra mile when needed. Employees are an indispensable part of your business. They are the face that greets your customers. Do everything within your power to make sure that face is a smiling one.
- Owner satisfaction: Perhaps the most important measure of business success is whether you (the owner) are satisfied with the results of business ownership. Dissatisfaction is contagious. If you’re not happy with your business, it won’t be long before your dissatisfaction begins to affect the employees and even the customers. Every once in a while, carve out time for a reality check. Identify the sources of your dissatisfaction and make the necessary changes before it’s too late.
Next Tuesday, I will continue this article with Part II building on it.
Brian is the Managing Director at BLEGSCOPE®, and has over 9 years of management consultancy experience notably in the finance and banking industry, MSMEs, FMCG companies and in the service industry. You can follow him on twitter: @BrianAhabweK