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Measuring Business Success

Garry Stephensen

Article Author: Garry Stephensen
Position: Managing Director
Read time: 4 mins

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With the aim of conducting research about Australian businesses, NAB engaged research participants to provide insights into what they beleived made a business successful.  The results were surprising!


What makes a business successful?

32% of participants rated high profits as an important measure but this was well behind other things such as good fiscal management (58%), productive staff (49%), positive word of mouth PR (56%), and happy staff (45%). Surprisingly, only 11% of participants ranked large turnover as a measure of success.

What makes a business successful

So if a successful business is not solely one that turns over high profits, what traits do business owners require in order for their business to be a success?

According to participants, successful traits in a business owner included being:

  • prepared to work hard

  • passionate about your product or service

  • equipped to manage difficult customers

  • willing to fail and learn from your failures

  • a life long learner


Contact Lloyd's Business Brokers Melbourne today for up to date business advice.


What makes a Small to Medium Size Business successful?

When surveying participants about the characteristics of successful SMEs specifically, participants provided these intriguing responses:

Measuring SME business success 

It is interesting to note that being a good financial manager was ranked relatively unimportant – sitting at 10th position.

Only 11% of SMEs considered taking a conservative approach to risk as important.  Clearly they viewed risk taking as an important part of taking advantage of opportunities for business growth.


What makes an entrepreneur successful?

According to participants, successful entrepreneurs have a "growth mindset" – being focused on building a enterprise that is scalable or that can be taken to other markets.  

Australians have been found to be quite entrepreneurial. The report "The Lure of Entrepreneurship", released by the NAB Economics in 2017, found that 1 in 3 Australians aspires to have their own business.  Over 60% of SME business owners rate themselves as strong entrepreneurs, and that figure is even higher for upcoming Millennials.


A bright future

NAB's research found that Australian SMEs felt successful and are optimistic about the future. Generally, they are hugely confident about their business prospects.  73% of SME participants felt they've already been successful in business and others beleive they will be able to sell their business for the best price.  Read more: getting the best sale price for your business.

This appears to be strongly correlated to their broader outlook on life since 86% of those who feel successful in business also feel successful in life in general (compared to 75% of the total).

The mindset of a business owner has a significant impact on what they believe and what they focus on. NAB analysed the following data of key mindset groups. The results proved very interesting!

Successful Australian Business-thinkers 



It's clear from the above research, that Australian entrepreneurs and Small to Medium sized businesses have bright outlook for their financial futures, closely linked to the traits held by successful business owners.

If you would like more information from Lloyds Brokers about how you can help your SME to grow and flourish in the Australian marketplace, or how to sell your business, please contact our of our experienced business brokers.


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Managing Director
Business Broker - Karen Dado

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Business Broker - Geoffrey Tulett

Lloyds Corporate Partner - Mergers & Acquisition Specialist
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Business Broker - Kevin L Sutherland

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Business Broker - Dianne Reynolds

Research Director and Corporate Broker




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