20 lessons for business success

I’ve been in business for more than 20 years now, and over that time I’ve learnt a lot of very valuable (and often difficult) lessons for business success. Here are 20 of them:

  1. Cashflow is everything
  2. Growing anything from zero to $10m is going to take at least a decade so make sure you do something that energises you
  3. The business model is more important than what you’re selling
  4. Everything is your fault
  5. Only compete where you have a good chance of being the best, and then do everything you can to be the best
  6. Marketing & sales can fix most business problems
  7. The service is NOT the business – just because you’re good at doing the work, doesn’t mean you’ll be good at doing the business
  8. You’re either growing or shrinking (and if you’re standing still, you’re shrinking)
  9. You can grow profitably if you focus on it
  10. It’s difficult to turn a business around, so try to make the best decisions you can every single day
  11. Speed and quality of execution is everything
  12. There are no rules – only laws
  13. Business growth is one of the most creative pursuits on the planet
  14. Set a standard that you take seriously, and don’t worry about all the small stuff
  15. You don’t need money to make money
  16. It’s all about the third lead / sale – one is luck, two could still be luck, three confirms the process works
  17. The best investment you can make is on education that solves your biggest challenge right now
  18. Only listen to people who have achieved what you want to achieve
  19. Your best people will always move on, so make sure to create an environment where there’s a steady stream of new talent joining the business
  20. It’s hard to make a profit, no matter how much revenue you make – so keep a tight reign on costs as it’s the only lever you have

I’m sure there are more but these were the first 20 that came to mind.

Alex Cleanthous

Alex Cleanthous

Director of Strategy + Innovation | Co-Founder at Webprofits
I co-founded Webprofits in 2006 with the belief that there's always a smarter and better way to do things. We're now a digital growth consultancy with offices in Australia, Singapore, and the United States. I'm passionate about personal and professional growth, and I like to surround myself with people who are as well. I have substantial private board experience, and have successfully launched an IPO.

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I’m the co-founder of Webprofits, investor in a number of different companies, and have successfully launched an IPO. Get access to 95% of my best life hacks.