When you start a business, you hope that it will grow, and ultimately succeed. If you don’t start out with the right mindset and the commitment to work your business for the long haul, however, you may be setting yourself up for failure.

Here are some suggestions to help you build your business for long term success.

  • Create personal relationships with your clients. Building relationships in business does not differ that much from those that exist in your personal life. Personal relationships grow out of having something in common, along with a sense of mutual trust, respect, and support. All of these elements are also required in your professional relationships. Ask your clients about their interests and find some common ground, such as a devotion to the same baseball team or a love for the performing arts. Once your clients can relate to you, a relationship can grow. With that connection, you become more than the owner of a business they frequent, and they become more than just another customer. The result: a loyal client who is likely to recommend you to others.
  • Ask for feedback and use it to improve. You should make it a habit to ask for feedback from your customers, employees, mentors, etc. This can be done in a variety of ways, especially when seeking out feedback from customers. Depending on the type of business, you can create an online or paper survey, speak to them face-to-face, or incorporate it into a courtesy call. After collecting their opinions, reflect upon your findings and use the information to improve. For example, when following up with a customer regarding a recent order, you ask her what she thought about how you handled the sale. The customer’s response is mostly positive, but she does state that she found the online ordering portion of your website difficult to navigate. It might be wise to ask other customers if they had the same issues. If so, take the time to update the site and make the ordering process faster and more convenient. Asking for feedback is not always easy, but it can be an effective way to build your business for the long term.
  • Build value that exceeds what customers pay for. You may or may not have much flexibility in terms of product pricing. What you can control, however, is the value of a product. Show customers how it will solve a problem, how versatile it can be, and what services they will get by patronizing your business. Customers are usually willing to pay a little more for something when the experience of it all exceeds anything they would get elsewhere. What do you have to offer that your competitors don’t? The answer to that question will help you build value into your products and services, as well as setting up your business to prosper for a long time.
  • Do what you are passionate about. You’ll never last in a business doing something you don’t care about. Owning a business takes creative vision, time, and a multitude of other skills to make it flourish. What will drive you to continue if you don’t enjoy what you do? Look deep into yourself when deciding what kind of business to build. Perhaps you’ve always had a flair for cooking and are passionate about eating cleanly and naturally. If that is something that you’ve made a part of your daily life, it would no doubt make for a potentially successful business idea. Our passions motivate us to succeed, so choose something that you love doing.

What else would you include in your recipe for a successful long term business? Please share your ideas below!