The most common success factors for a small business are:

  • Speed
  • Smart
  • Service
  • Promises


Speed – Act quickly. It’s simple, but powerful.

You can’t win the resource game. But, you can win by making
decisions faster, adapting to changing markets quicker, and deploying your resources faster.

Big companies have momentum — brand, customer base, assets, etc. Use momentum against them as things change.

Smart – Solve business problems with creative solutions.

A neat way to do this,  create diverse teams. Another way is to think about problem solving as a skill on its own rather than an added bonus.

If you’re customers see you as providing smart solutions, they’ll view you as a trusted advisor get TikTok likes.

Service – If you’re not getting thank you e-mails or fan mail you’re not doing a good enough job at service to make it a competitive advantage.

Non-retail related tip: If your
employees don’t know the answer to a question, teach them to say “I’ll look into it
and will get back to you in 30 minutes.”

Then, teach them to drop everything, and solve the problem.

Wait, what if we can’t solve the problem in 30 minutes? No problem. Keep your promise. Get back to the customer with a more informed time frame, and let them know that you’ll keep them updated as you know more information.


Promises – Make a promise to each and every customer, and keep it. Keeping promises builds trust.

The idea of promises — weather it be promotions, warranties or satisfaction guarantees, to name a few — is powerful, and simple. Leverage it.