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8 Characteristics of Successful Businesses

Apple, Microsoft, Whole Foods, Target, Bell, Cogeco. These companies are all successful. What does it take to create, run and maintain a successful business? Here are 8 common characteristics that may shed some insight.

1. Vision

Without a vision of the business you want to create, how will you create it? Without a clear goal of where the company wants to go, it won’t. Ask yourself what you expect to get out of the business. Larger profit margins? Large customer base? Helping a million people a day? 

2. Business Culture

Business culture is a culmination of the owners, leaders, head managers and employees’ behaviors. From insights to opinions—and even core beliefs—a culture depends on great accountability from everyone involved in the business. Everybody involved is engaged and enthusiastic.

3. Customer Relationships

What makes your business special to customers? How can you strengthen the bond between your goods and services, and the people who buy/use them? What makes your business different from the pack? Let’s say that you own a warehouse.

What can shipping supplier get from your warehouse, as a client, that they can’t get from another warehouse on the other side of town? Improve your communication style with customers to make them feel more valued. Like a human who is more than a profit statistic.

4. Business Plan

Once the “visionary goal” is set in stone, it’s time to put that plan into action. This means writing out a business plan. This plan will cover marketing analytics, plan of operations, budgetary and financial expenditures, staffing plans, etc. Everything that goes in and out of your business will be strategized and planned for. This will keep you thinking about your business long-term.

5. Financial Literacy

Do you understand finances? You’d better if you want your business to stay afloat – or upgrade to the next level. Forgo becoming an accountant or bookkeeper – hire others to fill those positions. Your job, if you want your business to be more successful than it is, is to thoroughly comprehend financial reports. This can be an arduous, complex process. But it is necessary for building a cash-flow plan and managing expenses. Being fiscally solid prevents financial stress.

6. Customer Service

No company in the world is a monopoly. Even BP oil has competitors. Companies that treat their customers like garbage, and numbered statistics, can expect to lose those customers. Customers who have no qualms about taking their business else where – despite any incurring fees and charges. Dedicate resources towards making sure your customers thoroughly enjoy and love your products/services. You can use text messaging service to connect to customers faster.

7. Create short-term goals

Does your business have measurable short-term goals? Figure out what your company needs to achieve by the next quarter. Making a list of short-term goals will show you what you need to do to make your long-term business plan achievable.

Related Reading: How to set aggressive and achievable goals for your startup

8. Resilience

Every business in every industry goes through a difficult period of time. From business owners, to shareholders and employees, everyone will hit rough patches. Johnson & Johnson, a company that’s been around since humans discovered fire, recently recalled its baby powder products due to an unexpected discovery of asbestos. You’d better believe that everyone involved in the corporation is resilient enough to weather that storm. You can practice overcoming insurmountable obstacles by managing your emotions and being delusional.


These are several common characteristics of successful businesses. Other factors cannot be ignored, such as leadership of the owners. Another factor is supply and demand: do people need what you’re selling or offering?

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