Building a successful business is not easy, and no two businesses are the same. Even companies that exist in the same industry, and which offer the same goods and services, are radically different from one another.

Still, though there are plenty of things that divide businesses, there are also plenty of shared attributes. Indeed, even businesses that operate in entirely different industries have a lot of overlapping characteristics. 

If you’re a business owner, then there’s much that you can learn from them. For instance, you can mirror the staples that played a big role in bringing them success. In this post, we’re going to look at some common staples you’ll find in a well-functioning business. Make them part of your own operations, and you’ll be increasing your chances of success. 

Simple Objectives

Success becomes a lot more difficult when complexity enters the equation. Plus, it just makes things more challenging. You can’t run a well-functioning business if you’re trying to keep too many plates spinning in the air. While it’s good to be ambitious in your business, it’s important to channel that ambition in the right way.

The focus should be on doing one or two things extremely well, rather than just doing everything. Look at the most successful companies, and you’ll see the same thing over and over: they’ve perfected one offering.

A Great Team

It’s much easier to run a business efficiently and productively when there’s a great team in place. And on the other end of the spectrum, having the wrong team in place can just make everything more difficult. It’s hard to find success in business at the best of times, but when there’s no great team? It’s next to possible.

Having a great team isn’t just about hiring quality employees (though that is a component), but also about ensuring there’s a sense of team spirit, everyone’s pulling in the same direction, and so on. Do your best to attract the best candidates — and then work to create a cohesive team.

Supporting Players

It’s not just the direct employees that will impact your business’s ability to function well. There’s also the matter of the supporting players. Outsourcing some tasks to a third-party company can do wonders for your operation since it’ll give you access to expert skills and resources that you wouldn’t otherwise have.

It’s especially recommended for growing businesses that don’t have a big employee budget, but enterprises of all sizes will find benefits in using outsourcing in one way or another. Just be sure to choose the right outsourcing company for the most impact.

An On-Brand Workspace

It’s easy to overlook the importance of your work premises. Fundamentally, there are just places that allow you to work. But they also provide a bigger function, too — they can reflect well (or poorly) on your brand, and that can have a subtly positive (or negative) impact.

While you don’t need to think about your workspace right when you first get your business underway, once you have a level of success, it’ll be best to put together an on-brand workspace that truly reflects who you are as a business. In the process, you’ll be strengthening your brand identity, increasing worker engagement, and all-around functioning as a professional business.

Good Supplier Relationships

Your suppliers aren’t just businesses that you buy from. They’re partners that will help you on the journey towards success. You can’t operate your business efficiently if you’re continually battling with supplier issues. You need to have your goods and materials on time, at a fair price.

It’s worthwhile speaking to a few different suppliers until you find one that can deliver the goods and with whom you feel comfortable. If you don’t, then you’ll likely find that you have to go through the process of finding another supplier in the not-too-distant future anyway. 

Money Management

A significant portion of businesses fail to make it to their fifth birthday. And most have to close their doors for good because of cash flow problems. This makes correct money management an essential part of a well-run business. Without it, problems are liable to pop up at some point or another, even if you know that you have customers.

There can always be an unexpected expense or global condition that impacts profitability, and it’s those points that your money management efforts will be worth their weight in gold. If you don’t have the time or expertise to get a firm grip on your finances, then outsource the task to an accountant. You’ll pay for it, but they’ll keep your money situation under control and flag up any small issues before they become big problems. 

Handling Setbacks

No business goes from strength to strength, from success to success, without experiencing a setback at some point along the way. If you’re in business for long enough, then something will happen that makes things more difficult. It’s not the presence of those problems that counts, but how the business responds to them.

If you can roll with the punches, then you’ll be much more likely to make it through. A well-functioning business retains an element of agility, which allows it to pivot its operations as and when it’s called for. So don’t view a setback as the end of the world; view it as an obstacle to overcome. 

Successful Business Continuity

Your business might perform at a high level when everything’s running as it should. But what about when it’s not? There are a million things that can cause a disruption to your business operations. For example, in some parts of the United States, businesses have to deal with blackouts — and, due to an increase in extreme weather, they’re becoming more common, too.

When that happens, the business will have to wait until the grid comes back online unless they’ve taken proactive steps to buy a couple of commercial generators, which will ensure that they will have access to power regardless of what happens to the main grid. The contingency plans you make for your business will depend on the type of threats that exist. If you’re not sure, ask yourself what local or global conditions could prevent you from working, and then find a solution. 

An Eye on the Future

Your day-to-day operations will take up the bulk of your time and energy. But it’s also important to think about the future, too. That period will come whether you like it or not, and if you don’t have a path in place that guides you towards success, then you’ll be at increased risk of falling into difficulties.

Setting goals can be a handy way to keep your business ticking along and keep your employees motivated. It’s best to divide your goals into short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals. 

Competitor/Industry Insights

You won’t be the only business offering your goods or services. In fact, you’ll have dozens of competitors. You can help to keep your business competitive by periodically engaging in competitor research, whereby you take a close look at your rivals to see what they’re doing, how they’re performing in relation to you, and so on.

As your brand and product or service evolves, so will theirs. Look for opportunities to join ranks with a competitor with a complementary offering and think about how you might develop a combined product that adds up to real value for your common customer base. The idea isn’t as crazy as it may sound if you consider the additional customers you can access and the opportunity to stretch your sales and marketing budget. If it’s a route you consider, you’ll find plenty of resources to streamline your joint operations, such as partner relationship management software and cloud-based collaboration tools.

It’s also a good idea to keep up to date with the broader goings on within your industry. You can learn a lot by reading industry reports and attending trade shows, including insights into what the future of the industry will be like.

Customer Feedback

Businesses exist for the benefit of the customer. A successful business takes the time to get to know the thoughts, feelings, and concerns of its customer base. In doing so, they can gain valuable insights into what their customers want, which in turn results in actionable strategies that help to push the business forward.

There’s nothing to lose by speaking to customers to see what they want and a lot to gain. If you haven’t yet begun gathering customer feedback, look at making a start — there are plenty of programs you can use that can help make gathering this feedback as straightforward as possible. 

Understanding Strengths and Weaknesses 

Great businesses have a good understanding of who they are, what they offer, what they’re good at, and what they’re not good at. It’s this type of information that allows them to understand their market position, set prices, and improve their operations.

Small business owners can often find it difficult to take a critical look at their own ventures, but it’s worth doing so because it can reveal truths that would otherwise be hard to come by — and which can influence your business moving forward. If you’re not sure how to correctly assess your business, then consider hiring a consultant to do the job for you.


You’ll very much be your own successful business, but don’t forget that there’s much to learn from the other businesses that have been there, done that. While there’s no way to guarantee success in the business world, if you have all the essentials in place then you’ll be improving your chances. And the tips we’ve outlined above can definitely be considered among the essentials.