6 Qualities For Business Success

Last weekend I had the pleasure of catching up with several old friends of mine. One is doing very well for himself running his own gardening business. “I don’t really understand how it has worked out so well” he told me, “as I don’t advertise or do any marketing.” As we talked about how he had gone from quitting his job to making a significantly higher income running his own business we identified six key qualities that led to his success:


Before you setup your own company you need to have some basic skills and experience in your chosen sector. From his time working for other firms he acquired:

  • Knowledge of how the market operated
  • Information about what was the going rate for certain jobs and the cost of labour
  • A feel for what it was like to work in that sector
  • A useful network of contacts

Willingness to Accept Risk

Starting your own business carries more risk than working for another company. My friend told me:

“At the start it was tough. I wasn’t making any more money than I had before and I never knew if I would have work in a month’s time.”

Those who are unhappy with risk will probably not enjoy starting out on their own.

Hard Work

If you are naturally lazy or unwilling to put significant effort into your business then you are unlikely to succeed. However it is important to differentiate between working hard and working long hours. My friend told me that his average work week is about 35 hours. What counts is not how many hours he works but what he gets done in that time.

Commitment to Quality

By doing a good job for all his customers his business has blossomed by word-of-mouth alone. You might not be able to buy it, but word-of-mouth remains the best form of marketing there is.


By showing customers that he can be trusted to do a good job for a fair price he has been able to secure repeat business and long term contracts. This means that his income is now more predictable. In the short term ripping people off or making promises that you can’t keep may seem beneficial to your company. However your business can only grow and become stable when you show high levels of integrity.

Controlled Growth

Sometimes to maintain quality and integrity you need to control how rapidly your business grows. My friend could cite several examples where he had turned down potentially lucrative offers of work because he had been uncomfortable about his ability to deliver or because other ethical concerns had arisen. For him, a steady and controlled rate of growth has been crucial for long term success.

If you are interested in what characteristic people require to be successful you may also be interested to read what legendary chef Raymond Blanc has said on the matter


2 comments so far

  1. daviddaly on

    Since posting this I have read, with interest, the following two items:

    Ruth Sherman’s summary of a speech given by Kelly Flatly which lists nine inspirational pieces of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.

    Liz Handlin’s profile of Mike Beal, a successful and innovative entrepreneur.

    Both are worth checking out if you have, or are thinking about, setting up your own business.

  2. Liz Handlin on

    Thanks very much for the shout-out. Mike Beal is really a great guy and a great entrepreneur. Very smart and inspiring. Really like your blog too by the way.


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