— Summary —

In this episode, I touch on the 8 traits of successful businesses. These traits increase the chances of growth and success immensely.

The 8 traits of Successful Businesses

  1. Strategic Plan: You must have a formalized plan to build a business, access and connect with your market. When you have thought about its strategic execution, you have already developed ways to find alternatives and take on challenges. Analyze and exercise based on this strategic plan.
  2. Market-driven refinements to increase value of your existing products and services: Have a mechanism to listen to your market and know what they are telling you. Continually adjust things to increase the value exchange with customers ultimately raising the price and profits.
  3. Committed vs. interested: Be committed to the outcomes and do everything that is necessary to make them a reality. Put the time and effort required to move forward. Challenges will come and in order to get through it, we need to be committed.
  4. Clarity of Market and identity: Have clarity on your ideal and specific customer. You can’t just sell to everyone. Also, have clarity on what your business is about. Resources will be used properly when you know what you stand for.
  5. Constantly looking at the scoreboard: Measure the prime indicators of your business continuously. Analyze it and see whether it is taking you towards the right direction or not. It allows you to make proactive strategic decisions and shift courses as required.
  6. Mentors in Place: When people surround themselves with others who are able to elevate them while avoiding the potholes, they’re going in the right directors. Mentors and business coaches are those that can accelerate your success and you can lean on them for support.
  7. Aligned team and don’t control everything: Strategy is important but it’s secondary to culture. Develop a culture that aligns teams with proper values. Grant teams their freedom to learn from mistakes and build on it. Give them the openness to come to you with solutions.
  8. Rise above the daily details: Entrepreneurs should be able to look ahead and have the bigger vision for their business. They should get down to the details to make the vision come true; continually looking out for the next action to make everything better, efficient and convenient.

— Begin Transcript —

Hey there, I’m Mel Abraham, the author of the brand new number 1 best-selling book, The Entrepreneur’s Solution and the founder of Business Breakthrough Academy where we teach you how to design a business and create a life: A life of financial freedom and peace of mind.

And welcome back to this episode of The Entrepreneur’s Solution show. In the last episode, I talked about the 8 warning signs. Someone had asked me a question in a recent conference I was speaking at and I thought that it was a really great question to consider. So, I talked about the 8 warning signs that a business might be in trouble or that it’s heading towards trouble, the things that I’ve seen as a pattern in businesses.

In this episode, I’m going to go to the other side of that. I will give you the 8 traits that I see with most successful business. The 8 things that when I see these I go, “Now this business is really hitting it”. And when you see that, when you get these things in place your chance to success, your chances of growing, your chances of having that dream come true raise greatly.

So, just like every other episode there’s a downloadable guidebook that goes with this episode that will take you through the process, take you t hrough some of the questions to help you through the process and I invite you to download the guidebook in every episode. And work with me, stay with me, be active in the process. That’s how you’re going to grow. That’s how it’s going to shift and have you doing things differently based upon what I’ve learned as 30+ years as an entrepreneur and working with successful businesses.

So, in order to get that guidebook go to: MelAbraham.com/session026. And if you happened to not be by your computer, if you happened to be running or out working out at the gym or driving, and you can’t get to the computer, go ahead and just text MYLEGACY one-word no-spaces MYLEGACY to 38470. We’ll send you a link, so you can get the download when you get a chance to get to your computer.

So, right after this brief introduction we’ll come back and we’re going to talk about the 8 traits of successful businesses. See you soon.


Hey there, welcome back, I’m Mel Abraham, the author of the number 1 best-selling book,  The Entrepreneur’s Solution, the founder of Business Breakthrough Academy and thank you for coming back to The Entrepreneur’s Solution show and in this episode, we’re going to talk about the 8 traits that exist for successful businesses. The things that I’ve seen over the years that when these exist; the more of these that exist; the more successful, the more probability of success exists for that business.

Now we talked in the last episode about the 8 warning signs. So, if you haven’t had a chance to listen or watch that episode, go back and look at that because I think it sets the tone for this one really well. But let’s get into it right away.
What are the 8 traits that when I see them or that I look for in a business that will demonstrate that there’s a high likelihood of success—there’s a high probability of success.

And the first one is that: Strategic Plan.

We talked about it in the last episode many businesses that lack a strategic plan. What’s your plan? And hope, prayer and faith are not plans. And they are the worst business strategy you can put in a place and so we need to think about it and say, “What is the strategic plan”.

We’re going to talk deeper about this concept of a business plan. But what’s your strategic plan? What are the specific strategies that you’re going to use:
• To build your business,
• To access your market,
• To communicate with your market,
• Connect with your market,
• To build that business.
• What’s the team behind it?
• What’s the strategy behind it?
• What are the tactics behind it?

The more formalized plan you have, the more that you are executing based upon the plan the more thought out your business is and the more thought out it is makes me realize that
• You’ve thought about alternatives,
• You’ve thought about challenges,
• You’ve thought about the obstacles.

And you’ve put it all together in a strategy that then you turn around and say, “Here’s the tactics to make the strategy come to life” and then it’s focused on execution, execution, execution. And that’s the key.

So, first thing I’m going to look for is:
• Is there a plan?
• Is there a strategic plan?
• Has there been a strategic plan for a period of time and when they’ve exercised on this strategic plan, when you’ve exercised on this strategic plan, does it come true?
• How good are your plans?
• And how effective are they?

Number 2 is it’s lengthy. It says: Using market driven refinements to increase value of your existing products and services.

Let me put it to you in another way:
• Are you listening to your market?
• What is your market telling you?

Do you have a mechanism in which you are consistently and repeatedly going to your marketplace, putting to your, and having that conversation, that dialogue with them that connects you with them in a way that they give you meaningful feedback, meaningful information that allows you to then say, “We need to change things.”

We need to adjust things and continually tweak things so we can increase the value exchange with our customer. And when we increase the value exchange with our customer we can increase the pricing to our customer because they perceive more value and they’re willing to pay more value. So, the question is how connected are you to the market place and is there a system in place for your market to give you the feedback? Do you have a process in place?

Then number 3: Are you truly committed to it vs. interested?
And what I mean by this is that I have worked with entrepreneurs and businesses where they’re not really committed to the outcome. They’re not really committed to the results. They’re interested in getting results but they’re not willing to do everything that is necessary to really make those results a reality. So, they’re not committed to it.

So the question that we need to look at: I want to understand, “how committed you are to success of the company, to the business?”

In other words:
• Are you putting the time in?
• Are you putting the effort in?

And I have a lot of friends that talk about motivation and talk about inspiration and all that. And I’m not sure that … I don’t believe that I can motivate people. I believe that maybe we can inspire people but the commitment for you to be in business has to come from within. There has to be a burning desire on the inside, something that’s just fighting to come out in order for you to be committed.

And if you don’t have that burning desire, if you don’t have that energy, that fireball in the gut, in the heart that really is moving your forward that gets you to say, “No this is really what I want”. Then I’m not sure you’re committed enough to it because trust me being in business is not for the faint of heart. It’s not about if you’re going to have obstacles, if you’re going to have challenges. It’s about when.

We’re all going to have challenges. Let me tell you my 30+ years as an entrepreneur, I’ve had plenty of challenges: lost clients, cancelled contracts, bad receivables where they wouldn’t, they couldn’t pay me, they went bankrupt. I’ve been through it. I’ve made bad choices, bad decisions. Many of you know that I made some bad investments, lost one-third of my net worth and had to re-build it again. It’s not about if it’s about when.

So in order to get through that, “When”, we need to be committed. We need to know that, that dream, that vision, the results that we’re trying to get for our customers, for our team and for our lives is so, so full of life and so connected to us that we’re going to do what it takes. And when I see an executive team that is truly committed to the outcome then the likelihood—doesn’t mean you were going to always be successful—but the likelihood of success is much, much higher.

Think about it. I don’t know for those you had a movie to watch, one of my favorite movies of all time is Apollo 13 and I remember that scene where Ed Harris comes in to the conference room. He’s got all the engineers there in that conference room and he turns around, he pours a box of stuff out, he says, “That’s what those three guys up in the capsule have with them. Let’s figure out how we use this to get them back to earth safely because failure’s not an option.” That’s commitment. That’s commitment.

And we know how that Apollo 13 ended in the sense they got all those astronauts safely back to earth. So, are you committed and not simply interested? Is it a nice to have? Well, that not commitment. It’s I need to have and I’m willing to do what it takes.

Number 4: You have the clarity of market and identity.
These are two different things. You have a clarity as to who your customer is. Who your ideal customer is? I just did an episode on ideal customer profile, so if you haven’t gone through that—make sure you get to that episode and go through the guidebook and work through it. Identify who your market is because we can’t … I’ve had so many people that I hear them. I say, “Who’s your market? Who’s your customer?” and they say, “Whoa, whoa, everyone”.
Well it can’t be everyone. If you try to sell everyone you’ll sell to no one. It’s a cliché term but it’s true. We can’t sell to everyone.

Who is your specific customer?

“Who is that customer that is right in your wheelhouse, that that’s the prime customer, the ideal customer you should be serving?”

Doesn’t mean we’re not going to serve the fringes. But let’s start with the ideal first. Let’s put, let’s stack the deck on our favorite first. Let’s get clarity of who our customer is and more importantly who our customer is not. Let’s not spend the time having conversations with people that aren’t our customers. If we have to spend the time trying to convince people that we’re right for them—it’s wrong.

I have talked about this whole concept of conviction selling vs. convincing selling. Convincing selling is the wrong way to do it. If we are spending our time trying to convince someone that we’re right, it’s like trying to get the girl or the guy to go on a date and you’re saying, “No, I’m really good. I’m really good.”
• It doesn’t feel good.
• It doesn’t look good.

You’re begging almost and convincing selling is never sustainable vs. conviction selling where you’re sitting back saying,
• Here’s who we are.
• Here’s what we do.
• Here’s how we can transform your life.
• Here’s how we can do it in a cost effective way.

And then sit back and say, “If this is for you, join us on the journey.” And if it’s not, you get it. But you do not spending the time trying to twist the arm and convince them because the buyers’ remorse, the failure rate is just awful. So, that’s clarity of market.

The second piece of this is clarity of identity.
• Who are you?
• Who is your business in that market?
• What do you provide?

Many of you have heard me say these terms repeatedly but it is at the core of everything I teach.
• What do you stand for?
• And does your market know what you stand for?

You think about some businesses like if I’d say Volvo. I’ve talked all around the world and when I mention the word Volvo, I say what comes to mind? They say, “Safety”.

So, what do you stand for?

What’s the one word, the two words, the sentence that if you went to your marketplace and say, “What are we known for? What do we stand for?”
That’s what you want to know. Having the clarity of the customer, and the market and clarity of what you stand for is extremely important. And the clearer you are the less likely you’re going to waste resources chasing the wrong customers or trying to build a reputation that isn’t who you are. So, get that clarity first.

Then you’re constantly looking at the scoreboard.

We talked about measurement systems in the last episode. You have a score card. You are constantly measuring your performance as a business, your team’s performance, productivity and the key metrics; what I call the prime indicators of your business.
• So that you can be proactive in your strategic decisions.
• So that you can make and shift and do course changes as needed and not wait till it’s too late.

So, I want to see someone that has systems in place where they’re constantly looking at the scorecard and they constantly have the metrics in front of them that say, “This is … we’re going the wrong way or we’re going the right way”.

And if we’re going the right way,
• How do we expand on it?
• How do we escalate it, elevate it?

If we’re going the wrong way,
• How do we stop it?

But if we’re not looking at all or we’re looking late in the game—it’s too late to course correct. And now we find ourselves really playing catch-up and that becomes a problem.

Number 6: Number 6 is Mentors.

When we start to understand and I’ll be the first one to say that my success, the success that I’ve had as an entrepreneur, the success that I continue to have as an entrepreneur is a direct result of not only my execution of my efforts but more likely a direct result of everyone around me.
• My support team,
• The mentors that I’ve had,
• The colleagues that I’ve had, and
• The people that have served me.

On my journey as an entrepreneur I’ve had some tremendous mentors going back decades that I didn’t realize how they influenced me but they shifted and changed the way I did things and the way I saw things that changed the dynamics of all I do.

And I continually have mentors, I still have mentors today. I belong to Masterminds and those entrepreneurs that are open-minded enough to realize that they don’t know it all and that maybe someone with a different perspective, not even in the same industry. It could be a mechanic, it could be a painter that just has a different perspective and sees things differently can give you a different perspective that gets you to go, “Oh, wait. I never thought of that.”

So, I want to see people that have mentors, have business coaches, have people in their lives and surround themselves with people that they can lean on what I call cabinet, if you will. That help them elevate themselves, that aren’t so caught up in some myopic view of everything they do is right. But that’s what’s going to accelerate your success. I can’t tell you the impact of mentors on success.

They will accelerate your success because they’ve travelled the journey. Now, I’m not talking about, I’m talking about people that have been down the road, that have travelled the journey, that know where the potholes are. So what they can do is they can take their learning curve and give it to you without you having to go up the same steep learning curve and that’s the key behind it.
And they’re going to give it to you in a way that is direct, caring, compassionate but not just telling you what you want to hear. So, having good mentors is huge and in your growth and in a business and what you’re doing.

Aligned team and not controlling everything.

We talked originally at the very first about strategic plan and I would tell you this—strategy is important but it’s secondary to culture.
• If I have a bad culture in a business.
• If I have a bad philosophy in a business.
• If I have a bad mindset in business.

All the strategies in the world will not solve it. So, the key is to make sure that we have the right culture.

Do I have an alignment of values?

We spend a lot of time going through businesses and looking at culture and saying, “All right, let’s get the value system aligned properly. Let’s bring the right people in with an aligned team with the proper values so we’re all looking down the same direction. And let’s build a culture on that basis”.

There’s a lot of companies out there that are doing this: Clif Bar, Zappos, Patagonia, Tom’s Shoes. There’s a lot of companies out there that have thought through this and understood the importance of culture because no matter what business you’re in, it’s a people business and there’s interaction between teams, vendors and customers—people to people. It’s not business to business or consumer to business. It’s not that. It’s all people to people and the culture matters. So, I want to create an aligned team.

If I see in-fighting between the team members, if I see backstabbing between the team members, if I see politics between the team members then I know that that’s an issue.

So I want to look for an aligned team or I want to strive to building an aligned team and remove the entrepreneurs. So the entrepreneur isn’t a myopic, micromanaging, minute managing entrepreneur. If you bring a team in and everything they do has to run through the entrepreneur, that’s not a team.

You’re not empowering them.
• Granted they may make mistakes.
• Granted they may not do things exactly the way you would do them.

But allow them to make three left turns instead of one right turn. Let them learn and build on it. I have always, often said that:
The first time a mistake is made it’s not a mistake it’s learning.
• The second time it’s a mistake.
• The third time it’s a problem.

So, allow them to learn and give them the latitude to grow and give them the openness for them to come to you with solutions, to come to you openly and not have them slammed out and say that’s stupid or that’s silly because they’re going to stop. But if you think about it, if you think about this whole concept of an organization and you have team members—allowing them to speak their mind and at least bring ideas to you, great you have veto power but at the same time they may think of things that you’re not thinking of.

They may be in the trenches talking with the customers that may be you’re not talking with and they’re hearing things. So, listen to them and create alignment based on values. Don’t try to control everything that will allow you to grow.

And then the last piece is that that I look for entrepreneurs that rise above the daily details.

And this really kind of focuses on, again on this last, the point before also. But if I have an entrepreneur that is so muddled; all the daily details that they can’t create the vision, that they don’t have a bigger vision, that they’re not looking ahead.

There’s two different levels of how to operate that business.

One is up in the visionary, bold thinking, future thinking aspect. All businesses need that and that visionary leader, that one that can envision what the future is like to present it in a compelling way that the team and the aligned team will get behind it and say,
• Yeah we love that vision.
• We want to be part of that vision.
• We want to be a part of this race and we’re with you.

And then, to step down and say, “Alright, so what are the executables? What are the different tactics and the details that we need to do on a daily basis to make that vision come true?”

If we spend all the time down here as an entrepreneur, we’re going to create one thing but we’re not going to have the vision for the future. So what ends up happening is the business has a finite life. I hope that makes sense. It’s that if we’re not continually looking at the future and saying,
• What’s next? What’s next?
• How can we make it better?
• How can we make it better cost?
• How can we make it more effective, more efficient, more convenient?

If we’re not continually looking out the windshield to something bigger and better to continue to grow, what we have is a business with a finite life.

So, I need to, so I want to look at the fact that I’ve got someone that has the ability to rise above the daily details even if they spend a lot of time in the daily details in doing that. Or a team that has some people that are the visionary, the inspiration behind the business, the motivation behind the business and those that are executing this vision on an ongoing basis.

So, that’s the 8 traits that I’ve seen in … when I’ve looked at businesses, or the things that when I see these things existing in business therfe is a much higher likelihood of success, much higher probability of growth and profitability and it also, you’ll also find that it’s typically more meaningful, more fulfilling working with businesses in that context.

Strategic plan,
• Listening to your marketplace or market-driven refinements,
• Being totally committed – to the outcome, to the results, to the transformation that you’re making in everyone’s lives
• To have clarity of market and identity,
• To constantly looking at the scoreboard and measuring your metrics and watching the metrics.
• To have mentors in place that are going to assist you and help you grow and give you a vision of things that they’ve been through that may be you haven’t been through.
• To have a team that’s aligned and you’re not focused on controlling everything.
• And to be able to rise above the daily details.

That will make a huge difference in your business and in your future as you move forward.

Hope you found this of value to you in thinking about:
• What it is that’s going on in your business.
• What it is and how you’re building your business; the team that you have in place.
• What it is you’re looking at.
• The culture that you’re building in that process.

And do me a favor. If you found this of value, share it with a friend. Give them the gift. Give them the gift of some of the training and some of the tactics and tools that we’re providing.

I really believe that entrepreneurship is the way of the future. It is how we’re going to shift and change this world, change society and to give people their lives back again. To give control of their lives back again so they’re not dependent on someone else and the paycheck. But they can create something that’s meaningful for other people, transforming other people’s lives while transforming their lives at the same time. And so make sure that you share this with a friend.

And if you haven’t subscribed yet, go ahead and subscribe. Let’s make sure that I can get to you all of the information, all the tools and tactics, the strategies that I’ve used for 30+ years as an entrepreneur to help you navigate your future.

And then if you have a question in the process. Question about success, business, entrepreneurship, wealth; any of those types of questions go to: AskMelNow.com and leave me your question. We’ll be sure that I answer those questions on an upcoming episode. It’s another way that I can be your entrepreneurial mentor.

Remember to download. Download the guidebook for this session by going to MelAbraham.com/session026. And if you’re not by your computer and you’re just listening to the podcast or you are on the road somewhere, go ahead and text. Text MYLEGACY one-word no-spaces to 38470. We’ll give you a reminder with the download link as a text so you can get it when you get back to a safe place to the computer where you can get that information.

Stay with me on this. I look forward to serving you, supporting you in your growth and in your future and in your entrepreneurial endeavors. It’s about building a life of freedom and peace of mind as we move through it.
Until we get a chance to see each other on the next episode,

May your vision be grand, your journey epic and your legacy significant!
See you soon. Cheers. Bye!!

— End Transcript —
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