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Top 10 Traits of a Successful Business

Updated on October 30, 2012

There are many different ideas out there for being successful in creating a business. The approaches vary depending in part on the type of business. However, there are some traits that nearly all successful businesses have in common. Let’s take a look at ten of them to get a good sense of what it takes to be successful as a small company.

1. Innovation. A successful business will not just repeat what everyone else is doing. They’ll be on the cusp of figuring out what everyone wants to be doing next. Sometimes it’s about innovation in products or services but other times it’s just in marketing or business approach or store design. Successful businesses are innovative somewhere.

2. They fail. That sounds absolutely counter to being a successful business but it’s true; most successful businesses fail with something along the line. That’s because successful businesses take calculated risks and sometimes those risks don’t work out. Being too afraid to fail in your business will hold you back and actually prevent you from succeeding.

3. They outsource what they aren’t good at. If you’re terrible at accounting and aren’t ever going to learn to do it right then you need to outsource that part of your business. If you aren’t good at web design and you’re launching an online business then by all means hire a web designer. Successful businesses hire people to do what the person does better than they can do themselves. This means putting out some money before you make money but it’s well worth it.

4. Big Dreams, Small Steps. Most successful businesses are founded with a big dream in mind but they are successful because all of the small steps are taken along the way to realize that dream.

5. Marketing and Promotion. A business cannot be successful if nobody knows about it. All successful businesses are skilled at marketing and promotion in one form or another. Sometimes this goes along with point number three and they hire someone to do that for them. Sometimes it goes with point number one and they get creative about marketing. However it’s done, successful businesses let people know that they are out there.

6. Awesome Customer Service. It doesn’t matter how great your product is if you are known for terrible customer service then you’re not going to be successful in your business. You need to treat customers well and get their loyalty if you want to have a business that succeeds. You need to respond promptly to complaints and go the extra mile to prevent future complaints.

7. Savvy About Trends. This does not mean that a successful business jumps on every single trend. However, it does mean being aware of trends and knowing which ones are worth getting on board with. Things like offering Groupon discounts, creating a Facebook fan page and making a website mobile are trends that a lot of successful businesses found it worth participating in.

8. Smart About Money. At some point the bottom line does matter in every business. A business has to spend wisely to be making more money than it’s spending and therefore generating a profit that can go back into growing the business.

9. Personality. In my opinion, all successful businesses have what I call personality. Officially it’s probably better known as branding. The business itself as a sort of persona. It has an ambience, a sense of character, a style, a voice. You can see it in everything from the physical store to the social networking activity.

10.A Little Luck. When it comes down to it, you can do all of the first nine things right and there’s a really, really good chance that you’re going to have a successful business but a little bit of luck will get you the rest of the way. It may be luck in timing or investments or some other area. You’ll know it when you experience it!

What do you think is missing from this list?


Submit a Comment

  • Lisas-thoughts101 profile image


    6 years ago from Northeast Texas

    These are very solid business tips. I went to school for 5 years and learned lots of stuff but much of it comes back to these 10 things and the research mentioned it the first reply. Of course, there are a few other items here and there specific to each business but these are so comprehensive. Great hub. Voted up and interesting.


  • noenhulk profile image


    6 years ago

    I want to up a business. Now I will reference this hub of yours Kathryn. Thanks for a great and useful hubs.

  • amithak50 profile image


    6 years ago from India

    Marketing and promotion is the most important as many great businesses fails if marketing is not done properly.. Thanks for your insights on it

  • contentpundit profile image


    6 years ago from Chennai, India

    Awesome. Any business that can keep a good cash flow, good margin and return on equity, growth by adding new customers is a sure fire winner.

  • Woody Marx profile image

    Woody Marx 

    6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Wonderful list and I'm glad you didn't leave out 'luck' because, as out of our control as 'luck' is, nevertheless it is one of those things that often plays a big part in so many things in life, a successful business assuredly being one of them. When I think, for example, of something like golf, and the great golfers (one of my passions)it comes to me how much the factors of chance play in whether a ball falls right next to the hole, or if a sudden wind carries it off ten feet to the right and into the 'bunker'. Now that may sound a little off-topic, but really what is golf but a business, and surely it illustrates what you are saying in your Hub, so I thought I'd include it. :)

    Conclusion: always keep your fingers crossed.

  • Ruby H Rose profile image

    Maree Michael Martin 

    6 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

    Congratulations on your win. Great hub! This is a great contest, the questions are awesome. I am gonna bookmark your answer! Love it!

  • Tams R profile image

    Tams R 

    6 years ago from Missouri

    Fantastic hub! I hope every business owner reads it. Customer service is my passion. Without good customer service you may as well shut your doors and save your money.

    I've been witness to too many business owners seemingly thinking they have to do everything themselves only to become overwhelmed and snap at their staff or customers. Outsourcing is not admitting defeat it is saying my business is growing faster than I anticipated and I could use some help.

    Congrats on your win! You deserve it.

  • loveofnight profile image


    6 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

    Awesome hub,comgrats on the win.

  • Angelique Newman profile image

    Angelique Newman 

    6 years ago from Canada

    Congratulations Kathryn on the win! You've written a wonderful hub and covered all the bases of a successful business :)

  • Billie Pagliolo profile image

    Billie Pagliolo 

    6 years ago from Laguna Hills, California

    There's a local radio feature called: "Success from Scratch". I asked them to start a segment called, "Failure from the Get-Go," and I would be the greatest example. They didn't like that idea! All the points in your article are excellent. I would add "choose the name of your company carefully." Our company is Windmill Works and we don't have a thing to do with windmills. We create educational software and games so there is no connection between our name and our product. Besides, there are places on the web that list their favorite companies alphabetically! "W"? Not a good choice. I had some romantic idea, after watching "Man of LaMancha" in the late 80's, that I needed to call my company something that would capture that wonderful song in the movie: "To Dream the Impossible Dream," which was a reference to the Don Quixote character stabbing at windmills. iiii! (There's no place for romance in naming your company). But then, again, we have google and yahoo...) go figure. (Btw, if you happen to be a hub member starting a windmill company and want to buy our name, you know who (or is it whom) to contact :)

  • amanthkr01 profile image

    Aman Thakur 

    6 years ago from India

    Hearty congratulations for your win. You really gave worthy points for businessmen.

  • anglnwu profile image


    6 years ago

    Very informative. Congrats on your win.

  • radhikasree profile image

    Radhika Sreekanth 

    6 years ago from Mumbai,India

    Congrats to the first winner of the contest. Your points are all important for a business to be successful. You made it!!

  • Happyboomernurse profile image

    Gail Sobotkin 

    6 years ago from South Carolina

    Congratulations on your win.

    This hub was well organized, easy to read and hit all the main points that successful businesses have in common.

    Voted up, useful, awesome and interesting.

  • gym100 profile image


    6 years ago

    Very well-written and informative hub! Thanks for starting the hub.

  • Purple Perl profile image

    Purple Perl 

    6 years ago from Bangalore,India

    Kathryn, your hub is very inspiring to every wannabe entrepreneur. Congrats on being the first winner!

    Congrats to you too,easylearningweb!

  • appandey profile image


    6 years ago from Canada

    Congratulations Kathryn!! Very nice hub!!

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    6 years ago from Houston, Texas

    Congratulations on the first daily drawing win. Your points are well taken and I agree that having a little luck also helps.

  • sankari.nayagam profile image


    6 years ago

    Nice tips! Congrats on your daily drawing contest win!

    I felt that the 10th point was as important as other points. Though only little luck is needed, but it matters a lot! You had your luck(daily draw win) in your business I believe!! Enjoy your luck and let it continue!

  • Robie Benve profile image

    Robie Benve 

    6 years ago from Ohio

    Hey you are a winner!!!!Congratulations, well deserved! :) Ciao

  • Anamika S profile image

    Anamika S Jain 

    6 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

    Wow! You have covered it all. All those you mentioned are equally important for being successful. Congrats on your win, you deserved it!

  • easylearningweb profile image

    Amelia Griggs 

    6 years ago

    Awesome hub, Kayhryn! Thanks for creating this in response to my question.

    If I had to add any further items, I would include how company researches and continually develops, and how they might seek out experts which they hire to further increase their success!


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