How To Succeed In Business Like The Greatest Minds Did

Learning from others is one of the best paths to success. But with all the books, articles, and stories that have been written on how to succeed in business, it can be hard to cut everything down to a few simple, actionable steps.

Business is a broad subject, and being good at it takes a remarkable combination of technical and personal skills. Regardless, looking at all that’s been said, there are a few qualities, traits, and strategies that all successful entrepreneurs have in common. I’ll share them with you here, along with several useful examples, to help your business thrive.


What is success?

Before you attempt to “succeed in business,” you need to understand what success is.

Can it even be defined? Most people’s perception of the word differs according to what inspires them, what gets their blood running, and what gives them contentment.

It’s entirely meaningless to have tons of money if being rich is not something you value.

For some individuals, success means winning the recognition of everyone in their professional circle. Whereas for others, it’s not enough – they want to be world-famous.

Then some people don’t want recognition at all. They love their jobs and quickly shrug off any recognition colleagues may award them.

There are so many different ways to define success, and they’re all okay if, in the end, you can say, “Yes, I am happy.” and “I’d love to do this again tomorrow.”

So, your success as an entrepreneur/business owner should come from something that (really) motivates you.

For instance, your dear sister died in a car accident (hypothetically speaking), now you want to develop safe cars, so there are no more road accidents – that’s your reason, your motivation.


Why businesses fail

One of the main reasons why people don’t start businesses of their own is that they’re scared they’ll lose their life-savings, and for good reason. 99% of all companies started by people without business experience don’t make it past the first two or three years.

It’s because they don’t know how to succeed in business. Many have splendid ideas for products or services, but they’re ignorant of the finer details needed to stay afloat.


How does a business succeed?



Interestingly, 80% of business created by experienced business people succeed. How is this possible? Experienced business people know how to get things done.

They know how to negotiate the best deals, raise money, and secure leases. They also know the most effective sales and marketing techniques.

Experience is the main point here. If you want to succeed, you’ll need it.



Over 95% of the businesses that collapse in America do so because of “managerial incompetence.” It’s when the people managing the business lack sufficient expertise.

The most common failures are in sales and marketing.  About 50 percent of businesses fail because they can’t sell enough products or services; they rarely fail when there are high levels of revenue and sales.


What skills do you need to succeed?


Critical thinking

how to succeed in business

Whenever you question claims, assumptions, and viewpoints instead of assuming they’re valid, you’re thinking critically. It’s essential to make the right decisions, as it’s the key to success in just about everything, and you’ll need it if you want to learn how to succeed in business.

Unfortunately, there has been a general decline in people’s ability to think critically. The world we live in today is far different from what it was a decade or so ago. There is so much information that it’s become hard to question what’s right and what isn’t.

You can’t let yourself go down that path if you want to succeed. So, question everything around you.  Pay close attention to those who challenge your beliefs.

Resist the temptation to look at things in black and white. Learn to look at the world as it really is, with all its nuances.


Let’s have an example

Below is an excerpt from the biography “Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader.”

Steve had his own misgivings about Toy Story’s commercial potential, mainly based upon what he was hearing from Disney’s marketers. “Disney came to do a big presentation to us about the marketing,” remembers Lasseter. “They told us they had a big promotional plan with Sears. Steve looks around the room and goes, ‘Has anybody in this room been into a Sears lately? Anybody.’ No one raises a hand. ‘Then why are we making a deal with Sears? Why are we not going for products we like? Can’t we be doing a deal with Rolex? Sony high-end audio equipment?’ And their answer was basically, ‘Um, um, this is what we do!’ He poked holes in every one of their ideas. He was just so logical. Why associate ourselves with products we can’t stand?” (In the end, the most prominent sponsor would turn out to be Burger King).

It’s easy to argue that anyone could have pointed this out. However, no one saw it until Jobs got up and asked the questions. Critical thinking is a skill that’s worth billions of dollars. But most people don’t think this way. Jobs always challenged things and criticized, and it helped him immensely.

The lesson here is that you should be willing to think of and voice criticism if you want to know how to succeed in business; it will keep you from making costly (but unnecessary) mistakes.


Focus and discipline

Focus and DisciplineLearning how to succeed in business takes focus and discipline. But, sometimes, even the most dedicated people (who should know better) sit down at work only to find that a few tweets and texts later, most of the day is gone, but all the work remains – It happens to the best of us.

Focus and discipline have always been crucial prerequisites for success in just about any field, but with all the distractions that plague modern life, it’s becoming harder and harder to do that.

You need to learn how to block out the noise and focus on what really matters. You can read few helpful books (or listen to, with an audible subscription) to help improve your personal skills. They’re a great help, of course, but it will take commitment to get results. If you are distracted and too undisciplined to focus on what matters, you won’t get anything done.


Cash flow management

cash flow managementYou must pay your bills. Failure to do so leaves you two options: shut down the business or raise more capital. Closing business is obviously undesirable, but raising money comes at a cost; either diluted stock or loss of control.

Most companies in this situation will look for financing to pay staff without sales, making them unsustainable.

Try something different start small, provide excellent service, and use your revenue to drive growth. You could also establish strategic partnerships with buyers and suppliers. Vendors who respect you will give you credit on friendly terms that you can meet, mainly if they believe your enterprise will grow with their help. Buyers will pay cash for wholesale discounts.  It takes lots of hard work but it’s the best approach to learning how to succeed in business.

Human resource management

HR managementArguably one of the most critical skills you need to succeed in business is hiring the right talent. Even if you get suitable hires, you’ll still have to coach, encourage, and incentivize your employees to do their best. It’s a lot to do, but it’s necessary. You’ll also need to become an effective leader. Your ability to motivate employees to achieve company goals largely depends on your ability to win their loyalty.

Figuring out and implementing an effective compensation system, for example, can take years of trial and error. It helps to start by offering bonuses for profitability, growth, and sales.

Get your team to agree on the KPIs and how their roles contribute. Then, offer a regular bonus irrespective of their Job, so they feel they’re on the same team. This will build a positive company culture.

Distribution management

how to succeed in businessYou need to get your product/service to the market. This often requires multiple levels of distribution before it reaches your final customer. This is an essential skill, especially for producers.

They tend to think only about production and generally believe that their product will sell if it’s good and priced the right way.

All your distributors want to know is the specific benefit of carrying your product. Their sales executives want to understand how working with you will improve their numbers. Their sales representatives want to know what’s in it for them. Retailers will want to know how fast your product returns.

Besides your final consumer, no one cares about price and quality. Everyone in your distribution chain has needs you’ll need to satisfy before you.


How to build a successful business


Identify opportunity

You’ll need to innovate and continuously seek new growth opportunities.

Here are a few pointers;


Listen to past leads and potential clients.

What does your target market want or need? What frustrates them with your industry? Do they have objections to the products or services you offer?


Study your competitors

Do a competitive analysis to understand what other players in your niche are doing, and more importantly, not doing-

Where are they failing? What are they getting right? What would make customers choose them over you? Studying your competitors will help you find critical opportunities to grow your market and develop competitive products or services.


Study industry trends and insights

Most successful businesses thrive because their founders studied the market and capitalized on emerging trends. The companies that fail to do so are doomed to failure. We’ve seen it happen to household names like radio Shack and Kodak. These seemingly untouchable businesses are undone by changing times, market trends, and the stubborn refusal to innovate.

Then there are companies like Apple. While the whole world was lumbering along with room-size computers, Apple’s creator – Steve Jobs was hard at work building one that could sit on a desk.

At the time, everyone was excited over CDs that could play an hour of music on devices the size of a bento box; Jobs was on a mission to fit entire albums onto a chocolate bar-sized gadget. While his competitors focused on small grubby keypads and even smaller screens, he wagered that they’d prefer something different – even before they knew it.

The lesson here is that Jobs understood his market and used his knowledge to anticipate what consumers would want.

He understood technology, what it could do. He also understood its consumers and their deepest desires.

While everyone else was focused on the present, he had a near-perfect understanding of how market forces and social trends impacting the world around him. His vision is one of the biggest reasons for Apple’s continued success.

Obviously, Steve Jobs was one of a kind, and you can’t be him. But you can learn to study the changes around you and capitalize on the opportunities to grow. Whether its cryptocurrency, affiliate marketing, or even public speaking, there are plenty of lucrative opportunities you can exploit


How to capitalize on market trends

How will technology affect or change your product/service?

Although Jobs’ biggest skill was product design, not engineering, he was always quick to see how new technologies could improve existing products or give rise to new ones. From zoom touchscreens to retina displays, Apple has a gift for using the latest technologies to improve user experience. Competitors must often struggle to keep up.

There’s a lesson in here, too, for the aspiring entrepreneur. Evaluate your product/service regularly to identify opportunities for how technology can improve your customers’/clients’ experience and enable them to you deliver better. If you don’t, someone else will.


Expect failure, and thrive on it.

It is not enough to be tough and get over failure.

If you want to know how to succeed in business, you’ll need to learn to positively grow/benefit from them. Steve Jobs understood this fact better than anyone else.

In the mid-1980s, Jobs was harshly ousted from the company he had started. Jobs sold all his stock – 11% of the company, leaving just a single share. These weren’t the actions of a man who planned to return. It seemed like he was gone for good.

It’s hard to picture what it must have felt like for a man who considered himself a genius to be fired from his own company.  To make matters worse, Apple’s shares jumped nearly 7% with the announcement of his exit.

Jobs quickly devoted himself to a new project called neXT, a high-end workstation for colleges and universities. But his product went on the market too late. Sure, it had some great features, but it came out at about twice the price the customers had been promised.

NeXT was a complete failure, but it did serve a critical function. It distracted him from his failures at Apple and kept him in the game.

Jobs was then drawn to computer animation, another learning experience. He had heavily invested in Pixar, whose primary offering was the Pixar image computer for Animators and graphics designers on leaving Apple.

By 1991, it too seemed like it was doomed to fail too. It could not sell enough of its expensive products or invent one for the new mass market.


Then things started to change.

That same year, Disney’s bosses tried to lure one of Pixar’s best animators (Lasseter). But Lasseter, who was Job’s friend, said no. Then Disney tried to get Pixar to agree to a deal that granted it exclusive rights to the latter’s animation technology. After intense talks, both parties reached an agreement. Disney would bank-roll and own the first new movie they worked on, along with its characters. And the incredibly successful toy story franchise was born.

Toy story was an irrefutable success, praised by critics, viewers, and Pixar’s new partners. Jobs’ shares in the company, worth little before 1991, grew to 1.2 billion dollars.

Following Pixar’s success, Jobs set his sights on a return to the company that fired him. Job’s persuaded an ailing Apple to buy his NeXT as the price for his return. Then, in 1997, as the company edged closer to bankruptcy, the board begged him to take charge – The rest is history.


There’s a method here for how to succeed in business, just as Jobs did.

  • Take risks
  • Do not fall apart if things don’t work the way you want them to
  • When disaster hits, keep going. You may need to switch gears, but don’t stop.
  • If you can’t keep pursuing your original goal, throw yourself at something else
  • Setbacks are an excellent source of feedback. You may not want them, but you need them, and they’ll come anyway.
  • Use them to make you tougher and more capable of dealing with future hardships. These challenges also serve to make your eventual success more meaningful.
  • Never lose hope: there’s no way to know the future, but you need to trust that things will work out. Remain confident.
  • Develop an intense sense of personal responsibility – your accomplishments will matter, not just to you but to the world.
  • Expect failures to be followed by great happiness – a film that ends in defeat is not a good one. The good news is that you’re writing your story. If the script seems terrible, reject it. Improve it. Let your setbacks be an opportunity for growth.



how to succeed in business

There’s one thing everyone who’s tried to start a business will agree on – it’s not easy. While that may be true, it doesn’t mean success is impossible. You will succeed eventually, provided that you have the right vision and a passion for success.

It can be challenging, but you don’t need to go it alone. Mentorship programs like Inner Circle Mastermind grant you access to a global community of business experts who’ll help you learn how to succeed in business

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