“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” Warren Buffet

Businesses are facing enormous change. Starting a new business now may seem like a daunting prospect. By contrast, change also creates opportunities, and there has always been and will be change.

Any business needs of course to be run efficiently, and in a cost effective way in terms of its investments, operations and finance. This is not enough however as human needs and skills will be a feature of businesses, even in those organisations that rely on technology. In this challenging business environment, and all market conditions, there are factors that will always help to increase the chance of a business succeeding, even in industries undergoing disruptive change. These factors are under your control and are highlighted in the following quote

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” John Wooden

Attitude and personal characteristics are crucial influences on the chances of a business surviving and prospering. In an article[1] the following quote summarises very effectively the importance of personal qualities

“So much of success derives from mindset rather than skillsets…. … Mindset is who you really are at your core. It’s your habitual way of thinking.”  

The article referred to is of course one of many on the subject of personal skills that influence success. This article reflects the author’s view of some key factors that all business owners and stakeholders should strive to achieve, which are:

Enthusiasm: If you are enthusiastic about your business, you are likely to bring positive energy in building your business.

Tenacity: Whether it is called tenacity, patience or perseverance, your business will take time to build. There will be setbacks and moments of doubt. If you are however enthusiastic and tenacious you will learn from setbacks and use disappointments to improve what you do.

This doesn’t mean of course that you should expect instant success. Patience and persistence are needed

Striving for excellence: we may be living in a society which has increasingly been characterised by looking for “instant results” and “something new” but consumers will always appreciate good quality.

Reliability: your product and the people involved in your business have to be reliable.

Empathy: The success of your business depends on meeting the reasonable needs of your customers and target market. Viewing what your business offers from the customer’s perspective, not just the products/services, but also why the customer is interested in the product and their emotional needs, is crucial in building a successful business.

Consistency: too much change can create confusion. Be clear about your products/ services and introduce change where needed. The pace of change needed will of course vary according to industry, but in introducing any change ask the question “how will my customers / target market benefit from any changes?”

Attention to top quality: we are living in an era of increasing digitalisation. The way in which we purchase goods is changing but the desire for good quality service, pre and post sale, is something that consumers will always want.

Communicating effectively: In most business sectors there are a multitude of competitors so you need to ensure that the key features and benefits of your product / service is being effectively communicated. We are living at a time of information overload and there is an adverse reaction towards overly assertive sales techniques, so how and how often you communicate with potential clients needs to be tailored accordingly.

Fairness: Customers expect to be dealt with fairly, promptly and in a transparent way

Accepting constructive feedback: Businesses develop over time. Especially at the outset a product / service is likely to need refinement. There will be some unreasonable complaints, but even in those cases use feedback as a basis for introducing changes where needed to enhance your product / service to meet and exceed customers’ realistic expectations.

Businesses are run by people for other people.  Paying attention to the characteristics referred to above are a vital ingredient in increasing the chances of success in your business.