Running A Successful Business… What Does It Really Take?

There are many attributes required to be able to start and run a business and even more to keep it going with longevity and success- all the usual’s; skill, motivation, entrepreneurial mindset, the list goes on, but can we rely on these alone or is there more to it?

I was recently asked to guest speak at a live business conference and as one of six speakers (all business owners) throughout the day who were asked to ‘share their success story’, there were two obvious commonalities within the main thread of every single one of our talks… character and experience.

Most speakers who shared their stories went back in time, sharing their career journeys as I and in turn then spoke about the challenges encountered both personally and in business that built and strengthened characteristics, formulating the resilience and determination to succeed.  We shared evidence of early signs of entrepreneurship – mine began in the middle of a field aged around ten years old selling unwanted items at car boot sales; it was there I learnt the art of negotiation and first experienced the ‘buzz’ of a sale.  This then led to bulk buying items to sell off individually for a profit at school and into my teens buying and selling cars with my mum (who was a motor mechanic).  Having a job at an early age (thirteen) at my families hairdressers also stood me in good stead for the world of work, as it was there I  learnt to expand my social skills and of course learnt the value of money and hard work.  I still remember the thrill of receiving the single ten pound note in a little brown envelope at the end of each day, knowing I had to deduct my bus fare and lunch money, leaving me with very little, but knowing it was mine– I had earnt it and I was jolly well going to spend it on whatever I wanted.   

As speakers, many of us touched on education and how it potentially propelled us into our current roles, or indeed linked in some way to the present day.  I spent three years of my life at University studying Theatre Design with no real desire to work within the theatre upon graduation… waste of time and student loan you might say, but little did I know that I was destined to translate what I had learnt into the world of event management some years later and my University have now become one of my clients- yes they are paying me!

The CORE values in which we all learn along the way in life can and do count towards how we spend our time presently, whether or not you believe in serendipity, there is something to be said for reflecting on your past experiences, in order to both recognise where you are today and to fuel your future decisions, creating new and exciting opportunities which all form part of your journey- too deep? 

Going back to each and every speakers presentation content – again CORE values were a big important part – integrity, professionalism, honesty the list goes on and we can relate to most.   It is these values that carry us through and keep us motivated to succeed on those days when we sit with our head in our hands wondering what on earth we are doing, we remember ‘why’ we are doing it.  When we face challenges, we remember what we have overcome previously, and it reminds us we can do it again.  Its so easy to forget the basics when the day to day stuff consumes us all so much, but the business owners who make it – who really make it are the ones who remember this and who recognise the bigger picture, who allow their CORE values, experiences and character to shine through in their work, who are not afraid to inject their personality into their brands, who never forget their ‘why’, who keep an eye on their competitors from a distance but don’t lost sleep over them, who have not one but several USP’s, who are resilient and determined to succeed, who are creative, innovative and have to be different from others in their industries, who find the right balance between professionalism and likability, who know the difference between truth and perception, and who identify their strengths and work towards developing them- every single day.

Fiona Duncan-Steer – /

Similar Posts