If there is one key drive that is shared by business people and entrepreneurs around the world, it is the desire for their business venture to be successful. However, the meaning of business success may vary considerably from individual to individual. Business owners should carefully consider what specific business outcome or outcomes would indicate that the business had become successful. This in turn provides clarity surrounding what the appropriate mission and growth objectives of the company should be in order to properly align the organization with leadership’s long-term vision. While there are many ways that business owners might define their organization’s success, commonly they envision the company:

  • Becoming publicly traded
  • Being purchased by another company for a large sum of money
  • Having a measurable social impact
  • Being passed through generations of family

Determining what success looks like for a business, allows organizations to easily determine what their most important key performance indicators (KPIs) are. KPIs are data about the business that demonstrate it is on the right path. The owner who seeks to sell their company for a profit may focus on building the company’s net value, while one who measures success by social impact will naturally focus instead on increasing the amount of social change that their organization is able to facilitate.

Once an organization is cognizant of the key performance indicators (KPI) that align it with its goals, it can begin to formulate its strategic plan. It is essential that this plan is developed using good data from reliable sources and reviewed objectively. The data should clearly show that the strategic plan is sound and likely to produce the desired organizational outcome. At a minimum, the types of data that should be reviewed when developing this plan include:

  • The regulatory environment that the industry operates within
  • Industry trends and growth projections
  • Market data such as market size, demographics, marketing and product preferences
  • Detailed information about the organization’s expected resources, liabilities, and risks

Using these strategies, business professionals can ensure that not only is the organization aligned with their personal definition of success, it is likely to achieve it.