7 Elements All Successful Businesses Need

  • February 7, 2017
  • by:Serhat Pala

All successful businesses share some common elements. Any business that lacks one or more of these elements is going to have a difficult time succeeding.   

These elements are:

  • Founder(s)
  • Idea
  • Money
  • Team/Employees
  • Mission
  • Culture
  • Process


These are the makers, the creators, the ones that see an opportunity and take action to make it happen. They are the ones that put their hands up because they think they can or they know they have to, the ones that do not give up on their dreams and put things into motion. Let’s be clear about something, though: they might not be the ones that see an idea through to the end. Sometimes, the best thing they can do is step aside when the company needs different leadership. And, unfortunately (for them), sometimes founders are even ousted from their own companies by directors and shareholders.


This is the reason the company exists. It is the light bulb that brightens the founder’s mind and puts them into motion. Without the idea, the company simply does not exist. That’s not to say the idea can’t or won’t change and evolve before it comes to fruition. Also, keep in mind that even an amazing idea doesn’t guarantee success. A lot of hard work goes into that idea before it becomes a success. Microsoft, Apple, Google, Ford, all of these now-iconic brands were just an idea at one time.


Money is not just currency when you’re talking about starting a business. It represents every single resource you need to bring your company to life. From the vision in the founder’s head to a physical location filled with a team of people making that vision a reality, money is the resource that makes it all happen. It can be the number in a checking account, a limit on a line of credit or a favor from the founder’s web developer friend to work for free for a few hours (to save money). No matter how you look at it, money is the ‘resource’ in a founder’s resourcefulness. You don’t have money, you don’t have a business. Period.

Team / Employees

If the founder is the creator, the team and the employees are the disciples. They are the ones who make things happen.

The founder is usually just one person (or a small group of people). Their ability to change the world around them or at large by themselves is limited. Their main ability will be to influence others that can make those changes. The team they have working for them are who they influence directly and, in turn, who make the changes in the world around them.


The mission is the goal, the ultimate destination where the leader wants to take his/her following. It is the change in the world the idea is meant to bring about and what gets your team excited to be working for your company. If the idea is the destination, the mission is the desire to go that destination.

The mission is the declaration of what is important and what will stay important, as long as the desire to get to that destination does not change for the organization. It is what helps the team and the founder prioritize as they face fork-in-the-road decisions.


Culture is what the founder and the team make the company. It is the beliefs and behavior and the unwritten rule book of the company. It is the culture that determines how business transactions are made, how priorities are assessed, and how interactions are handled.

The team and the leaders make the culture together but they don’t control it. Often it is the other way around. It is the culture that controls (or at least strongly influences) the company. And that is exactly why it is the first thing true leaders look at when they want to change the company. It is unwritten, sometimes even unspoken, but it is always present in every corner of the business.


Business process can be formal or informal, but it has to be there for things to get done in any organization.

Process is often what defines the maturity of an organization from infancy to adulthood. As time passes, experiences accumulate and the team develops a set of defined activities and tasks that exist to accomplish organizational goals.

Even though there is often resistance to change for processes, they still change much more frequently than the culture, the mission or the idea. Processes are the first things to be affected by new technology and the last things businesses tend to change when they are trying to become more successful.

There is another element that I didn’t put in the official list because it’s sort of controversial, but I think every successful company has experienced it to some degree: luck (or, if you prefer a fancier sounding word, you can go with serendipity). With so much competition, being in the right place at the right time or meeting the exact right person can give a company a much needed edge.

With the right elements in place (and a little bit of luck) any business has the potential to be a success.

[Photo credits in order: Serge Saint, Anna Hirsch & Richard foster/Flickr]

No Comments

Leave a Comment