The Ten Keys to Business Success
There are ten critical areas where your ability to think largely determines the success or failure of your business. The greater clarity you have in each of these areas, the better decisions you will make and better results you will achieve.
What is the purpose of a business? Many people think that the purpose of a business is to earn a profit, but they are wrong. The true purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer. Fully 50 percent of your time, efforts, and expenses should be focused on creating and keeping customers in some way.
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The key measure of business success is customer satisfaction. Your ability to satisfy your customers to such a degree that they buy from you rather than from someone else, that they buy again, and that they bring their friends is the key determinant of growth and profitability.
The key requirement for wealth building and business success is for you to add value in some way. All wealth comes from adding value. All business growth and profitability come from adding value. Every day, you must be looking for ways to add more and more value to the customer experience.
The most important person in the business is the customer. You must focus on the customer at all times. Customers are fickle, disloyal, changeable, impatient, and demanding-just like you. Nonetheless, the customer must be the central focus of everything you do in business.
In life, work, and business, you will always be rewarded in direct proportion to the value of your contribution to others, as they see it. The focus on outward contribution, to your company, your customers, and your community, is the central requirement for you to become an ever more valuable person, in every area.
The most important question you ask, to solve any problem, overcome any obstacle, or achieve any business goal is “How?” Top people always ask the question “How?” and then act on the answers that come to them.
In a world of rapid change and continuing aggressive competition, you must practice continuous improvement in every area of your business and personal life. As Pat Riley, the basketball coach, said, “If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.”
The heartbeat of your business is sales. Dun & Bradstreet analyzed thousands of companies that had gone broke over the years and concluded that the number-one reason for business failure was “low sales.” When they researched further, they found that the number-one reason for business success was “high sales.” And all else was commentary.
The most important number in business is cash flow. Cash flow is to the business as blood and oxygen are to the brain. You can have every activity working efficiently in your business, but if your cash flow is cut off for any reason, the business can die, sometimes overnight.
Every business must have a growth plan. Growth must be the goal of all your business activities. You should have a goal to grow 10 percent, 20 percent, or even 30 percent each year. Some companies grow 50 percent and 100 percent per year, and not by accident. The only real growth is profit growth. Profit growth is always measurable in what is called “free cash flow.” This is the actual amount of money that the business throws off each month, each quarter, and each year, above and beyond the total cost and expense of running a business.
You should have a growth plan for the number of new leads you attract and for the number of new customers you acquire from those leads. You should have a growth plan for sales, revenues, and profitability. If you do not deliberately plan for continuous growth, you will automatically stagnate and begin to fall behind. Growth is not an accident; so you must plan and map out your growth plan if you want your business to see a bright future.
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