7 traits of a successful business

As I’m just wrapping up a whirlwind series of meetings with clients in Milwaukee and Madison Wisconsin, I was struck by the impressive, albeit steady successes these accounting clients are all enjoying. I couldn’t pick a more mixed bag of industries, including specialty retail, B to B service, IT support, supplier to the construction industry, and so on. It doesn’t matter what type of business you own. As evidenced by my list of clients, there is someone in your industry that has the discipline to get it right and they are enjoying sales growth, profit, or both.

I thought it would be a good idea to list what they all have in common. Hopefully you will consider some of these points to help improve your business. Here is a brief list of my opinion of what they’re all doing right.

  1. Every one of these businesses is aggressively pursuing new markets. They are not dissuaded by the bad economic news we hear every day.
  2. Tied very closely to point number one is that they all are exceedingly patient. They are not chasing any new business just to get the sale. They are accountable to a business plan, and don’t seem to have any problem turning down new business if it doesn’t fit their model.
  3. They are all hiring, but cautiously.
  4. Interestingly, their marketing spending is much smaller than their industry average. They rely on pleasing their current customer base.
  5. Hard work, long hours. They put in more time than most small business owners I know. They are tired and energized at the same time. Not stressed.
  6. None of them have significant debt, and all of them have significant money in the bank. As I’ve examined their accounting records and prodded them to bolster their balance sheets, their confidences (and options) have grown. Wouldn’t having tens of thousands in your savings account give you confidence?
  7. We have worked hard to develop reliable KPI’s or financial metrics, unique to their business, so that at a glance we understand what’s really going on in their business. In other words, they care, but don’t obsess over financial results.

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