confident woman business owner standing outside a storefront
From having a unique value to to empowering employees, there are several characteristics that are common among successful businesses. — Getty Images/pixdeluxe

Entrepreneurship is a difficult yet rewarding career path regardless of the industry. While different types of businesses might measure success differently, there are universal habits or qualities that thriving businesses have in common.

We spoke with 10 business owners about the most important characteristics of successful businesses. Here's what they shared.

Willingness to take chances

Business owners who are willing to take chances tend to achieve more than those who play it safe.

“Successful businesses may be established enough to follow stable business processes, but they’re also bold as well as risk-taking,” said Jake Smith, managing director of Absolute Reg. “They know that failure is just a start to becoming successful. And while they’re practical, successful entrepreneurs are always willing to make modifications.”

Unique value

Providing customers with unique value helps businesses stand out from their competitors, said Reda Elmardi, CEO of Strong Chap.

“We can’t all have the cheapest prices, but you can surely emphasize other aspects of benefit,” Elmardi added. “From engaging industry experts to add to your customer service, to [finding] unique goods/offerings, to executing loyalty programs, there are countless ways to make your business distinct from your competitor.”

[Read: 10 Hugely Successful Companies that Reinvented Their Business]


To both reach and retain success, businesses must have tenacity, or determination, and persistence in the face of conflict.

“Tenacity will allow you to withstand the toughest of times and also fully embrace the best of times,” said Christopher Grozdon, CMO of DASH-SEO. “There will always be ups and downs throughout everyone's lives, yet with owning a business, you will certainly experience those ups and downs to the extreme … If you have the tenacity to push through tough times and work hard to achieve your goals, you'll most likely become a successful business, through and through.”

Customer-centric approach

Many businesses get swept up with their own personal goals and lose sight of those who matter most: their customers.

“One thing successful businesses have in common is … a strong customer focus,” said John Stevenson, marketing specialist at My GRE Exam Preparation. “They create a culture that is centered around their customers and focus their processes, products and services around their services needs. Delivering constant high quality products/services also helps them succeed as people's regard for them remains high and positive.”

[Read: 10 Key Talents Most Great Entrepreneurs Have]

A business that is able to nurture the same passion they have for their offering within their employees is one that will deliver excellence to their clientele at every touchpoint.

Lance Wilkins, founder, Call Outdoors

Good marketing

Chris Taylor, marketing director at Profit Guru, noted that successful businesses tend to have good marketing strategies that got them there in the first place.

“Businesses normally obtain the most success through their marketing efforts,” he said. “The key to your marketing strategy is to employ as many marketing channels as possible. For instance, pulling customers by pay-per-click advertising, newsletters and social media is expected to attract more customers than it would from practicing just one of these courses.”

Strong vision

If you lack a specific vision or company mission, your business won’t be consistent, which can hurt your bottom line.

“Most successful businesses have a strong ultimate objective which they strive for every day,” said Kevin Mercier, founder of “These businesses achieve their goals by setting short-term, medium-term and long-term objectives which they go on to accomplish day by day. This vision is not just instilled into higher-level management but even lower-level employees that work together in synergy to achieve their firm's ultimate goals.”

Passionate leaders

According to Lance Wilkins, founder of Call Outdoors, passionate leaders are the backbone of thriving businesses.

“One of the key characteristics of a successful business is a leader (or leadership team) who gets their employees as excited about their product or service as they are,” he said. “A business that is able to nurture the same passion they have for their offering within their employees is one that will deliver excellence to their clientele at every touchpoint.”

[Read: The Surprising Psychology of Successful Entrepreneurs and Why They Take the Risk]

Empowered employees

Employees play a crucial role in a business’s success and development, and it’s important they’re in alignment with their company’s mission.

“Most successful [business owners] … make sure their employees are empowered to make decisions and take ownership of their work,” said Karthik Subramanian, senior content manager at Picmaker. “That means there is no micro-management, nor is there any fear-mongering. Rather, it is a collaborative approach.”


Tom Winter, founder of DevSkiller, stressed the importance of keeping up with your customers’ ever-changing expectations.

“Businesses that are resilient and withstand the tests of time, including pandemics, are the ones that are the most adaptable,” said Tom Winter, founder of DevSkiller. “With the fast pace of technology these days and constant shifts in trends, it’s important to be able to mold your business accordingly.”


Diversity is especially important today, as consumers and businesses alike are aiming to be more inclusive and socially responsible.

“The notion that two heads are better than one only works if both of those heads are listened to and each of them have something different to say,” said Christy Pruitt-Haynes, leadership development, human resources and diversity consultant. “If not, a company can get a louder version of the wrong answer. Diversity, when coupled with collaboration, ensures innovation and a wider skill set for the company.”

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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