5 Different Ways to Define Success

As you begin taking inventory of how 2013 went for your business, you’ll probably look at the number of clients you have, revenue generated, profit and whether or not you met expectations for growth. These are all good things every business should look at, but they’re not the only things.

Consider five more ways to define the success of your firm:

  1. Happiness: Do you love what you do? Love being your own boss? Are you glad to get up and go to work every day? That matters a lot and it’s the reason a lot of people go into business in the first place.
  2. Avoiding the worst: Maybe you didn’t hit all your financial goals, but if you made it through another year filled with uncertainty and a middling economy, congratulate yourself. Maybe you didn’t have to lay anyone off. Or you didn’t lose money. You’re not facing heavy debt. These are things a lot of small businesses would be happy to avoid.
  3. You’ve got a great staff: Remember you’re not just a business, you’re providing a livelihood for a group of people that work for you. If you’ve got a great staff that you like working with that’s its own kind of success. Great teams often translate into businesses that last.
  4. Your clients trust and refer you: Do you have a sense that your clients really appreciate the work you do for them? Do they recommend you to friends? If the answer is yes, you’re doing something right.
  5. What you learned in 2013 will make you better in 2014: If you’re not learning, you’re dying. That’s just how business goes these days. If the mistakes you made in 2013 have given you the knowledge you need to get an advantage in 2014 that’s a success. It may very well mean big things ahead.

In a year filled with economic uncertainty, it’s important to remember there’s more than one place to hang your hat.

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Michael Alter, payroll expert with an MBA from Harvard Business School, is a nationally recognized spokesperson providing thought-leadership and sensible advice to help accounting and payroll professionals build deeper more profitable relationships with clients. Alter, President of SurePayroll, writes the Trade Secrets column on INC.com and is frequently published in Bloomberg TV, the Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur Magazine.

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