Behind the Curtain: 4 Steps to Business Success

I’m awed by the doggedness of business owners who have committed to bringing their idea to the market place. They accept the challenges and demands and we buyers are the better for it.

So what makes a business a success? I reflected on my clients and many other successful business owners I know. When all is said and done, no matter the industry, specialty or market, there are four behaviors they all share.

Let’s take a look behind the curtain at what it takes to create a business success.

1) They have clear goals. Each goal is articulated in three ways: in dollars or financial terms; in words that reflect their value to buyers; and in a visual, what I call the visible finish line.

Why articulate one goal three ways? Because the three ways give the owner different perspectives on the goal. If an owner sets an ambitious financial goal and then has to articulate that goal in terms of the value to the buyer, he or she faces the question “Is this financial goal consistent with the value we offer to our buyers?” Creating a visible finish line helps communicate the goal to employees and can serve as a motivating force within the company. “Are we doing 5-star service?” fired up the crews of a remodeling company far more effectively than a dollar goal would have.

2) They and their employees meet daily activity benchmarks. Benchmarks are the number of high value activities each person is expected to do each day. In most companies, benchmarks are individualized because not everyone’s work is exactly the same. Benchmarks are not the full load of work for a person. They are some number of discrete activities that move the company forward over time because the owner recognizes that achieving success is like a marathon, not a sprint.

Sales teams are used to benchmarks, such as X number of calls per day. But every employee can help the company maximize per employee revenue. When owners know exactly how each job contributes to revenue, they can define benchmarks for everyone.

3) They respond when the momentum hits big. With goals and the daily benchmarks working, momentum builds to a point at which the benefits become a torrent. Customers and clients are eager to do business with the company! The owner has been investing in preparations for this success with technology, people, service and every other part of the company. The company is ready and excited to maximize results.

4) Repeat. The successful owner knows that each effort has a life, and then it’s time for the next one. There’s a new goal, articulated in financial terms, words and visuals. There are new benchmarks for daily activities and new investments so they’re ready to respond when the next momentum hits big.

Get Off the Roller Coaster

Too many companies ride the roller coaster: highs of revenue and profit, followed by dips and valleys. A roller coaster exhausts everyone. Getting off the roller coaster and riding an upward curve for long periods of time is transformative.

What are you doing behind the curtain to achieve your success?

If you’re curious about these four steps, or if you have other questions about what catalyst for growth would be powerful for your company, I would love to hear from you. To schedule a Listening Call you can reach me by phone at 703-801-0345or email

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