Business Owners Toolbox Blog Discussions and articles to help the small business owner solve the challenges they face as they grow their business.

October 15, 2009

What are the leading indicators of business success?

Asked by John Cameron on LinkedIn

Good questions, John!
With the entrepreneurs and small business owners I work with, here are some of the personal success indicators I look for:

— Desire to be a manager and executive, not just a worker and detail person. (Many prefer just to keep working away.)
— Habit of stepping back and looking at the big picture regularly
— Planning, even in the face of uncertainty; then review their plan regularly, take corrective action, and update it as needed
— Willing to hire top quality people–even people smarter than they are
— Delegate as many things as they can to others, to free them up to focus on strategic issues
— Willing to invest in their own business; to take a risk; to hire a person they cannot afford right now, but who can help them break out
— Get support from peers and experts who have been where they want to go. Listen to and learn from these people, even when it’s uncomfortable.
— Continual learning: improving management skills, mastering new technologies, broadening industry knowledge

Note that these are about the individual, not the business concept or model. However, I also look for:

— A business model that promises profit margins adequate to pay them well, but also to fund growth, pay back investors, and provide a cushion for tough times.

Also, notice that I said nothing about working 24/7. I do not think that correlates well with business success.

I have a Business Viability Test that I use to assess business models. I haven’t yet included that in my e-tools, but I think I will.

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