The keys to business success

Being able to articulate a clear strategy gives a business leader a head start. There are other “keys” they should understand.

The keys to business success

Last week I had the honour of being invited back to the judging panel of the Telstra Business Woman of the Year Awards.

What a great and inspiring experience. This was my fourth time, and each year am truly in awe of so many entrants. There are so many incredible women out there working away at building businesses, often against great odds and facing huge personal challenges.

It always strikes me that women often have so many responsibilities – families, business, home – and they always say that family comes first, which makes their business achievements even more incredible.

Through my mentoring, work with The Executive Connection, on boards and in all my business involvements, I have learned there are several “keys” that are vital to business success:

A clear and sound strategy. Being able to articulate a clear strategy gives a chief executive a head start in business. It is then easier to attract stakeholders, both internal and external. For a business to succeed many interested,involved parties need to have a clear understanding of the business strategy: staff,banks,investors,suppliers,customers.

A business plan designed to achieve the agreed strategy. Many businesses have what sounds like a sound strategy but no plans to ensure that the strategic vision is achieved.

A committed team and healthy culture. Great people make great business and their level of commitment is critical to successful business outcomes. People perfom better when they are part of an open, healthy, learning culture. In such an environment people are happier, more fulfilled and keep on growing – personally and professionally. Companies are so often hindered by personal politics, poor communication and attitudes

A chief executive who is smart and caring. People understand when they are truly valued and have a smart leader. I have often seen leaders who are able to cover up inadequacy for a while but generally team members can pick that lack of true leadership and integrity pretty quickly.

Comprehensive, timely statistics. No matter how small or large a business, without great statistics the business is flying blind and possibly heading in the wrong direction. As a chief executive I had access to daily sales figures – by sales consultant and by product. This helped me allocate my time productively and effectively.

Few surprises. Although surprises can be good or bad, I believe a business that is being run well, with clear strategies, plans and statistics, is less vulnerable to being a victim of circumstance than one that is out of control, even if that lack of control is the result of high growth. As in life, there will always be things outside our control, but a great business takes control of all it can, and so keeps a tight rein on risk.

Smart marketing and sales skills. How many businesses fail, not because of product or service quality but because of ineffective marketing and poor sales skills?

I will never forget my business mentor telling me to forget about promotion and just sell, sell, sell!!

Of course there are many more keys to business success, but having read through many applications last week, the ones I have mentioned above struck me as those we need to be thorough about.

It would be remiss of me if I did not encourage every woman, where eligible, to enter awards – particularly the Telstra Awards. The recognition and opportunities that come from the award are immense and, it would seem to me, never ending! (Marcia Griffin won the first Telstra Victorian Business Woman of the Year Award in 1995.)


To read more Marcia Griffin blogs, click here.



Rita Hartney responds: Marcia, I agree with everything you say. I have written a book: ‘It’s Time for Women to Take Control: Face it guys you need a hand”. I’d love you to have a complimentary copy.


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