How to run a successful business

By Nina Kaufman, Esq.

I was sitting with my client Miriam over cocktails, a couple of weeks ago. She was having challenges growing her corporate training business and we were coming up with a game plan.

(Sometimes, wine helps).

Out of frustration she asked, What’s the secret? If there’s one thing—one magic bullet to running a successful business—what do you think it is?

Recognizing it’s not all about you, I said.

Miriam looked at me quizzically.

Why would I say that?

If your marketing is all about you—how smart you are, where you got your training, why you’re such a genius—no one will buy from you. Clients just want to know how you can help them. If it’s not about them, you won’t attract the right customers. That’s not helpful.

If your service delivery and back end support all depends on you—and doesn’t use any other employees, contractors, or vendors—you can never step away. You’re always on call. So you’ll quickly reach an upper limit in the number of clients you can serve. When you can’t serve, you’re out of business. That’s risky.

If your strategic decisions are made only by you based only on your experience, your options are limited. Business is complex. It changes every day. There’s so much involved that you might not have been trained for it. So you’re vulnerable to risks because you don’t know what you don’t know. That’s dangerous.

That’s why a truly successful business finds a way to be about others, to involve others, and to accept guidance from others.

In other words,

  • The business really understands the clients’ needs—which keeps them coming back
  • There’s a team of people that can step in, fill gaps, and deliver
  • The owners rely on outside brainpower to guide, educate, and advise them

“Outside brainpower” is the area many business owners take for granted. Or ignore. Or think they know it all. Where can that outside brainpower come from?

  • Professional advisors—like a business attorney (and other specialized counsel), accountant, bookkeeper, and insurance broker
  • A business coach, who can help owners set goals and provide accountability for meeting them.
  • A peer advisory team. The professional acumen manage risk. Mastermind groups encourage growth.
  • A Board of Advisors— skills and connections from those who have “been there and done that” and provide best practices for aiming at strategic targets.
  • A Board of Directors—once the company is large enough to support a management team—so the business can run without the owner.

What’s your plan for getting the outside brainpower you need to run a successful business?

Have questions about working with Kaufman Business Law? This is the video to watch.