As a small business owner, one of your ultimate goals is to be successful. But with so many different definitions of success, it can be hard to tell when you’ve officially achieved success.

The word “success” is ambiguous. What is successful for one may not be successful for another. For some, achieving success comes with the name recognition. Others may define success as being able to do what they love each and every day while many others believe success is determined by the amount of money that is made.

How Do I Measure Success as a Small Business Owner?

My definition of business success might be a bit unexpected. In a world where it seems like every business owner is just looking to take your money, I believe that success means helping others.  When you help others, all measure of other forms of success will follow.

To me, success is defined by your ability and desire to help those around you. Regardless of the products or services you provide, I believe that the main focus of any successful business should be on improving the lives of the people they employ, those of their clients or customers, and their community. If you’re not adding value to your employees, clients, business partners and community, you still have room to grow.

When we think of organizations and companies whose stated goal is to help others, we most often think of non-profits. Small “for-profit” business owners do not have to choose between helping others or running a profitable business. Both are accomplished if the focus is properly adjusted.

I don’t believe this is true. I know it is.  Helping others and achieving profits, outrageous, beyond-your-wildest-dreams profits, can go hand-in-hand.

Why Helping Others Will Lead to Small Business Success

Starting or running a small business is difficult.  Many who venture into the world of entrepreneurship fail; with some only lasting a few years.  When you set out, you must define your purpose, and making money is not enough. I believe that if your goals consider helping others, you will have built in a foundation that will advance your goals exponentially.

Take a moment and answer why you are in business.

Your “why” is the reason you wake up each morning ready to get to work. It is the reason you chose to become an entrepreneur and the reason you want to see your small business succeed. But while your why may include creating a better life for yourself and your family, I believe it should also include creating a better life for others.

We’ve become a world of used car salesmen and get rich quick schemes. With so many people out there looking to make a quick buck, its no wonder clients can be so hesitant to make a purchase. If your “why” is rooted in selfish accomplishments, your audience will notice – and they won’t want to buy from you.  Conversely, if your why involves helping others, that will also be noticed, and those around you will reward you in ways you would never expect.

The concept is simple. People like to purchase from companies they trust. They trust companies who have consistently shown they value their clients and care about helping them make the right purchase. When someone trusts a brand, they will be more loyal. They’ll come back for additional products or services and bring their friends and family – leading to more and more business.

If you root your business goals in helping others fulfill their goals, find the perfect products or services, and solve their problems, they’ll keep coming back to you, for help and advice, and to do business with you.

How Can You Help Others?

A well know business axiom is that people want to do business with those they know, like and trust.

Building trust with clients, establishing strong relationships with employees, clients and your community takes time. There is no quick fix that will make your business instantly trustworthy. If you want to become a successful business owner, you need to put in the time to truly help them.

Answer questions. Give advice. Understand what your employees need, that they have lives outside of their work; understand what clients are looking for; and do your best to provide it to them or help them find it. Understand how your community can benefit from your involvement and get involved.  When you become a go-to resource for information, you will become the first stop when they’re ready to make a purchase.

I offer my thoughts on helping you here.  What I write works for me.  It may not for you.  Nonetheless, if even one thought or idea here does provide benefit to you, then I consider I’ve done a good thing. Through sharing my insights, knowledge, and perspective on the business world and how you can achieve success, I hope to help you.