That Single Thing That Makes Some Companies More Successful Than Others

I get asked daily, what’s the single thing that makes the most difference in a company's profitability? 

I spent a lot of time analyzing this question and trying to figure it out for many years.  I have seen companies that sell or produce the exact same product be wildly successful, while the other a complete bust.

So what makes the difference?

It’s the people.  A single person in an organization can make all of the difference for a company’s success or failure.  Moreover, it’s the team.  As a group, what is the combined knowledge, how well do they work together, how much can they accomplish in a given amount of time.  Let’s break down what makes one team better than another.

Hard Work / Dedication

I genuinely believe it’s working when you don’t want to work that makes the difference.  The late night work or the email reply when you have other things you could be doing.  The sacrifices you’re making for the WIN!  I realize this isn’t always possible, but for the most part successful teams work more than 40 hours a week and the work they get done is super productive.  They know and understand the vision, they live by the values, they truly work for a purpose.  These are the people that aren’t showing up to clock in and out for a paycheck, but they have a genuine interest in the company and their own success.   They want more for the team.   


Not every position requires a highly educated person, but in many speciality trades an education goes a long way.  Most people don’t hire lawyers without a law degree or doctors who haven’t been to medical school — yikes, can you imagine?  People who are experienced and educated are more efficient and solve problems on a higher level.  If you personally demand the best, put a team together who can provide the best.  These are highly skilled professionals who know what to do and how to do it. 


Compensation comes in many different forms, but the plain fact of the matters is you can’t get good people without paying them a good wage.  I am not talking about overpaying under performing people, but I’m talking about paying people what they are worth.  If someone is doing a good job, make sure they get their fair share.  Benefits like 401(k), health insurance, allowances for gym memberships, and other perks go a long way when saying thank you for your hard work.  Cutting salaries or hiring lower paid people to save a few dollars here and there usually have an opposite effect.  That is only a short-term gain.  Business is almost always about the people.  Good people demand higher salaries.   

Customer Focused

In the 21st century, people do business with people they trust and enjoy working with.  These people who bought into the vision, are appreciated, and paid well are more likely to serve their customers well.  They are often happier in the workplace and that happiness overflows and shines in their customer interactions.  

What I am saying here is that hard work + expertise + compensation + client satisfaction = bigger success.  You get what you pay for whether you’re buyer or the seller.  Take the risk and build the dream team and watch them make magic happen (within reason and your means, of course).  “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie

Ashley Altum, CPA

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