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Tom Clairmont

Helping you pivot through your small business journey.

What Does Success Look Like For Your Business?

What Is Business Success?

Business success is different for everyone. Creating a strategy and outlining what success looks like for you gives you a way to measure your success. The two ingredients to the recipe of success are hard work and persistence, no matter what business you’re in. 

Just showing up…not quitting, is half the battle.

Many new business owners start with a goal of “being successful.” But what does “being successful” really mean? The truth is, is that small business success is different for everybody. And, as with everything else for your business, it’s up to you to define what success looks like for you. What one person would call a failure, another person would call it a success.

What do I mean by that? Well, for example, if the goal for the year was $250K in profits, in your sole proprietor business, but you fell short of the goal and ended up with ONLY $100K in profits. Some would call that a failure. But from where I’m sitting, I would not call that a failure. Now I know I’m being very simplistic here. I’m not getting into any of the financials of this example, but, overall, just trying to make a point.  

So, what is business success? The journey to greatness is a different experience for each business owner. One might say that success is something larger than yourself and the company.

I heard one person say “Success is running a profitable firm that conducts business with honesty and integrity, makes meaningful contributions to the communities it serves and nurtures high-quality, balanced lives for its employees.”  In other words, it goes way beyond us and the numbers, but what is the business doing for the community and to improve the lives of others?

Some think of success from a perspective of ‘is my staff happy? Are they successful?’

Your success is built around your team, or your staff, so the company will only be successful if I have the right team with me, and to make sure that happens, I make sure that my staff is happy.

One way to define success for you and your business is to create a strategy and a roadmap for how you’ll achieve that success and then outline the goals with some details you need to accomplish along the way.


So, what are your goals? Do you have written goals?

Everyone is different and everyone has different goals and hopes and dreams…different expectations. But you need to define your goals in such a way so that you know if you’re on the right path or not, and if you’re wasting your time with this business idea that you have.

What are your boundaries?

·      What are the minimum sales necessary

·      What is the maximum amount of time I’ll spend on the business?

·      Am I happy with the business

·      Am I happy with my performance?

·      Could I do this long term?

What’s the end goal? And this goes hand in hand with the initial dream and if you have a roadmap in place or not. Do you have short term and long term goals in place? Do you have milestone markers in place?

So I have certain milestones for different aspects of the business. Milestones that relate to:

·      Income

o  Active 1:1 direct services

o  Passive, affiliate marketing income

·      Website traffic and how much of that translates to building my email list

·      And then actual coaching clients per month

What Would a Success Strategy Look Like For You?

Take some time to really examine your industry and your short- and long-term goals. This is a great way to set yourself on a path to success. Keep these tips in mind when defining success for your business.

1.    Write down your business goals.

Setting long-term goals helps you pinpoint what success means for you. Sometimes, putting your ideas on paper helps you outline a vision for your business and shows you exactly what you need to do to get there.

Now, this all goes back to referring to your business plan, and think about your one-, five- and 10-year business goals. Where do you see your business at each stage? Is there a common theme among those goals? Is it all just about the money? Or are there other goals besides the money that are part of the success plan?

One thing that can make or break a business is the amount of preparation and planning that is done. And I’ve talked about this a few times in other episodes about laying a good foundation for the business. I did a whole series on it in Eps 30-36.

“Success is the gradual realization of a worthy goal,” said John Lee Dumas, founder and host of business podcast “Entrepreneur on Fire.”

So, how do you apply your personal goals to your business? That’s what this is all about, right? I talk a lot about turning your goals into reality, and it isn’t easy, but the good news is that there’s a few ways to make them happen so you can check off some success boxes along the way.

And to continue with the list, here are some other tips:

2.    Delegate as much work as you can

You won’t feel successful if you’re stressed out and didn’t get much sleep. You can’t do it all, so don’t try to do it all.

Can’t afford a website designer, then maybe try and get a graphic designer intern. Can’t afford a marketing person? I’m going to guess that there’s an intern out there for that as well.

There’s plenty of people looking for a way to apply what they just learned and get some experience to start building their new resume. My SEO person, Amanda, is one of those people.

She just got a dual certification in digital marketing and wants to develop her SEO skills and apply what she’s learned. In about 6 months, she’ll be able to put NET Essentials Inc. on her resume and take on more clients after she proves she can produce some real results.

3.    Measure your growth.

Put a process in place for tracking progress on your goals. Now, when you’re just getting started, there may not be much to track. You’re baseline is usually zero and any little sale above that is considered growth. I get it.

But as you start to grow and build your business, you want to track that growth month by month. Remember, good goals are measurable, and you should be able to track that.

4.    Don’t be afraid of failing or changing course.

Remember that goals change, so you must need to stay flexible. Try to stick to the one year-, five year- and 10-year method, and check in on those once a year. Give yourself permission to change course from time to time. We’re talking about success here today, but some amount of failure is healthy – and maybe unavoidable – as a business owner.

Failure can lead to business success, said Jack Petry, business coach and growth strategist. “The path to success is to fail as quickly as you possibly can, because it creates a tremendous asset: results,” he said. “If you do anything in life, you get a result. You’ll grow wiser, and I’ve found [failure] is often a springboard to eventual success.”

5.    Remember your mission.

As you experience all the ups and downs of starting or running a business, as well as the hurdles and setbacks, remember to focus on your vision and company mission. It’s hard going through the tough times, but staying focused on why you started your business in the first place is a great motivator.

If you have some experience, or prior proof that you’re actually helping people succeed, or have a better life somehow, hold on to that experience and remember it as a motivator to keep you moving forward.  

It’s important to focus on your vision and to be passionate about what you do. Sometimes, that may be all you have to keep yourself going.

Only when we do what we love can we go through the long hours, the challenges, the problems and everything that comes with running a successful business.

6.    Applaud yourself and your team.

Finally, celebrate your accomplishments when you complete a goal. This allows you to recognize the hard work that you and your team put in, and it serves as a motivating factor in continuing your path to success.

Success is defined for me personally by looking at how many lives I’ve impacted and how I’ve been able to make an impact in the world. Be sincere and help people and the money will follow.

The keys to business success

Is there one key to business success? Is there this ‘Just do this one thing and you’ll be successful’? No. There’s no one key to success in business. Like everything else in entrepreneurship, what works for you may not work for someone else, and it can take months or even years before you find what works.

So, how will you really know if your business is successful? If you’re successful, I think you’ll know. If you have to wonder, or think about it for awhile, you’re probably not there yet. I think you’ll feel it both externally, with how the business is doing, and also internally for how you’re feeling about you and your lifestyle.

You could be making a ton of money, but if your lifestyle and relationships are in the pits, then what have you got? Money. And I wouldn’t call that successful.

My version of success is when you can point to both the business and personal relationships that are doing well, simultaneously. What do you think? Let me know.    

Send me your thoughts at 

To your success, 


Success is the gradual realization of a worthy goal.”

For more tips, tools and motivation to help you on your online, small business journey, sign up for the weekly emails HERELearn from my successes as well as my mistakes that will hopefully give you clarity and a strategy as you plan your new small business launch. 

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