5 Pillars of a Successful Business

5 Pillars of a Successful Business

Published Date: July 25, 2020

Starting a business is more than having a good problem. It involves constantly meeting a need and generating value for the stakeholders. The stakeholders in every business include the customers, employees and the business owner. If you must satisfy the needs of all these stakeholders, there are certain things you need to do. In this article, we will talk about 5 pillars of a successful business. If your desire is to succeed in business, you are on the right page.


Every business starts with the conception of an idea  (solution) or the recognition of a need (problem). This is the very first pillar of a business and the source of its purpose. Businesses that succeed don’t exist for nothing. They exist for a reason. Purpose is your reason for existing as a business and that reason must be clearly defined.

If you venture into the world of business without a clear cut reason, you‘ have already chosen to fail. Also, if you start your business with a wrong reason, you are setting yourself up for failure. So, what is your reason for starting that business? The reason for starting a business has to be more than just making money. Successful businesses are built on purpose not profit.

Purpose is Profitable

  • Purpose, in a simple term, is the impact you are in business to make.
  • The purpose is the change you started a business to create.
  • Purpose is the problem you are in business to solve.
  • The purpose is the big picture behind your business’ existence.
  • Purpose is the value you created a business to add into people lives.

The moment a business fails to satisfy a customer, the business must cease to exist. Your purpose for being in business therefore, is to satisfy all your different stakeholders starting with your customers.

To find this purpose (reason for being), you must begin to think less about yourself but more about your stakeholders. When you satisfy your stakeholders, you are on your way to success.



A successful business begins with a compelling purpose that surpasses the effort of any one person. This then brings up the need to recruit the help of others. People are your greatest asset in business. They are the means through which your purpose is achieved. Without people, your business, no matter how big its purpose, is only a dream. It takes people to fulfill purpose.

However, you need purpose to be able to attract to the right people to your business. Successful businesses pay keen attention to the selection process of employees in order to be able to achieve their purpose. One way of doing this is by recruiting based on the value of the business.

Characteristics of the ‘Right Kind of People’

Below, you will find the characteristics of the right kind of people to have in your organization. This was extracted from management guru, Jim Collins’ latest book “How the Mighty fall”. This is a must read for every business owner.

1. The right people fit with the company’s core values

Great companies build cult-like cultures, where those who do not share the institution’s values find themselves surrounded by antibodies and ejected like a virus. People often ask, “How do we get people to share our core values?” The answer is simple. You don’t. You hire people who already have a predisposition to your core values, and hang on to them!

2. The right people don’t need to be micro-managed

The moment you feel the need to micromanage someone, you might have made a hiring mistake. If you have the right people, you don’t need to spend a lot of time “motivating” or “managing” them. They will be self-motivated and self-disciplined and compulsively driven.

3. The right people understand that they do not have ‘jobs’ but ‘responsibility

Right people grasp the difference between their task list and their true responsibilities. They can complete the statement, “I am the one person ultimately responsible for ….”

4. The right people fulfill their commitments

Disciplined people view commitments as sacred. They do what they say, without complaint. In addition, they take great care in saying what they will do. They are careful never to over commit or to promise what they cannot deliver.

5. The right people are passionate about the company and its work

Nothing great happens without passion, and the right people display remarkable intensity.

6. The right people display ‘window’ and ‘mirror’ maturity

When things go well, the right people point out the window, giving credit to factors other than themselves. They shine the light on other people who contributed to the success and take little credit themselves. Yet when things go awry, they do not blame circumstances or other people for setbacks and failures. They look in the mirror and say, “I’m responsible.”



The fusion of purpose and people creates the perfect environment and motivation needed for business success.  However, this is just the beginning. Another important piece of the pillars of a successful business is having the right process. The perfect environment plus motivation can be harnessed by creating the right processes.

What are Processes?

These are how activities, tasks or work are being done. Creating a process helps to properly align the activities of a company with the central purpose of the business.

Without a structured way of doing things the central purpose of the business may be compromised. To ensure the purpose is achieved, the activities of people must be organized with the right processes.

Examples of processes in a business are:

  • Human Resources – a specific way of finding, hiring, training, and retaining workers
  • Finance – a specific way of sourcing, allocating and managing funds
  • Marketing – a specific way of attracting, retaining and growing profitable customers
  • Production – a specific way of converting resources into finished goods and services


The purpose of a business can only be fulfilled through the creation of a product and in some cases services. These are offered to the customers in order to satisfy them. The creation of a product is the final outcome of aligning people with purpose and organizing work with processes.

Without a product, a business is just expending efforts and money and will never be able to fulfill the purpose for which it exists. Customers don’t buy purpose, people or processes, they buy products and services. Focus on delivering your product better than what your customers can get somewhere else.


The creation of a compelling purpose, the selection of the right people, the establishment of right processes and the creation of the products are all efforts expended in a business.

All of these are considered expenses to achieve one income –profit. Profit is the last pillar of business that guarantees success. It is what empowers your business to fulfill more purpose. Never expect profit until you have the first four pillars of a successful business in place.

Always start with a clear purpose and then attract the right people. If you are just starting out, master these 5 pillars of a successful business.

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This article first appeared on AfricaX.

By: dmess

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