At ROLL, we've seen a lot of businesses come and go. Big and small, complicated and simple, start-ups and established companies, successful and struggling.

The nature of our business means we get unique insight into how these businesses are run – we talk to our clients about how their businesses work, what helps, what doesn’t, and what needs to change. We think this gives us a pretty good grasp on business success, at least from an internal processes perspective.

Of course, every business is different, and something that works well for one may be detrimental for another, but there are some factors that we see over and over again in companies that go on to succeed.

Here’s what we think makes the difference:

1: Strategic planning

It sounds obvious, but most successful businesses start with a solid strategic plan or roadmap for growth. You do hear about businesses that start organically and go on to achieve great success, but these tend to be the exception, rather than the rule.

The good news is, it’s never too late to establish a strong strategic plan. If you’re new to business or working in a new area, this is a good time to bring in outside experts to make sure you’re on the right track. A mediator or business coach can give you valuable insight, help you set achievable goals and keep you accountable and on track.

2: Systems and processes

Many small businesses start with a patchwork of systems and processes that may work for one or two people, but tend to slow things down as the business grows. For example, using email to manage customer enquiries might work when you’re a one person business, but it gets tricky with more staff – making it more likely for customers to fall through the cracks.

Putting good systems in place, recording key processes, and making sure they are embedded into your team is essential if you want to maximise growth. It may be time consuming and expensive, but when the consequence is losing customers as a result of ineffective systems, it will be well worth the effort.

3: The right tools for the job

Investing in the right software ties in to systems and processes. Processes that you could do manually at first tend to become unwieldy as your business grows. This includes things like payroll and billing, timesheets and quoting – all easy to do when you have a couple of customers a week, but more difficult when the orders start pouring in.

This is where systems like Roll and other business management software come in. It’s important to do your research and make sure you’re getting the functionality you need from any new software – you don’t want to invest in something if you don’t get the results. We've shared our top tips on that topic here. With the right software, you should be able to automate many key processes, so you and your team can focus on the important stuff.

4: Data-driven decision making

Making big decisions is one of the toughest parts of running a business. It’s easy to question your own thinking when you have to make choices that will affect your business and the people who work for you.

Access to accurate, up-to-date data is one way to make this easier. With good recording and data, you’ll be aware of exactly how much revenue you’re bringing in, how much you’re spending every month, how much work you’re gaining (or losing), how much time your staff are spending on each job, how long your customers are waiting for your services or products – the information you can gain is almost endless. This comes from good internal processes and recording, which in turn comes from using software systems like ROLL.

When you have the data you need at your fingertips and full visibility across your business, you’re more likely to make good decisions about the future of your business.

5: Adaptability, agility and a growth mindset

In this fast moving, ever-changing world, the ability to adapt is incredibly valuable. Successful businesses are those that see opportunities in new technology, rather than seeing them as a threat. They get excited about new ideas. They’re able to use change to their advantage, and find new ways of doing things when the old ones are no longer effective.

Of course, there is value in stability and tradition, but it needs to be balanced out by adaptability and an open mind. In fact, we think this might be the most important factor for business success.

Looking for new ways to make your business more successful? Click here to try ROLL and test out how we can help you achieve better visibility and business growth.

ROLL is the simplest way to manage your business and projects.