What is clear is that a good reputation and happy customers are paramount for success, particularly when times are tough. When asked what factor most represents a successful business, more than two fifths of the respondents (43%) said a “good reputation,” with just over a quarter (27%) saying “happy customers,” with a fifth (19%) attributing success to achieving high profits.
A healthy economy in 2009 was seen as key to future success. More than half of the businesses surveyed (56%) said that a stronger economy was the most important factor, with a fifth (21%) of respondents picking the age old gripe of less red tape as the one thing that would most improve their business. Surprisingly less than one tenth (9%) said they would invest in better trained staff to improve their business by 2009.
On the positive side, over one tenth (12%) of the businesses polled believe they are more driven as a result of the harsher economic conditions. The credit crunch has helped improve some businesses who said they have gained more customer understanding (7%), more experience (6%) and become more innovative (5%) to see them through the downturn.
Drive was seen as the most vital personal quality to run a successful business (28%). This was followed closely by knowledge (25%) and passion (21%). Only a small handful of organisations (3%) said education was an important personal quality for success, marginally above ruthlessness (2%).
Commenting on the findings from the latest Orange SMS Business Jury Martin Lyne, director of small and medium enterprise, Orange Business said: “This is a great insight into the current mindset of Britain’s businesses during these difficult economic times. It’s hugely encouraging to see the value placed on good reputation and customer satisfaction. There is also a great resolve and fighting spirit among the owners and managers of Britain’s smaller businesses. With the hope of a stronger economy, we can look to put the great back into Britain as a place for running a business.”
As to which company or brand sets the gold standard as an example of a successful British businesses, just under half (47%) of those surveyed chose Tesco, 13% chose M&S, 12% chose Dyson, 10% chose the BBC, 3% chose BA and perhaps unsurprisingly given the recent banking collapse only 1% picked Barclays.