The DNA of Business Success

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The DNA of Business Success

January 2014 | Servcorp

Current research reveals the ‘DNA' of business success: hard work wins in business, with inexperience and poor planning key reasons for failure of Aussie companies

When it comes to running a company, good old fashioned hard work (82%), drive (70%) and determination (66%) have topped the list of what Aussies think are the most crucial personal traits to safeguard business success, according to a new study.

Recently published, the ‘DNA of Business Success' report by serviced and virtual offices provider Servcorp paints a picture of ‘true Aussie grit' – with characteristics such as risk-tasking (31%) and creativity (59%) often associated with entrepreneurial success identified as being far less important than hard graft.

“We often hear stories about people making millions by thinking up that risky, blue sky idea that catapults them into business superstardom”, said Marcus Moufarrige, Servcorp's Chief Operating Officer. “What we've found is that it's actually the Aussie battler attitude – those traits of hard work, drive and determination – that make up the DNA of Australia's most successful business people.”

The survey of Australian business owners and managers also revealed other factors including staff (55%), investment in new technology (37%) and having nimble, agile operations (39%) as being key ingredients in today's recipe for business success.

“Running a business is tough, so don't go it alone,” continued Mr Moufarrige. “Building a team of talented staff that shares your vision and is willing to go the extra mile can often be the difference between success and failure.”

Failing to plan is planning to fail

When it comes to views on why Australian companies fail, a number of common problems were identified by the Servcorp study:

  • Poor decision making due to inexperience (76%)
  • Owners not doing their homework prior starting their business (74%)
  • Not paying attention to cash flow (71%)
  • Poor recruitment and training decisions (28%)
  • Government bureaucracy and red tape (28%)

“A lot of companies fail simply due to poor planning. Setting up a company is a big step so you need to do your homework and build a solid business plan. You also need to make sure you've got the basics covered – whether that's having the right office space to meet with prospective clients, leveraging new technology to improve productivity or getting help with book keeping to ensure good cash flow – it's the simple things that count,” added Mr Moufarrige.

New Year, new business

Looking towards 2014, it's that time of year when people start to contemplate their future and will consider starting a business. Here are Servcorp's top tips for business success in 2014:

  • Be willing to put in the hard yards – don't be fooled, running a business is one of the toughest challenges you can take on. Be prepared for a lot of hard work and have a thick skin – you need to be resilient and stay focused on the end goal, even when obstacles get in your way.
  • Do your homework – putting in place a solid business plan will help ensure you're in the best possible position for success. What are your goals, who's your customer, how will you differentiate yourself, what's your strategy to market, how will you generate investment and ensure good cash flow, what support do you need to succeed? These are some of the fundamental questions you need to answer before taking that first step.
  • Look the part – where you work says a lot about your business. Having meetings with potential clients in cafés or sterile office spaces doesn't convey professionalism. Looking at other options for start-ups such a ‘virtual office' can be a good option, giving you access to 5-star meeting rooms for an hour or two at a time as well as administration support on an hourly basis, without carving a huge hole in your budget.
  • Avoid long term leases – when you're just starting out, it's important to keep costs low and flexible until your business has become more established. Consider a serviced or virtual office as a way to support your business as it grows.
  • A different perspective – when you're starting out having a mentor or somebody with more experience who you can go to for help and guidance is invaluable. They can provide a useful sounding board when making critical business decisions.
  • Recognise the power of good people – the staff you employ can make or break your business. Take time to build the right team – from talented thinkers to efficient support staff – to ensure you have a strong team in place.
  • Investing in technology – having the right level of IT support will make it easier to focus on your clients and create revenue, without having to worry about internet failures or poor connectivity impacting productivity. For many small businesses it's worth investing in a service that can look after the day-to-day aspects of IT and will keep your business running smoothly, because, let's face it, not every business owner is also an IT whiz.

457 owners and managers of Australian businesses were surveyed online by Galaxy Research on behalf of Servcorp between Wednesday, 9 October and Thursday, 17 October 2013.