Most new businesses are likely to fail in the first year of operation. Under such intense pressure to stay alive—let alone grow—it’s easy for every new business to get caught up in the process of starting and maintaining the business and lose sight of the most important thing about the business: solving a problem people actually have or providing a product or service people really need.

Some of the most successful businesses today have these 4 things in common.

1. Visionary leaders lead teams towards achieving a common goal.

Vision in business requires that you clearly see where you choose to be now and in the future and create the necessary steps to get your business to that goal. In the book Good to Great by Jim Collins, it is no coincidence that after looking at the best US companies between 1975 and 2000 and working out why they did so well, Jim started with leadership. Global business leaders like Richard Branson of Virgin Group, Larry Page of Google and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook are leading their teams on a great journey of business growth with incredible global impact.

2. Most successful businesses do ONE thing and do better than anyone else.

What problem are you trying to solve? What is the one thing your new business is known for. Don’t create unnecessary pressure for you and your team by trying to develop or build products outside your comfort zone, target market or resources. Successful businesses focus on their strength and they do better at delivering just that. They only expand based on intense research, among other factors.

When you try to be all things to all people, it typically means you are not very great at any one thing. People buy or use services they can comfortably trust. If you are good at something, consumers or prospective users notice and are more likely to recommend your product or service.

Stay focused and get one thing right and that can propel you to greater success. Google is the most remarkable search engine on the planet. Twitter wants you to communicate in 140 characters or less and that has not changed since it launched. These great companies are known for one great service even though they tend to build other services for their users.

You could argue that Amazon sells different product, but rememberAmazon sold only books when it started, and the company was the best bookseller in the world. Once customers became comfortable with Amazon and loved buying books on the site, they started demanding more from Amazon. Today Amazon sells thousands of products to millions of people globally.

3. Great companies know the importance of automation, integration, and scalability.

To miss out on the power of business process tools and productive business applications is tantamount to business suicide in an ever changing business world. Remarkable businesses you know today are constantly testing out new business tools and apps that can make work faster and easier with a high return on investment. There are now apps for every department in any successful business and business leaders are embracing new technology to allow their employees to work faster and smarter not harder.

According to Matthew Averkamp, founder at TopAlternatives (a comprehensive collection of tools, apps, and software that help small business owners build and grow their online businesses) “”It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the number of business apps available in today’s online marketplace”. Your everyday tasks, contacts and business processes can better be managed by efficient tools, make the right choice today. The tools and resources you use as a business can determine how fast you deliver on your promise.

4. Remarkable businesses adapt and change with time.

Successful businesses adapt well to changing customer needs and the demands of the market. In an interview with over 200 successful startups to find out what they all had in common, Peter Cohan (strategy consultant, startup investor) observed that “the most successful start-ups adapt well to changing customer needs, upstart competitors, and new technology.”

To that end, the found out they do the following:

1. Monitor customer needs, competitors and technology

2. Pinpoint critical threats and opportunities

3. Modify products and pricing to boost growth

4. Successful businesses are customer-obsessed

According to Tricia Morris, “Forrester Research marks the beginning of the Age of the Customer at 2010, and over the last few years, we’ve seen numerous brands acting on this age and putting the customer first in all that they do. Think Zappos: “We decided that we wanted our brand to not be about shoes, but about delivering the very best customer experience,” said Tony Hsieh. “That’s our brand and I’m pretty confident we can sell any item with that as our foundation.”

Zappos has been exceptional at delivering happiness and customer service has been one of the reasons for its success. Zappos mission statement is “To provide the best customer service possible.” In fact, if you go to their web site and look under their logo, it says “Powered by service.”

According to Bain & Company, a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25% to 95%. Go beyond delivering just a product or service and your customers could stick around longer than they planned.

Remarkable companies of today are differentiating themselves not just with great and products, but also by how they treat their customers at every touch point: product or service delivery, customer service, marketing, branding, presentations, negotiations, and much more.

What is your business doing different today to be remarkable?

Image courtesy Saher Sambo


  1. As always, you nailed it again! I particularly like #1 & 2. We always encourage entrepreneurs and business leaders to use visualization tools to help them achieve their goals in half the time. And it’s better to focus on one thing instead of multi-tasking.

Comments are closed.