How To Be Successful In Business - We Asked 675 Successful Business Owners

I wanted to know what exactly it takes to own a successful business. We asked 675 successful business owners exactly how to be successful in business. I mean, why wouldn't we ask those people if they are killing it!?

Enjoy the read; we are positive that you will gain a valuable insight into what makes someone a successful business owner and what does not. PLUS, you will learn to avoid simple mistakes that cost your business THOUSANDS!

Collecting The Business Data

Over the years of helping many business owners achieve success with their own companies, we realized that we didn't have any data (apart from our own) that explained and quantified what makes a business success story.

After years of coaching business owners, we had an understanding that entrepreneurs willing to work hard and push creative boundaries were all signs of a success story in waiting. However, this wasn't a guarantee of success.

Why wasn't it?

thinking about how to be successful in business

We assumed that some founders get "unlucky" in the business world, and some do. But, we didn't have the data to back this up. So, we thought, "why not ask many business owners what it takes to be a business success?"

So we did.

We classified business success by the owner's interpretation of success. Not everyone opens a business to become a quadzillionaire, no! We have clients that love painting and want to get paid for doing it.

That's why we didn't set a plain old data metric. Because in 2022, that doesn't work anymore. Everyone is unique, and we wanted to get the thoughts of all of these incredible innovators.

We didn't just ask randoms that had a business opened two weeks ago. We collected data from a varied number of business owners in different niches operating for different periods of time. You can see some of those inputs below.

Our Business Data Inputs

  • A list of business owners located mainly in the United States was gathered. We had some coaching clients from Australia willing to contribute to the data collection as well.
  • Business owners running their businesses for a few years were contacted.
  • Our successful business owners were asked a total of five questions.
  • We utilized multiple-choice questionnaires and facilitated text responses, allowing owners to include any insight that they believed essential but that wasn't on the questionnaire.

What Our Business Owners Had To Say

Our respondents are all successful business owners in their classification of the word. But there were some areas of business they all agreed on. Below are all of the questions we asked,

Do You Believe $10k Is Enough To Start A Business

Today $10k doesn't go very far. After you pay to start an LLC and hire a small business tax professional, there goes about 20% of your funds. But our respondents didn't seem to think that $10k was a small figure.

85.7% of the business owners asked believed that $10k was enough to start a business and build a brand.

Do You Believe $10k Is Enough To Start A Business

Before the pandemic, one third of startups only had $5,000 to commence operations.

How Long Should You Keep Your Business Going Before Giving Up

90% of startups fail. We have always believed that if you start a business, you should make every effort to give it your all. But, for how long?

Most of our respondents believe that you should work on your business for at least 24 months before throwing in the towel. Interestingly, no one responded that you should only spend six months working on your company. The lowest time period our business owners suggested was 12 months.

How Long Should You Keep Your Business Going Before Giving Up

Should A Business Invest In Marketing

Astonishingly, 94.3% of our team of business owners said YES. A new business should invest in marketing. We were blown away by this because it is widespread knowledge (well, it used to be) that a company should try to focus on organic growth to ensure success. This blew us away as we have an extensive list of clients that believe marketing is like investing in voodoo magic.

Should A Business Invest In Marketing

Does Your Website Generate Most Of Your Leads

71.4% responded with No. In 2020, with Covid-19 running through society, we found it rather interesting that our group of small business owners were telling us that their website didn't generate their leads. When we work with a new client, we try to maximize their website for lead generation.

Does Your Website Generate Most Of Your Leads

Finally, We Asked Our Business Owners To Write Key Points They Believed Were Crucial For Success

As you can imagine, trying to compile a vast amount of data from a heap of successful entrepreneurs was an exciting endeavor. What we thought would be most valuable for you would a compilation of a list of the topics most owners mentioned as keys to business success.

Here Are 11 Business Tips From Our Respondents

Your Business Needs Strong Leadership To Be Successful

Your Business Needs Strong Leadership To Be Successful

#1 on our list of custom responses was that successful businesses need strong leadership. Out of all the custom responses, the importance of leadership was mentioned in two thirds of responses.

Some people in the group mentioned that you should perfect your leadership skills before starting your business.

If you want to improve your leadership, you can begin by working with a leadership mentor or a business coach. These people take entrepreneurs' leadership skills to the next level.

Meditation and business mentors are also other viable options. If hundreds of successful business owners think leadership is the key to success, improving this side of yourself should be prioritized.

You Need A Plan To Succeed

You Need A Plan To Succeed if you are considering what it takes to have a successful business

62% of the business owners stressed the importance of having a business plan. The benefits of taking the time can help your company succeed. Did you know that having a business plan DOUBLES your chance of succeeding and that 71% of fast growing companies utilize business plans?

If you think that a business plan is an ineffective tool and is a waste of time, perhaps you should reconsider.

Take a day to sit down with your thoughts and team to develop a comprehensive plan. When you create your plan, you should consider the following:

  • What are your business objectives
  • What your customers want and expect from your business
  • How the management and leadership group is structured
  • Detailed insight into the funding of the business day to day operations
  • Competition analysis
  • Financial Projects
  • How you will perform marketing and sales operations

Without a plan, you and your team will always be "wingin’ it." Don't do that. Even a basic plan can substantially help you.

You can get a free business plan template on the web or from SBA, along with a heap of other free tools.

Marketing Is Important For Your Small Business

Marketing Is Important For Your Small Business

Don't overlook marketing. You need content to grow your company and get your brand recognition out in the business community. If 94% of successful business owners believe that any new business should spend money on marketing, it may be a good idea. After all, you are here because you want to know how to be successful in business.


Keep your business objectives in mind. Don't spend your money on pointless marketing campaigns. Ensure that every campaign you launch is aligned with the overall plan. A lot of businesses waste their money on ineffective marketing.

Cash Is King

Cash Is King if you want to have a successful business

82% of businesses fail because they can't seem to balance their cash flow. $10k might be enough to start your business, but what about maintaining it?

Don't waste your business's money on pointless things that don't align with your plan. Yes, sometimes you will need to invest in software or equipment that will improve operations, but do you really need that espresso machine if money is tight? Or can you use instant coffee until you make your first ten sales?

Enlist the services of a great accountant. They can help you structure your business finances, and they know all the tax-saving strategies to help you spend your money more efficiently.

Stash 12 Months Of Cash

you need to have a stash of cash if you want to be a success in business

Most of the businesses we surveyed are bootstrapped. They don't have outside investors that just handed over a lump of cash. If you're a new or existing business, you need to plan for difficult times.

Your state could introduce new taxes, your business insurance might not cover an accident, and you could need to scale your team quickly. Regardless of the reason, the average entrepreneur doesn't have enough capital on the side to wait out the hard times. Businesses that are successful always plan for bad times.

When your business starts to make money, don't pull it out of the bank and start spending it. Keep some funds aside to get you through difficult times.

Grow Your Network

Grow Your Network as this can help with your business succeding

71% of our respondents are not getting work through their website. Most successful business owners mentioned that their networking efforts win them the most work.

If you're not networking for your business, you need to.

The average small business owner can benefit immensely from networking. Some people feel that networking is dead, or just you selling your soul. Nope, it is not.

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Many people will like you and your business’s services and products. Eventually, your referral base could be your main source of business, then you would be a part of the 6% that said the average company doesn't need to invest in marketing.

You can grow your network by attending local events and contacting your local chamber of commerce. They will be able to point you in the right direction.

Work Harder Than Your Competitors

to have a successful business you need to work harder than your competitors

Yes, cliché, we know. But it is true.

One third of business owners work two jobs. That can be because of financial constraints, and they're in the process of building their 12 months of capital. However, many people think that everything will fall into place once they start a business.

Owning and operating a business can be the most challenging endeavor of your life.

It can also be the most rewarding if you put in the time to become successful. We only had a handful of people mention how long you should work on your business per week. But, a safe bet would be a minimum of 15 hours if you have a second job, and it is not uncommon for small business owners to work 60 plus hours per week.

The first year of your business's operations will be the most challenging. Being your own boss comes with several new challenges that you will need to overcome. Don't feel overwhelmed during the first year. Enjoy it. You are planting the seeds for future growth. Maybe in the second year, you can be relaxing on a beach in Hawaii if year one is a success.

Create A Free Lead Magnet To Attract Potential Customers

Create A Free Lead Magnet To Attract Potential Customers as this will increase your chances of successful business operations

Create something of value and give it away for FREE. Crazy, right?

However, 13% of our respondents mentioned creating content that people can use to their benefit.

People love getting value for their money, and if you can give something powerful away in the early stages of them working with your business, that goes a long way to providing confidence and support for your brand.

You don't need to give them your intellectual property. Providing an insightful way of saving time on a task can help you reach the people searching for your services.

Hire The Right People

hiring the right people can drastically increase your chances of success

You need to find the best people if you want to achieve success. One of our respondents noted how one employee cost him a significant amount of money because he didn't take the time to ensure he was the appropriate fit.

Do not cut corners during the hiring process. It just isn't worth it. All your success can vanish overnight.

If you need to hire someone into your company, make a detailed list of the objectives you would like them to accomplish and ensure that they can perform the task you are hiring them to perform.

A good idea is to compensate the person for coming and working with you for a day or two. They can show you just how efficient they are. Yes, you need to pay for this person to work for the day but imagine if you hired them and they are not the right fit. That could cost you THOUSANDS.

As the owner, you must contact all their references and ask them about their work history. You must take this step seriously as the people you hire will create the business culture. You want a positive, hard-working team. And it is your job to reward such a team handsomely.

Constantly Work On Your Company

Constantly Work On Your Company, it can be the quickest way to business success

The old phrase " if you want to be one of the business success stories, you need to work ON your business and not IN your business" is true. After years of coaching successful small business owners, we believe that every business owner should know their operations like the back of their hand.

Yes, you will hire someone to perform the task more efficiently than you. For example, most early-day business owners file their own paperwork; as your company grows, you will hire someone to perform this task. But, it would help if you still understood the job and the work involved.

Creating a list of expectations for a new team member can be extremely challenging if you don't understand the operations that person will perform. As an owner, you must be able to establish some kind of measurable metric to keep the score of that person's performance.

Developing powerful standard operating procedures (SOPs) for your team can be a shortcut to success. Your ideas and methodology can all be created into standard operating procedures.

When you create your SOPs, break them down into a step by step guide. It would help if you planned out the workflow by going from A to B, not A to H, then back to F. This will only confuse your team, and more time will need to be spent explaining the work process.

Entrepreneurs should spend a few hours each week asking themselves this list of questions,

  • How can we improve our bottlenecks?
  • How can our small business reach our objectives?
  • What are our customers saying about our product or service?
  • What can I do to improve my team's performance?
  • What can we do to improve our financial position?

These are some powerful questions you should ask yourself each week. If you genuinely want to be successful, you must make an effort to work on your operations and not the hands-on tasks.

Care About The Customer

Care About The Customer- they will help your business with great feedback

Your customer is the best person to ask about how good your business is. Many company owners overlook the customer's feedback.

Do not do that.

Listen to EVERYTHING the customer has to say about your business. They will be honest and they will always tell you the truth. If your product is terrible and needs improvement, you'll hear about it. Just don't leave it too late.

When you sell a service or product, ask the customer for a review of the experience. Once you've asked a handful of customers, you'll know if your company satisfies their needs and desires.

Don't ignore customer feedback. Set up a strategy to capture as many reviews as possible. Future customers will see those reviews too. They can be used as a powerful marketing tool.

Final Thoughts

We were blown away by the many responses of successful entrepreneurs, and we are grateful they answered how to be successful in business. They have been dominating with their businesses, and you can be too. As the data has revealed, some aspects of businesses are more important than others. It is your responsibility to work on the crucial areas that will lead you to become successful. Ronald Osborne, an award winning business coach was the one that performed the in depth research for this article.

FAQ About How To Achieve Business Success

FAQ About How To Achieve Business Success

Tell Me The Best Business Tip For Beginners?

The best business tip for beginners is to work on your leadership skills. If you want to have the best small business, you must be an exceptional leader.

How To Manage A Business Successfully?

To manage a business successfully, you must create a positive work culture and empathize with each team member. As the company manager, you must identify what motivates your team into action. Utilize positive motivation, not negative motivation. Companies that manage their people with negative motivation tend to lose employees quickly.

What Is The Number One Reason Why Many Businesses Fail?

According to SCORE, the number one reason why many businesses fail is cash flow related, causing the entrepreneur to close the company permanently.

Should I Start An LLC or Be A Sole Proprietor?

For the best advice, you should speak with a business coach or an accountant that understands your personal needs, and they can help you register the correct company formation. An LLC provides legal protection, while a sole proprietor offers very little protection for your assets. You do not want to expose personal assets or credit.

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