At Business Doctors, we have supported many business owners, from new start-ups to well-established, successful businesses.

True, not every business we’ve worked with has become an outstanding success or achieved the growth expectations we set out at the start.

However, at least 20 per cent of the companies we have worked alongside have achieved way beyond their (and my) expectations.

What stands out are the five fundamental behaviours those companies have in common that drive these fantastic results.

As you may have experienced, when you introduce change in a business, a lot of issues can arise.

Change is not just about stepping out your comfort zone – it’s about continually learning from every experience, good or bad.

Taking a fresh look at your business and armed with new understanding, ensure your objectives stay aligned and just keep adapting your approach where required to obtain the required results.

However sharing your challenges and learning with your team of employees is the main difference between successes and, well, let’s say less success.

1. Goal setting
It is one thing visualising your goal; however, you will be more successful if you analyse, then break down the overall objective into bite-sized manageable chunks over a realistic time frame.

Research by Dr Gail Mathews of Dominican University suggests 43 per cent of purely visual goals are achieved .

She found three key elements to successful goals setting accountability, commitment and writing down goals!

So the first step is to write down your goal, then create an action plan and even giving your project a name.
In doing so, your success rate will increase to over 50 per cent.

Increasing success by seven per cent doesn’t sound a lot, but it could be the difference between success and failure.

Sadly, I have met many business owners who are too busy and don’t have time to stop what they are doing.

The old adage comes to mind, “if you stand still in business, you will go backwards”.

These business owners in the “too busy trap” just keep carrying those new ideas and plans around in their head; which results in a 57 per cent chance of failure.

“The palest ink is better than the best memory” Old Chinese proverb

2. Communicating

We all know that being a business owner, senior director can be a lonely place.

So why not share your plans and actions either with a trusted friend, partner, business associate, coach or mentor?

Having a sounding board will help you distil and sense check your plans and will increase your success rate even further.

By bouncing ideas off each other you add another dimension to the process and having a confidant will provide you a safety net for when the going gets tough.

3. Share responsibility

Chances are you can't achieve your goal on your own!

So get your staff involved, share your vision and plans; get their ideas and commitment to help you.

This will improve your goal's success rate even further.

Give staff ownership through holding structured meetings, delegating tasks clearly and putting a time frame on expectations.

One positive output will be creating increased time for you to be more strategic. One of my clients obtained 18 per cent improvement in sales and five per cent improvement in gross margin in one department within three months after we held a staff communication session.

The good news is one year on, the business improvements have continued.

Sales revenues are up 33 per cent on the previous year and margins have improved too!

The business owner also went on holiday for two weeks in March, so guess what he’s planning to do more of?

4. Continually learn, adapt and follow up

The next step is key. You need to embed the right behaviours by regularly measuring performance based on any agreed actions.

Block off time, a minimum of three hours per week, to analyse, reflect, learn and adapt actions based on KPI measures (hard data) and qualitative feedback (soft data).

Then continually communicate any adjustments clearly to tackle current challenges or exploit opportunities further.

This may be a difficult task to apply and secure, however don’t just stop and give up, as you don’t want to go back to where you were before!

Drive, tenacity and momentum are the main drivers of change and making time to “work on your business” and “sticking at it” will improve your success rate even further.

“It’s a marathon and not a sprint”

5. Change - starts with you

That’s all well and good I hear you say, but what’s the main difference to a higher success rate?

The most successful business owners I have worked with do all the above, but also add one more activity.

They don’t just review actions with their staff and get their commitment. They also send a report of their own activities with monthly business KPIs and forecast to me, usually without being chased.

This is about accountability and taking responsibility for your own actions. ie applying change in your behaviours and your way of working.

For change to be real though, it needs to be observed (actions) and heard (through vocabulary used) in the working environment.

Why not try a small, positive change next week and adapt your behaviour in the working environment?

Maybe you’ll notice the behaviours of the people around you change positively too. All this may sound easy but you’re not likely to achieve this on your own.
So ensure you create a support network for yourself; find yourself a trusted friend, business associate, mentor or coach.

The research Dr Gail Mathews of Dominican University suggests you can achieve a 76 per cent success rate* following these principles.

Or in reverse, reduce the chances of failure to 24 per cent.
Please note: This isn’t a promotion for Business Doctors services, or to justify the added value of having a business coach or mentor!

Take some time to look into the reasons behind the success of some of the greatest business people around, such as Walt Disney, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Roger Dyson and Richard Branson.

It is worth spending your time reading or listening to their stories.
You will discover many successful people follow these principles.

Many of them have experienced failure in the past too, but those that got back up, dusted themselves down and tackled their goals with a new vigour and a structured approach have tended to achieve their goals.

If now is not the time, then when is? Well, there's no time like now to pick a life-changing goal and announce it to the world? Go on!

Then select and work with a group of like-minded people and you never know, your dreams may just come true.

If you are looking to review or grow your business, Business Doctors Cumbria offers an initial free business health check and can support and help you to establish a clear vision on the steps to fulfil your aspirations.

For further information, please contact Peter Fleming 0845 163 1490 or 07966 686112 or email .