What is the secrets behind successful businesses you know? In other words, What do successful businesses do that others don’t? This is the million dollar question that any serious entrepreneur must be asking. Just as the saying goes that; ‘If you want to be rich and successful, observe what the rich are doing and do the same’, you cannot succeed and succeed big in business if you don’t know what successful businesses have been doing.
It is difficult to claim to have all the secrets behind the successes of businesses all over the world. Across the globe, cultures and economies are different; customers and competitors think differently; policies and practices differ and so too are the secrets behind the successes of businesses.
I have been making this search for a long time now. My search has taken me through many parts of the world, finding out what some businesses do that others don’t. I have gone through brands like Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Virgin, McDonalds, Nokia, Samsung, and many other businesses and here in this piece are my findings.
There are many secrets behind successful businesses but I believe these are the five top secrets behind the highly successful businesses all over the world. Interestingly, business capital is not one of them. While business capital is very crucial for business success, it doesn’t guarantee success. There are many businesses that started with huge capital but still ended up a failure. See the five top secrets behind the success of most businesses.
Secret One: They Found A Dire Need To Meet
Identifying a serious gap to close, is the greatest discovery an entrepreneur can ever make. Successful business owners begin by taking a very deep and objective look at the market to see what is lacking. Some look to see what is done wrongly which they could correct or what could be done better. Some think of how to make what is already in the market, more affordable by the users.
All the very successful businesses all over the world are founded on a dire need to meet; a problem to solve; a gap to close. Can you think of any business today which is very successful but not out to meet a serious need? Meeting people’s needs, adding value to lives and making life more comfortable is the bone behind successful businesses. This is alone has made Ford, Microsoft, Facebook and many other businesses, stand out above the world of business.
Note: You don’t really have a business if you are not solving a serious problem
Secret Two: They Hired The Smartest People
Recently I read an interview where Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft was asked what hiring and managing practices most differentiated Microsoft from other companies. Here was his answer.
Hiring smart people has been the single most important thing we’ve done as a company from the very beginning. Paul Allen and I started out hiring our friends, but always with an eye to people who had a lot of passion for what they were doing and who were very, very bright. Our recruiting department works very hard to find the right people for our culture here – Bill Gates
The truth is that a business will naturally go in the direction determined by those on it. Every other secret depends a lot on them. The money, machines, technology, ideas, etc. don’t lead themselves. They are used by the people you hire to work for you. It is impossible for you to do more than the people on your business are capable of doing. They are the brain behind your business. If they are smart, you are made; if they are dumb, you are ruined.
A mistake you must avoid is to hire people sentimentally. Friends and family members will ruin your business if you hire them sentimentally. Also, your business does not really depend on how qualified the workers are as it depends on how smart these qualified persons are. Recently, I was going through some job interview questions for Apple and I was amazed. The questions were completely for geniuses.
Note: Hiring the right people for your business is the most important thing you will ever do
Secret Three: They Focused On The Customer
Business is strongly about profit-making. Profit-making is a function of how much of the market is controlled by a particular business. This is called market share and your market share has to do with how much out of all that the buyers of your product pay, comes into your business. This is why business is all about CUSTOMERS.
The most stupid thing a person can ever do for his business is to give the customers a place that is less than first. The old slogan, ‘CUSTOMER IS KING’ is and will forever be true in business. This is what successful businesses have known for many years and hold so precious. There is no highly successful business in the world that is not customer-centered.
Highly successful businesses all over the globe don’t just adore their customers but build excellent customer services that will keep their customer base, ever increasing. Excellent customer services capture what the customers want, how they feel about what you give, how they relate with the business, what they think you could do better, how valued they are and more. This is one of the secrets behind the success of Apple, founded by Steve Jobs.
Note: Your customers will always have a better opinion about your business than you
Secret Four: They Built A Powerful Brand
As you establish a business and begin to grow it, it gradually gets known to more people. At some point, the business brand will be the strongest thing about the business. Your business brand is the true value of your business. It defines your business, distinguishes you from your competitors, appeals to the members of your target audience and determines how much you spend on marketing. It is the true worth of your business.
Sometime ago, Coca Cola’s assets were estimated to be worth $3 Billion but the brand name alone “Coca Cola” was valued at over $80 Billion. That’s the power of a brand.
To succeed in business, you must build a brand and never destroy it. One competitive advantage I had when I ventured into manufacturing was my brand “Dangote,” which I diligently built in the course of my trading commodities. – Aliko Dangote
Your business brand is a make-up of your business name, logo, face, website design, printed pieces, marketing strategies, recruitment strategies, training, public relations efforts, social media presence, and events. Building the brand is the most tedious work you have to do as a business owner. And this too could be the only work you must do. If you get this right, your business will stand tall. Note that in building your brand, every little thing matters.
Note: Your products will live for a time; your brand will live on
Secret Five: They Were Unstoppable
As I searched all over the world, one thing I was looking out for was to find a business that became very successful by stopping. I found none. Businesses can do all their best to succeed but if they are not sustained beyond competition, challenges, difficulties, delayed success, etc. they can never be successful.
Businesses don’t always start by succeeding so well. Even when you start by doing the right things, you will still have to face tough moments. All the highly successful businesses you see around did not always have everything going the right way. They have all had their share of challenges to face and storms to weather. But as long as the storm did not succeed to destroy the business, it only ended up strengthening it.
Some years ago when YouTube was bought by Google, Google had very difficult times making money from YouTube. Google tried almost everything to take advantage of YouTube’s traffic and it was difficult. However, it kept exploring alternatives until it found a system that worked. Premium partners or those that upload commercial videos soon started appearing on YouTube. This was the breakthrough. Today YouTube is a big success story.
In 1996, Apple was almost going out of business. They had neither a good marketing plan nor a good business leader at the helm. All they had were expensive computers that failed to match the performance of their competitors’ less expensive ones. The turnaround came at Steve Jobs’ return and their move into the personal digital device market: iPhone, iPod, iPad. It was a risky venture, but it paid off and made Apple one of the highest valued companies in the world today.
Staying unstoppable in business does not mean that you have to keep doing what you do until you succeed. Rather it means you have to keep doing what you do, until you fail. You don’t have to quit until there is nothing left for you to hope for. That is why you need smart people with you in the boat. With smart people you will know when to quit.
Note: No successful business today ever stopped