5 Tips for Running a Successful Business

UPDATED: May 8, 2023
PUBLISHED: February 6, 2017

When it comes to success, I’ve always believed in the saying, The length of our life is finite, but its wideness depends on us. This philosophy just means that our purpose is to achieve grand things and widen the scope of our lives in the short time we have.

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The same can be said of any business; every company has control over their level of achievement, but to reach a higher level of success means to lose our fear of failing. No matter how much money or success a company has, that fear is a constant barrier to widening the scale of those achievements.

Here are five tips to help you abandon your fear, grow your opportunities for success, and run a successful business.

1. Make a choice, any choice.

People are constantly changing and, as a result, the world is constantly changing. Running a business in which a lot of time is spent on decision-making and measuring consequences is a waste of resources. It doesn’t do anything but increase anxiety and fear of failure. Even with all of your planning, the winds will change and you’ll be back to worrying again.

Instead, understand that failure is an opportunity, a chance to overcome challenges. Companies that quickly meet problems head-on are better equipped to minimize future errors. Dormancy is the worst possible outcome of any challenge. The only bad decision you can make is to make none.

2. Become the industry, don’t just exist within it.

I call this the “The Green Fluorescent Umbrella” philosophy. Consider that being the best umbrella maker in the world might be difficult to achieve. But being the best green fluorescent umbrella maker is probably much easier, even if it means having to create your own road map to success.

It’s very easy to fall into the temptation of commoditizing a company, fitting it into the existing spectrum in order to chase temporary economic success. But we live in a time of shifting paradigms, so it would be a huge mistake to take advantage of an existing market rather than try to create a new one. Investing in macro goals is the biggest and most important commitment any business can make. Don’t be afraid to create your own lane.

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3. Never hesitate to pivot.

Time has proved that processes can help define companies and give them structure. At the same time, this forces them to work in a determined and systematic fashion. In my opinion, the best process is not having any defined process; instead, remain continuously flexible.

Rather than just focusing on ways to optimize, test and accelerate results, companies should inspire employees to be open to redesigns and encourage them to abandon fear of change, becoming more flexible and unpredictable.

4. Be about more than profit.

As Carl Sagan says in his book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space: “Everything comes down to a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.” This might seem dire, but it’s just a call to widen your scope.

Company objectives should reflect something deeper and perpetual than a profit and loss. They must define a humanistic, societal role where the goals transcend the needs of employees and the company as a whole. This bonds the company in a common cause and creates a unified culture.

Whether it’s an environmental cause or something more personal, if a business commits to objectives that can’t be tackled alone, the only way to transcend is to work together. This redefines the way the employees relate to the company and each other while making any future problems seem manageable. A strong, unified, connected team striving to be better individual people is vital to any business.

5. Don’t fear the void.

The sensation of being at the edge but never really falling is the best way to describe how it feels being fearless of uncertainty in business. It’s a feeling all companies should embrace.

Being aware of the void and possible failure forces us to keep moving forward. It is the driving force convincing every business to take the next step in order to keep gaining momentum and grow. Each step provides the company with needed confidence and comfort with uncertainty, clearing the way toward a more successful future.

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Juan Ciapessoni is co-founder and CCO of The Electric Factory, an award winning innovation company with ties to digital and social campaigns, prototyping, tech product manufacturing and analytics. Juan has given numerous lectures and led seminars focused on interactive behavior, social media and integration of digital, and is a serial entrepreneur in the digital space as the owner of six companies. With over a decade in the digital industry, Juan has launched and executed campaigns for world-renowned brands including Unilever, McDonald's, Ab-Inbev and Kellogg's, among others. Follow him on Facebook and see more at TheElectricFactory.com.