Banking & Finance and Small Business & Startups

Define your success

August 31, 2015
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We are rapidly approaching the end of another year. Was it successful? How will you make next year more successful? More importantly, how do you define success? These are questions that we don’t spend enough time addressing.

There are a lot of articles and books out there that claim they have the universal definition of success. I’ve learned that everyone’s definition is different, and the one constant is that success is very personal and unique.

When talking to “successful” entrepreneurs, you find they are driven by many different factors, not just by money or power as most people might think. Their factors are influenced by their background, how they were raised, their current stage in life, etc.

I have worked in a business advising capacity for more than 20 years, and early in my career, I made the mistake of using my definition of success to guide my advice for all of my clients. I would use the typical factors: revenue growth, expense reduction, increased profitability, improved brand awareness, etc.

But what happens when a business owner defines their success by non-financial factors such as being a philanthropic leader in their community? I’ll tell you what happens, you end up giving them advice and recommendations that do not line up with why they are in business to begin with.

As advisors, we can be quick to provide a solution or advice without spending the time to understand what’s important to our client.

Therefore, as entrepreneurs, it is vital to take the time to define your success and communicate that to your employees and advisors — you will get improved results and much better advice.   

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