Described by the philosopher Karl Menninger as the state of reaching or achieving an aim or target, success is a broad term. Success is often seen as the overcoming of obstacles or the achievement of some goal. Success can be thought of as the opposite of failure, where failure is viewed as slipping away. The criteria of success can be based on individual perspective or cultural norms and can be relative to a certain frame of mind or objective.
The meaning of success can vary from one individual to another, and even within an individual's lifetime. There are many different measures and formulas that attempt to define success, but the important thing to remember is that there are no "laws" regarding success. To achieve business success, you need to decide what you are hoping to achieve, find out what it takes to get there, and then take the necessary steps.
For some, success may mean financial security. For others, it may mean a successful career, or simply the freedom from day-to-day struggle that comes with being a working mom. Success can be defined in personal terms as something that brings you happiness and fulfillment, and it is not always a financial outcome. Whether your happiness comes from your job, your family life, or your health, you will want to take the time to determine what exactly success means to you.
In the business world, it is important to know what success means. One common measure of success is the level of liquidity one is capable of generating in order to meet their goals. Liquidity is the ability to repay debt when it becomes due. If a company is profitable, the means to generate the funds required to finance its growth are readily available. If there are too many risks or uncertainties with the venture, the potential to generate a significant amount of liquid capital will be limited.
Many owners want to define success based upon return on investment. Liquidity is only a portion of this equation, however. Successful ventures need to have a sound financial base and a plan to achieve the goals in a timely manner. If management does not have a way to measure progress, there is no motivation to change the way things are done.
Another way for owners to assess success is through the eyes of a shareholder. A shareholder may have the best-laid plans for success, but if they do not see a concrete plan to move things forward, it may not mean much to them. As a shareholder, you have the power to compel management to follow through with a plan. If the company has an owner strategy, it is important to understand that this strategy is designed to produce profits, not to simply meet the quarterly objectives of the board of directors.
A third way to measure success is by examining the financial results of the company. The most successful corporations have strong boards of directors and strong boards of business management. This combination allows the company to maximize return on investment and to maximize shareholder value. The cost of public companies must have strong executive leadership skills as well if they are going to be able to successfully execute an owner strategy.
In conclusion, if you are planning to set forth an owner strategy for your family business, it is important to consider what the definition of success really is. Liquidity, return on investment and shareholder value are three areas you can look at to start formulating a plan. Of course, these are not all of the areas that need to be considered. Other areas include the health of the organization, the nature of its products or services and its marketing strategies. The combination of these areas, should be able to provide you with a framework to help you set forth a road map for success.