Every budding entrepreneur should take a few moments to recognize what it is that makes a company a success. How do you know you are successful and can you pinpoint the moment you just knew you were a success? These are things to keep in mind when starting a new company or even when trying to grow a business beyond its current limits. Here are 4 signs of a successful company. If your company meets or exceeds these key indicators, you can go to sleep happy tonight in the knowledge that you have achieved your goals.
People Know You by Name
In recent years there has been much talk of the word ‘branding.’ This is important on a number of levels but mostly because you want customers (and potential customers!) to recognize you by name. When they think of your service or product you want them to immediately think your company. You want your name to be the first ‘thought association’ when your company is mentioned.
Two prime examples come to mind here, one being Coca-Cola and the other Kleenex. In the United States it is a safe bet to say that perhaps 95% of all people ask for a Kleenex. Of course, not all facial tissues are manufactured by Kleenex but they still refer to any facial tissue, no matter how generic, as a Kleenex. The same holds true for Coca-Cola. Many restaurants serve colas distributed by competitors, yet patrons still ask for a Coke. In fact, in the Deep South, it is customary to refer to literally any soda of any flavor as a Coke!
Profits Exceed Losses on Annual Reports
Every business has its ups and downs but if your company can show annual profits that exceed losses, you are surely a success. It is only to be expected that some quarters will dip into the red from time to time, but if you can bounce back during the next period, you may break even or rise a bit. You want a steady growth pattern on your annual reports and if you can show this year after year, you can honestly say your business is financially successful.
Employees Actually Enjoy Coming to Work!
There is nothing more devastating to a business than employees who hate their jobs. Not only does this bode ill for productivity but it also affects their relationship with clients and potential clientele. Anyone who has ever been in sales knows that the best way to close a deal is to be confident in your product and the underlying company. If you can’t be excited about your product or service, how can you expect customers to have faith in what you have to offer?
Perhaps the only thing more contagious than excitement is depression. A single unhappy and dissatisfied employee can quickly infect an entire department until the contagion has spread throughout the entire business. One by one workers begin moaning about working conditions, pay and benefits until they even find fault with the suit the boss is wearing! How depressing is that and would you want to do business with a bunch of disgruntled and unhappy people? We think not!
In the words of billionaire Donald Trump – you MUST love what you are doing! That is the key to any successful enterprise.
Continual and Steady Growth within Your Market
Here is where some new business owners fail to realize the potential their company has for future profitability. Just because you are not showing a profit at the moment doesn’t mean that you are a failure. Somehow owners and directors equate their profit margin with success. This should be the case but is not always so for new companies. As long as you can show continual and steady growth within your market, you are on your way to success.
If cashflow is a problem, it doesn’t mean you aren’t on the road to success, it may be just a temporary glitch on your uphill climb. There are options to explore when you need an influx of capital. Learn about them here.
It is important to remember that you have invested a great deal of startup capital. You may be at the very top of organic searches on Google and customers are beginning to flock to your site or location but you are yet to show a profit. Don’t despair because you are on your way up! Money coming in is probably being sunk right back into the company. Your books may not show a profit but you are continually growing.
Once you are able to recognize these 4 signs of a successful company in light of your business, you can proudly declare yourself a success. If people know who you are and what you sell, you have gained prominence in your market. If your company continues to earn a profit, even in your absence, you are a success. Do your employees love coming to work and are they literally bursting with excitement? A successful company will be filled with workers who are happy to go above and beyond. Finally, if you can see steady growth in a client base even if the books are barely breaking even, you know you are on the road to success.
Success is being able to rest at night knowing that your business will still be there when the sun comes up in the morning.
Keith Tully is the managing director and key business turnaround expert at Real Business Rescue. He enjoys helping companies throughout the UK realize their potential by turning losses into profits.
Image credit: CC by metin demiralay