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Reasonably Defining Success


How do you define success? Many new business owners believe it is the size of your house or the price of your car that determines whether or not you are successful. Most experienced business owners realize that measuring your self by these markers will only lead to frustration. There is always a bigger house or someone with a nicer car. So how can we reasonably define success?

After a few years in existence, a business may already be more or less successful than they initially set out to be. Unreasonable initial growth expectations, changing markets, family obligations or any other number of things can lead to a boost or decline in business revenue. These variables cause many business owners to redefine success after a few years in business. Often this redefinition has less to do with financial issues and more to do with issues like the direction they want their business to go, creating time for the owner with his or her family, transferring the business to the next generation and a host of other important items.

It turns out that what may be a success for one may not seem so for another. Years of experience have taught many people that success isn't about possessions but more about peace of mind. The peace of mind they gain by always telling their customers the truth, regardless of how it affects their bottom line. The pride they take in doing the right thing for their clients even when no one knows they are doing it. The satisfaction they get when they put their family first even when it may cost them money. Obviously, these are just a few of the things that businesses may use as non-monetary ways to measure their success.

Some business owners only goal (other than keeping their doors open) is to be the very best at what they do. They will forego income, prestige, and acclaim as long as they know they are the very best. Other businesses strive mainly to help and benefit their customers. These owners derive immense gratification from knowing the work they do is helping others.

Is there anything wrong with defining success by the bottom line? Absolutely not, but the longer a business exists the less likely it is that money is the measuring stick that really counts. How do you define success?

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