Small business owners sometimes have difficulty understanding the performance of their company. Daily operations can obscure the actual profitability and health of a firm, setting the stage for a surprise when severe problems emerge.

Some owners might have perfectionist tendencies that unduly increase costs while others continue for a long time unaware of serious flaws.

Although checking sales and profit reports or other criterion can infer success, they oversimplify analysis. Instead, various non-monetary indicators usually provide a more accurate picture of business health and underlie a sound business model and higher chances of long-term success.

The following seven signs can either confirm you have a successful business or alert you to problems that set the stage for failure:

1. Motivated employees

A business that has low turnover rates suggests that workers feel challenged and engaged. Satisfied workers produce more, provide excellent customer service and add value to the company. Formal surveys and an internal culture that encourages open dialog can help uncover the roots of any possible employee dissatisfaction. When employees feel comfortable expressing criticism as well as praise, business owners can promptly respond to problems in the workplace in ways that help employees enjoy their work.

“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” –Anne M. Mulcahy

2. Happy customers

Satisfied customers reflect well on your business and give cause for an optimistic view of the future. Business owners should continually evaluate whether their firm has made a positive difference in the personal and commercial life of their customers. When your business has happy customers, word of their experiences spreads and your company becomes easier to find. A reputation for having quality products and excellent customer service will sustain your business for many years.


3Expert credibility

Companies that have expertise in their field create a leadership role that others want to follow. When a corporation builds a trusted reputation as a source of industry news and commentary, it increases its ability to prosper. Businesses that solidify their position as leaders create value for their brand and boost margins and profits.



Technology and the marketplace rapidly change, routinely turning winners into overnight losers. Successful companies have the necessary agility to adjust to the changing business landscape. Rather than resisting change, winning firms embrace it and find ways to create value from it. Although staying up-to-date with all environmental changes that affect a company requires vigilance, it pays off in the form of an efficient and flexible organization that can always stay relevant.


5. A healthy and caring work environment

The work environment provided by a company determines its success. You already know how employees can make the difference between failure and success. When happy, your team can make amazing accomplishments. The work environment contributes much to employee morale.

Enthusiastic workers often burnout as they work hard for their employer. That is why it is important to have a well-defined framework of policies that encourage employees to enjoy holidays and family time. Even in small companies where every employee plays a vital operational role, business owners can give their employees needed time off or offer flexible schedules. Never underestimate the role of a positive workplace in commercial success. 


6Your attitude

Without passionate leadership, employees and customers will hardly become excited about a company. Business owners set the course for their firm with their attitude. Businesspeople with a “can do” attitude and a vision for the future energize everyone they meet, creating a life-giving spark that animates every part of the business.

“The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.” – Kobe Bryant

7Focusing on the future

Small companies often fall into the trap of focusing on short-term profitability without spending time developing a roadmap for the future. Successful companies know their goals for the future and align their operations to contribute to those objectives. In many settings, preparing the future requires additional training for managers and employees. Your team needs to learn the best practices for your industry, how to innovate, and how to lead. Rather than feeling adrift, everyone in your company should feel motivated and excited as they develop the skills and experiences needed to achieve great things.

Spend some time evaluating the state of your small business. Every company should earn a profit, but only successful companies have the non-financial characteristics to achieve success. Happy customers, happy employees, flexibility and a great attitude will help your business succeed.

How are you running your successful small business? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!