Vote on the factor that you think most influences business success

Vote on how to be succesful

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What it takes for entrepreneurs and small business owners to be successful can vary from person to person, and industry to industry. There's no one thing that makes one person succeed and another fail.

But, this is not about everything you need to succeed, this is 'truth gun to the head', pick the single most important contributing factor to success in business.

Cast your vote

Voting is easy. Simply pick one or more of the factors (that you believe are the single most important for success) listed in the table below to share your vote via Twitter. We'll tally up the votes and add the results below as they come in.

1. Come up with a brilliant idea
2. Hire the right people
3. Create a well researched business plan
4. Have a top class, responsive website
5. Offer a fantastic product or service
6. Provide great customer service & support
7. Be a good networker (who you know)
8. Become an authority & expert (what you know)
9. Be a great marketer (PPC, social, content, etc)
10. Other (tweet your own)

Having trouble deciding?

Starting a successful business might rely on any number of critical factors that, if completely absent, guarantee failure.

An example of a crucial factor like this might be a website for an eCommerce store - there's no guarantee that an eCommerce business website with a website will succeed, but you are pretty much guaranteed that it will fail without it.

So is having a website more important than having a great product or service to sell? Maybe it is. There are plenty of shops doing quite well for themselves selling inferior or overpriced goods. Do they rely on excellent marketing to gloss over their other deficits? Maybe they do. So is marketing more important than products?

The point of this vote is not for you to cover all the bases. It's to get an aggregate view of what thousands of entrepreneurs and business people think in general. But, if you really can't decide between two options, vote for both of them.

If you can't find any option that you think is the most important one, then share what you would vote for in the comments below and we'll add it to the list.

Factors contributing to success

I thought I would give a brief overview of how I see each of the factors up for voting, along with a few resources that might be of help in your own business venture.

Come up with a brilliant idea

If you've spent a lot of time pulling your hair out wondering why everyone else seems to be happily working away at growing their business when you can't even come up with an idea, then this article how to find your best business idea will help.

You can also browse our huge list of small business ideas for inspiration.

Create a great business plan

It doesn't matter what type of business you are starting. It's worth looking at a free business plan template that will help guide you in the right direction. Spending time on researching your market, value offering, and other factors that impact your business might prove to be invaluable in the long run.

Have a top class responsive website

For most startups and small business owners who aren't tech savvy and oozing with mad Web design skills, building a website can be a time consuming and expensive ordeal. But, it doesn't have to be that way.

Check out this forum answer on which website builder is the best for SEO? for a list of the top website builders ranked by their search optimization performance for more on how to get started quickly, easily and cheaply.

Offer a fantastic product

How do you really know whether the products you have sourced to sell in your own store are performing better than the competition? It can be difficult to really understand which products are best suited for your clients and which offer the best profitability.

Check out section 6 in the article entitled How to sell on Amazon for some advice on services that can help you understand how competing products are selling via the Amazon marketplace.

Provide great customer service

Here's how I look at the issue:

"Customer service is one of the best marketing channels available to any business"

Not only is customer service a great opportunity to reach out and connect with people who are supporting your business, it is also (often) a chance to take a negative/neutral experience and turn it into a positive one (which hopefully ends in great reviews and testimonials).

You can take a look at some of our top customer service tips for more on how to use it to your advantage.

I'm sure you've got plenty of other ideas and tips on how to be successful as an entrepreneur or small business owner. Share your expertise in the comments below.

A look at the latest trends in business technology

Starting and running a successful small, home or online business these days means that you are going to have to rely on technology to handle most things - if not everything.

There isn't a single aspect of the modern business that doesn't have software, online software, cloud solutions, or innovative hardware and gadgets to save time, streamline processes, maximize efficiency, and save on costs.

The problem, especially for first time business owners, is knowing which technology is the right one for your company, and how to use it effectively to ensure that it provides value and/or good returns.

Tips and advice to save money for small business entrepreneurs. Pic by GotCredit

Starting and running a small business almost inevitably means that money is going to be tight at some stage - often for a prolonged length of time - until th

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Deals & Discounts on Home Office Equipment

Setting up a home office can be quite an expensive exercise.

Here are some great ideas that incorporate free stuff (products and services) in order to generate trust, and improve revenue.

Most consumers like getting free stuff (especially online consumers), so giving away a valuable free offering can help to drive traffic, generate buzz, earn trust, and make money.

This article will give you five great ideas for free product and service offerings that you can integrate into an existing organization or use to help grow a startup.

creating opportunities in life and business

Isn't it frustrating that some people just seem to have that entrepreneurial knack - business opportunities just seem to go their way again and again?

Working from home to make money online

Selling online is getting easier and easier every day, from a technical point of view, because the technology to handle online transactions (like online

Top startups that have used crowdfunding succesfully

Crowdfunding is a relatively novel way for startups and entrepreneurs to raise money to support their fledgling companies - and sometimes it actually works.

Genuine bloggers and businesses use high quality articles to build high page rankings in Google and generate plenty of valuable organic search traffic.

The problem is that the better the content, the more likely it is that others will duplicate, copy, or spin those articles and publish them on their own sites (without permission or attribution).

Most of the time this is not an issue because low quality, article spinning sites generally tend not to rank well in Google search results.

customer relationship management how-to

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is about reaching out to the right people, convincing them to do business with you, and then maintaining and nurturing

Tools and tips on how to source products online

Small retail businesses and eCommerce sites need to consistently choose the best products to sell in order to maximize their profits.

But trying to find this information is not always easy, and there are plenty of "silver bullet" sites (and con men) that will try to make a profit by advising you to stock products that give them commission.

It's far better to be able to do your own research into which products offer the best value for money for your own customers and clients. After all, you know your business best.

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