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Ten Secrets of Success in Business

29th December 2008

Some people seem to have the Midas touch when it comes to business. That is certainly true of Kerrie Keeling, founder of the construction company, A Woman's Touch. Here, Kerrie and nine other entrepreneurs share their top tips for success.

Recruit sensibly
"When recruiting, don't go for people who are like you. Human nature mean they'll probably be the most attractive candidates to you when you're interviewing, but it's important to have a variety of styles and personality traits and to fill in the gaps in your own capabilities."

Kerrie Keeling, A Woman's Touch managing director

Create a watertight concept
"A strong idea that drives your brand is essential. Your identity must come from the core idea, and not just be nice to look at. It is what you become 'famous for' and must embrace the personality of the brand."

Michael Nearhos, Interbrand director of brand strategy

Get expert advice
"Get a mentor or two - ideally people who have run a similar business, who have been through the pitfalls and can help you avoid them. They are absolutely invaluable. Once you've been successful, you'll probably want to give some mentoring back."

Rob Wood, Music Concierge creative director and founder

Keep marketing customer-focused
"A sound marketing plan is important. The first rule of marketing is to look at what's in it for the customers, not what in it for me. It's all about providing people with useful information that's relevant entertaining."

Paul Kemp-Robertson, Contagious magazine editorial director

Understand the competition
"Find out what the competition's doing, who they are, and understand your industry. Identify what your USP is. From the very beginning, the big lesson has been to trust my own instincts and believe in myself. To follow your gut instinct is so important."

Sanchita Saha, CitySocialising owner

Invest in relationships
"The key is to establish relationships, whether or not you end up doing business with them. Down the line, it usually pays off. Being nice to people can lead to greater things. Money is not the only currency for business."

Fiona Veitch Smith, Crafty Writer owner

The customer is king... or queen
"Treat the customer like you would treat your mother. If their concern is genuine, then deal with it in a courteous, polite (and hellishly quick!) manner. We once had the order where everything that could go wrong did go wrong. At no time was the customer kept uninformed or waiting and in the end, when both sides gave up, the customer was still happy and sent a lovely email saying she would be back and also tell her friends."

Lyn Hill, Hedgepig owner

Make online a priority
"Kick-starting a new business is always the biggest challenge, as you have to compete with the established market leaders. Building up an online presence is a must."

David Bamford, Symphony Music owner

The devil's in the detail
"Don't make people spend money in order to contact you for customer enquiries/service with 0870 numbers. An 0800, terrestrial phone number or an 0845 creates instant goodwill especially in the current economic environment and will set you apart from your competitors. Simple actions like this always end up being the most effective traffic drivers."

Alexia Inge, PR and brand director Cult Beauty

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