Is your business successful and how do you measure success?

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Glenn is a reader and regular commenter on Tamebay and sometimes he writes for us, sharing his experiences as an ecommerce trader. Today he asks what does success mean for you?

SuccessI have been successfully selling online for over 7 years, but my definition of success might be different to other sellers.

Profit has to be included in any measure but is it the primary consideration? Prior to selling full time I worked in a highly paid job earning considerable more than I do now but the stress of the job and the commuting was killing me. So although money makes the world go around and must be considered when reviewing success, for me it is not the most important consideration.

Success for me includes having just one telephone in our office and receiving less than 10 calls a day. There was a time when I would be on one phone with calls stacked up on other lines.

Being my own boss and being responsible for my own mistakes rather that consistently resolving those of my supervisors who I had previously warned feels good. We have all experienced the type who has little knowledge, skill or experience but by some quirk of fate is your supervisor and half your day is spent on damage control.

A twenty minute pleasant drive to our office opposed to a 90 minutes drive and tube train commute to central London. Which would you pick?

Taking a day off because you are feeling unwell, or just feel like it and not having to call the office to justify not coming in. Better still not having to listen to some idiot conduct a return to work interview.

No more forced attendance at pointless meetings where the uninformed drone on about a subject they know nothing about and idiots asking pointless questions just to get their voice heard.

No more arguing as to whose turn it is to make the tea and no collection boxes being passed around because some guy or girl you have never heard of is leaving.

Our turnover and profit margin is alright, nothing brilliant but I’m happy with it. But for me success is measured in contentment and not sterling.

6 Responses

  1. Nice lifestyle business by the sounds of it.

    Still there is family to raise, mortgage and bills to pay, staff to keep so pressure does mount up and money is required, it is all about nett profit

  2. a thousand times more stress working for yourself you can never shut the door

  3. I understand the pressures of family, mortgages and bills. (Been there, done that.)

    If I could afford to run a lifestyle business I would sell books, which I have always loved, but having first started online selling with books I know that I couldn’t make enough to live the lifestyle I want.

    Our business runs premises, pays VAT and corporation tax and is a business first and foremost. I could employ staff and grow the business, but I choose not to do so. The extra net profit from growth would necessitate more time and effort. Indeed I could grow and grow the business year on year until I peg out, but I don’t want to. My point is money is very nice, and we all have bills to pay, but there came a point when I thought to myself “Do I really need to earn £xxx more” or would I rather take life a bit easier.

    I have only one stressful role within the business and that is my end of year accounts. I’m an Amazon FBA seller and only went for FBA because apart from the occasional customer email, Amazon takes a big chunk of grief away from me.

  4. Very simple, success is a 400% margin. That pays the bills. Just like many high street retailers!!

    May shock many sellers but thats reality and I don’t work for the purpose of paying my accountant, phone, tax man, etc….

    Can’t speak for others but I’m not a charity. 400% ROI is what I aim for and generally achieve, but on a bad flip (and I mean a very bad day) its 200%. Seriously, it’s never less unless I screw up.

  5. success is doing as little as possible for as much as possible lol

    unfortunately I seem to be doing more for less …just waiting on the day its not viable and ebay will be kicked to the kirb

  6. Money does come into it – I’d like to earn more than the shift manager at McDonalds. I don’t want (and can’t afford) to run a “hobby business”.

    I have tried two ideas and not been satisfied with the return. I’m on my third idea – in a sense it feels like a new business.

    Not there yet, but I’ve learned a lot. My social life has taken a dive, alas.


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