The Six Fundamentals of Business Success

Posted On: September 26

This evening I’m giving a speech to 350 CEOs of small to medium-size businesses and I’ve been asked to talk about some of the fundamental elements necessary to build and sustain a highly successful organization. After running several companies and spending the last 22 years of my life helping businesses around the world be more successful, here are a few things I think every business owner needs to focus on:

  1. Start with a clear vision and purpose for why you are building the company. By the way, if the only reason you’re starting the company is to make money, there’s a good chance it will fail. Success comes from a genuine passion to help your customers, if you are focused intently on that and charge a price that allows you solid profit margin, everything should work out fine in the end.
  2. Solve a real problem. You also have to make sure that your vision and purpose are focused on delivering products and services that the market eagerly wants to buy. It does not matter if you think what you sell is really cool, the only critic whose opinion counts is the customer.
  3. Build a world-class team. Competitors can copy your products, beat you on price, outspend you on marketing, but one thing they cannot do easily is beat a company that truly values top talent and gets them engaged and passionate about serving their customers.
  4. Extreme Customer Focus. I have said this a million times and I am more than happy to say it a million more: whoever can attract, grow and retain the best talent, and also “owns the voice of the customer,” has a huge market advantage. Fantastic employees who build great customer relationships are a key to success in every business.
  5. Quality and control. This one is very fundamental, but without it the other things above can’t work. You have to have very high quality products and services, deliver consistently superior customer service and manage the financials of your business with extreme discipline. There is a reason that one of the most often used clichés in business is: Cash is King.
  6. Disciplined Execution. Once you’ve got all of the above factors in place, then you must be incredibly vigilant in always focusing on the most important things in your business and making sure they get done. If you do not take the time to make these things your top priorities, then you will likely have to make time for bankruptcy court.

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  1. Hi John,
    I like your business success fundamentals. Lately I have been finding that one bad habit of a financially successful CEO is taking his or her eye off the ball to do extra curricula activities or just plain having fun. A little is OK or even good. Too much, however, will cause a fast and terminal destruction of the business. Working on the business must always be # 1 priority. Have you seen these signs?

    Thanks for your blogs!
    Bill Hopf

    1. Absolutely Bill, I have seen CEOs get their business up and running well and then get bored or simply want to go spend more time on their boat or at the golf course. Like you mentioned, that’s all well and good and they have earned some fun, but too many times they forget to ever come back to the office. They lose focus and hope that the business will continue to run well without any input or guidance from them. If you’ve got a great team they can likely keep things running for a while, but eventually it will probably be the death of the company. I also see this when one generation of owners hands the company to their kids who consider the business simply an ATM and want to spend their time having fun and spending money – not running the business. Thanks so much for your comment Bill – hope you doing great.

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