What Makes a Business Successful?

10 05 2010


Types of businesses that have failed


The question, “What makes a business successful?”,  has most likely plagued business entrepeneurs from the beginning of time.  We have all struggled with the question of what factors cause some businesses to survive and others to fail?  Then we look at similar businesses and ask the same question.  Why do some of them survive and others fail? 

We have been talking for a while about how to develop and grow a home based business along with how to begin to recession proof your income.  We are going to start an ongoing series (not always every week, but several times throughout the year to touch on) that is going to briefly explore some theories about what makes a business successful.  If any of us had an entrepreneurial bent, we  have all watched with interest when new businesses start-up.  We may look at the new business and wonder what they have, what they will offer, and if they will succeed.  We may also wonder why we didn’t come up with that particular idea first.  Or, we may watch another new business start-up and wonder how long it will be before their competitor closes them down. 

At the core of all of these ramblings is the question, what makes a business successful?  We have all heard the theories, the right time, the right place, the right product, along with Location, Location, Location.   But really, is that all it takes to be successful in business?  If you wander into any bookstore, either a local used book store or one of the national chains, you will almost always find a huge business section.  In that section you will discover all kinds of books on theories of how to be successful in business.  

Since there are so many books on the subject, and so many theories, it might be interesting to explore a few of those theories here and perhaps examine some new(ish) theories that have recently come to the forefront.  If you have done any research on the subject of why businesses may succeed or fail, you probably found that there are as many theories out there as there are people willing to give you their theories.  

There was an interesting article earlier this week that talked about the amazing success rates of Amish businesses.  In this article by Geoff Williams, he states that approximately 95% of Amish businesses remain in business after 5 years.  In contrast, slightly less than 50% of non-Amish businesses are still around after 5 years.  This begs the question, what do the Amish businesses do that makes them so much more successful compared the rest of us? 

What may even been more interesting is that the majority of these successful Amish business owners have had a formal education through 8th grade.  Makes those of us with Master’s degrees feel pretty dumb.   As you have seen in several extreme business successes, higher education is not a guarantee of success for a small business.  Formal business training could possibly get in the way of the creative business process.  On the flip side, formal business education can also just as easily help to discover new business trends that would launch your business into the stratosphere.  

So, if formal education is not the defining factor in success, what is?  Again, if you look at the Amish business model, culture does play a significant factor.  Amish communities support each other.  Another possibility is that the Amish business person tends to stick with their strengths.  They are well-known for their expertise in farming, wood crafts, quilting.  The Amish businesses tend to stick with what they know.  

Possibly the bigger factor that allows the Amish business person to succeed where others may fail is that the Amish maintain a very strong value system.  They maintain a strong work ethic, rely on faith, family and high values.  They focus on quality and care about both their customers and the people that they employ.   How many times have you walked into a business only to be treated rudely?  Would you return there, or would you go looking for a business that will treat you with respect and care?  

We may want to take some lessons from the Amish and employ it in our businesses.  It is not a bad thing to go back to what some may term “old-fashioned values”.  We all need to remember to treat others with respect, focus our business on what we are good at, not what others think we should carry (focus on our core competency), and maintain high ethical values.  Perhaps if we focus on what people really need and want instead of us telling our customers what they want, more businesses will become successful. 

We are going to explore some of these items a little more in-depth next week. 

If you are interested in starting your own home-based business and are in need of ideas, please check out www.hawgwash.net.  We may have a business opportunity that will suite your needs.  Some of our business opportunities  are in Waterless Technology products, Stem Cell Nutritionals and Pre-Paid Legal.  Please feel free to contact us with any questions. 

Until then…



3 responses

16 05 2010

Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

Thumbs up, and keep it going!

Christian, iwspo.net

20 05 2010

Thank you for your kind words.

17 05 2010
Strong Work Ethics in a Successful Business « Hawgwash's Blog

[…] week we began talking about what makes a business successful.  This week we are going to examine in a little more depth some of the concepts introduced last […]

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