27 January 2014

A question I’m often asked is which traits are needed for success in business. Whilst it’s an interesting question, I don’t think there’s a definitive answer or magic formula.

In my opinion though, to keep your business moving forward you have to be so thorough and so fixated on the end goal that whatever you deliver, you deliver to the nth degree. That’s the only way you’ll have a chance of surviving. You’ve got to be the first one up in the morning and the last to bed at night. You’ve also got to be the last one paid.

This is why starting a business isn’t for everybody. If you’re in a very well-paid job, £60,000 for example, what kind of business would you launch and how long would it take for it to turnover or make profit enough to get anywhere near a £60,000 salary? In the first few years of UKFast, Gail and I weren’t even earning £15,000 between us. Everybody got paid before we would pay ourselves and there were some months where we got nothing but that’s the price you have to pay.

The reason a lot of businesses never make that transition from good to great, in my opinion, is that they start to enjoy a certain lifestyle. It’s a shame because there’s a huge gap between doing that and creating something extraordinary. All you need to do is change your focus in a minute way. That instant gratification we crave can spoil all of the fun and games that we could have later down the line. There’s more to say about managing money when setting up a business but that’s for another blog.

Ultimately, you need to have patience and, if you’re in the early days of your business, keep beavering away. Don’t get distracted by the people going on lavish holidays. Instead, put as much money back into the business as you can. This is what Gail and I did – while other people were on luxury holidays, we were climbing Snowdon and roughing it. But one day we woke up to how far we’d come. We’d been running so hard on the road that suddenly we looked up and realised that we had left so many people behind, people we had previously looked up to and who made so much more than us at the time.

So whilst there’s no magic formula to guarantee success, you’ll be more likely to achieve it through patience, perseverance and keeping your eyes set firmly on the end goal. I’d be interested to hear what kind of traits you think make a successful business…

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