Is there a formula for success? Maybe…


I am often asked what is the most important component of business success? Is it the entrepreneur, or the business model, or what? Picking winners is a vital component in business acceleration and, so, pondering these questions is something that is very dear to my heart, and important to understand and master if we are to succeed as a business acceleration partner. After more than ten years and the review of thousands of businesses, there are certain things that stick out and patterns that we have recognised. 

Firstly, the entrepreneur, driver or “jockey” is crucial. Leaders set the pace of success, control the will to win and determine the direction of the business. A mediocre leader can only ever deliver mediocre results.

However, there are many different types of leaders! I look for three characteristics: an unstoppable passion for the purpose of the business, especially when this is combined with a desire to serve, an agreeable nature that builds trust and attracts people, partners and clients, and an unrelenting resilience or grit – the determination and willpower to win no matter the challenge.

Robin Sharma loves this quote: “Genius is less about genetics and more about the daily habits that you practice.” In other words, success is more about application, practice and constant driving of results than sitting back and expecting a brilliant idea or concept to “sell itself”.

Secondly, the business model is very important. Whilst there are certain guidelines one can establish there isn’t a simple linear formula or business roadmap to follow and be equally successful. In my experience business is less like baking bread and more like composing music or dancingEven in the formulaic process of franchising not every franchisee is equally successful. So, get the model right, but be willing to constantly review and refine it. 

And lastly the market. It’s important that there is a gap in the market, but also that there is a market in the gap. This means that people must both want and be willing and able to pay for your services. Knowing your market, choosing one with a long runway and remaining agile and in touch to adjust to changing demand is critical to long-term success. 

If you are a success junkie like me then this month’s edition has fabulous content for you. I loved the autobiography Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, the founder of Nike. It reads like a thriller and has all the highs and lows of the entrepreneur’s journey.   

Want to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee? Find out what boxing great Muhammad Ali did to ensure success before he stepped into the ring. If you are in a crowded marketplace, read how entrepreneur Thabo Tabohane was creative and got his business noticed. 

You will be inspired by the stories five South African entrepreneurs who started their businesses with nothing. It makes you realise that you, too, could realise your dream.

The future is looking so bright! Are you ready?