11 Critical Success Factors That Will Help You Achieve Next-Level Growth
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
You're reading Entrepreneur South Africa, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
Critical success factors are the things that you must have or do in order to build a successful business.
In the hustle and bustle of running a business, we can often get overwhelmed and lost without actually understanding what undermines our success. But take heart: a business is a system that, once you understand its elements, you can manage for better results.
One of the greatest risks in running a business is focussing on the things that are urgent rather than on what is important.
Below is a list of the critical things to do every day.
- Customers – know what they want. Talk to them. That way, you know what they want, and how to keep them happy. And they will know who you are and like you for considering them.
- Outputs (products/services) – you have what the customer wants at a price that they are prepared to pay. Sometimes you’ll need to sell something different and find a way of making it at a lower cost or increasing the value for the customer.
- Processes – find ways to buy; make and sell that are quick and easy. These days multiple technologies offer better and cheaper ways for a business to do things.
- Inputs – find things that cost you less. If the costs of your inputs are lower, you can sell at a lower price. Selling lower without comprising quality helps you access a bigger market
- Suppliers – Find reliable ones who will give you good deals. Don’t be afraid to negotiate, but offer value in return.
Successful business owners:
- Make their businesses better every day. This is called Continuous Improvement. Tip: Write down all improvements you make; tell family and friends what you did and why; what worked and what didn’t. Make yourself accountable for your decisions.
- Have a network of useful people who can help you think. Entrepreneurs learn more from each other than you can imagine. Bounce ideas off the people whom you’ve gathered in your network. Every angle or opinion adds to your overall view of a situation or decision.
- Look to successful businesses to learn. Owners and managers of successful businesses are often happy to share their good ideas with you. Tip: Use the list above as questions to ask – “how do you go about finding out what your customer wants?”
- Keep good financial records about money moving in out, and the profit (or loss) you are making. Tip: Record-keeping helps us learn fast what works well and what we could improve.
- Use the Internet to find good ideas. Tip: In your search, use keywords like the ones in this article – critical success factors, continuous improvement, business plans and so on.
- When things go wrong, ask why they did and learn from failure. Failure is not the end – it is often just the beginning, provided you can learn from the situation and do things differently in the future.