What Does a Successful Business Look Like?

02 January 2024 by Shweta Jhajharia

Every day, business owners question the success of their professional endeavours. But what exactly does a successful business look like? From developing your own definition of success, to the best practices of successful businesses, this guide is here to help.

How Do You Define Success?

Firstly, it’s important to consider how you are currently defining success. Do you believe that a successful business is one that has the biggest client base? Or one that brings in the most money? Maybe it’s one that has been around for many years, or maybe it’s the opposite and a successful business is one that doesn’t last too long but sells for a high profit. In fact, there are many definitions of what makes a successful business.

It’s important to understand your own definition of success. What are your key business growth goals and objectives? What do you really hope to achieve and in what time frame? Success might look different for every individual business.

What Does a Successful Business Really Look Like?

Though success has many different faces, a successful business tends to be one that caters to its current client base, generates new clients, and continues to do so sustainably. But what does this mean? Being sustainable means expanding in a way that doesn’t make the company unstable or cheapen the quality of what it offers to its customers, but keeps up with demand.

In addition, sustaining your clientele can mean many things. It may be as simple as meeting the changing needs of its customers, or it might involve implementing a customer-focused strategy to ensure its client base is happy and comfortable with the brand image and positioning.

Success is not always about trying to gain as much money as possible – it is actually about long-term wealth creation. The most successful businesses provide consistent returns to their shareholders, working with long-term goals in mind and aiming for sustainable business growth.

Additionally, business success is about the ongoing development of products and services that will meet ongoing needs. It is about staying up-to-date with new technology and ensuring that the brand always represents the very best of the product it provides.

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Most Successful Businesses Examples

Most businesses try to get the most money they can, but this is not always true. Successful businesses are concerned with making long-term profits and generating sustainable growth, rather than achieving short-term gains.

Successful companies effectively meet the changing needs of their customers by developing new products or services that will make people happy. In addition, it’s important to have long-term goals when planning a business and to use realistic expectations.


Companies like Apple continue to develop their technology in order to make sure they are satisfying the changing needs of consumers. They do this by keeping up with trends and making new things for people to enjoy.

Apple’s long game was about giving customers what they wanted before they even realised they needed it. Soon after Jobs’s return, Apple became a public company and had to start delivering financial data to shareholders.

Jobs changed the way things worked at Apple by focusing on customer satisfaction instead of on maximising shareholder value. Now it is one of the most successful businesses worldwide, with a market capitalisation of over $700 billion.

Walt Disney 

Like Apple, Walt Disney built a successful business by meeting the needs of its customers and providing them with high-quality products. They have done this by investing in technological advancements, such as the first animated film Snow White (that used an innovative multi-plane camera).

Walt Disney also used other strategies that have remained effective, such as investing in research and development, actively seeking out investment opportunities worldwide, maintaining a strong management team, and developing their brand.

What Characteristics Make a Business Successful?

Clear Vision

Having a clear idea of your company mission, what your company does, and how it can achieve success is vital. You need to make sure that you are always able to make the right business decisions for the brand you are representing. This means working out how your business will succeed in your current market – one that may be changing rapidly. What do customers want? How can you meet the changing nature of those needs?

Having a clear vision is about knowing where you want to be and exactly what to do to get there. This includes understanding your primary objectives, business strategies, marketing efforts, and more. Making sure you have company-wide clarity on your business plan will help to ensure your success.

Read More: The 7 Effective Types of Business Growth Strategies

Great Leaders

It is crucial to have the right people in the right jobs at all times. The most successful businesses are always led by strong, passionate leaders that are able to motivate their employees and show them how to be successful.

Having great leadership within your company means being proactive rather than reactive, making sure everyone has what they need to get their jobs done, and creating an environment where people can excel.

Strong Company Culture

All businesses should aim to create a strong company culture that employees are drawn to (and want to stay with). A great business is one that has adapted its values, vision, and mission in order to meet the changing needs of its employees. This might be about providing exceptional customer service, being environmentally friendly, or even just focusing on making sure that your employees are happy.

Many of the most successful companies have strong corporate cultures that ensure they’re able to function efficiently and successfully as an organisation. This is what makes them stand out from their competitors – it’s what makes them unique.

New Ideas

Taking risks is crucial in order to stay ahead of the game. Businesses that do not take chances may ultimately find themselves behind the eight ball. If you’re always playing it safe, then there’s no room for creativity or innovation. This means taking calculated risks and thinking outside of the box in order to provide something new and interesting to customers.

Effective Technology

Without efficient technology, even the most successful businesses would fall apart. New technologies are created every day, and if your company is using the newest and best advancements available – you will inevitably be more successful than those that aren’t.

The most important thing to do here is to always stay up-to-date with current advancements and implement effective new technologies as soon as possible.

Empowered Employees

Ultimately, all successful businesses are able to empower their employees in order for them to be successful. This might involve evaluating performance on a regular basis, providing the necessary training and support needed, ensuring that people are aware of company goals, or even just rewarding hard work when it occurs.

Having empowered employees means that you have happy workers who truly believe in the mission of your business. They’ll feel as though they are part of something positive, that their work matters, and that they have a say in how this is achieved.

Client-Focused Approach

Being client-focused is about understanding what your customers want and being able to provide it, without them even having to ask. Focusing on the wants and needs of your customer base is crucial in order for you to be successful because this ensures that they remain loyal and satisfied with the products and services you offer.

The most successful businesses are always client-focused because it creates a win-win scenario. Customers get the products and services they need, while your company is able to create relevant solutions that meet their needs.

Creative Marketing Strategy

Marketing is a crucial aspect of any business. In fact, many businesses fail due to their inability to reach new customers. Customers need to know who you are and what your company can do for them in order to make a purchase.

In order to be successful and stand out from the competition, your marketing strategy needs to be creative and original. You might even want to look into small business digital marketing services that allow you to effectively reach your target audience.

Great digital marketing strategies may implement both on-site and off-site SEO best practices researched by industry experts, pay-per-click advertising, or social media marketing to help your business reach more customers and ensure that these clients understand your business.

Continual Training

With so many businesses to choose from, you have to be able to stand out in some way. The best way to do this is through continually training your employees – making sure that they are the most skilled and the best at what they do.

Continual training ensures that your company has a highly-skilled workforce, which gives it an edge over its competitors. Investing in your employees is the best way to ensure that they stay happy and engaged while providing quality services and products on a consistent basis. 

Continual training also allows you to bring new ideas into the company, constantly evolving and improving on your processes, thus leading to better solutions for customers.

How To Measure Business Success

Smart Goals

It’s important to have SMART goals when planning a successful business. This acronym stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

In order to be meaningful and effective, your goal should meet these five criteria. SMART objectives are great for the personal goals and professional goals of small business owners and all successful entrepreneurs. They are one of the key ingredients that make a company successful. 

Key Financial Performance Indicators

It’s important to analyse the financial performance of a business, as this will give some insight into how successful it is. There are several key financial indicators that can be measured in order to measure overall business success. These include liquidity, debt coverage and profitability ratios. Liquidity ratios involve looking at the company’s assets and liabilities. This can show whether the company has enough money to cover its debts and it can tell you if a business will be able to continue to operate going forward. This plays a key part in decision-making when it comes to choosing how to commit resources.

Related Reading: KPIs vs OKRs: Which Does Your Business Really Need?

Implement Frequent Assessments

A good company will implement frequent assessments in order to track the performance of your business. This should be part of an ongoing process, not just something you do once and forget about. This could include assessing your financial plan, understanding which marketing channels are generating the most success, or competitive research to ensure you are offering a better service than other small businesses in your industry. 

This can also help you to stay on top of any potential problems so that they don’t escalate and can help you identify a weak area to make your next primary objective. Additionally, this helps with active risk management because it gives you more insight into how your business is operating and enables you to make the appropriate adjustments.

Successful Business Resources

If you believe that you might need some extra help in order to start a successful business, there are many resources at your disposal, including:

  • Our industry blog is full of expert articles with a focus on business growth, sustainability and how to run a successful business.
  • You could also seek out the help of an expert business growth consultant to ensure your business strategy is going to meet your business goals.

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Shweta Jhajharia

Shweta Jhajharia is one of the leading authorities on Business Value Building and the creator of the unique 6M Model. Shweta is widely respected as an impactful, intelligent and results orientated professional who helps business leaders unleash their potential to reach meaningful, higher objectives. This realisation of potential and maximisation... Read more