There’s no business like show business, as the saying goes, however this same expression could be applied to small businesses.

You know all too well that it’s competitive, tough and never-ending when you work as a small business owner or employee. With so much on your to-do-list and a non-stop curiosity of what investments or efforts make the most sense, it never hurts to hear from others about their take on how to achieve small business success. In particular, experts that work directly with small businesses of all kinds – including retailers, restaurants and more – share their valuable insight.

Stay Engaged 

The most important piece of advice I would give to any small business owner is to stay involved and engaged in your industry and your business community. I think of engagement at every level, with your staff (have them all help with marketing & social media efforts), with your customers (I love the idea of an in-store Friday night soiree for you current and potential customers, similar to what the store Revival in Bee Cave Texas does), your community (choose a cause and support it), and in your industry. Don’t discount how important face to face is either. Whenever possible, attend and/or exhibit at appropriate trade shows and events. Staying involved and engaged allows small business owners the opportunity to share best practices, as well as stay on top of what’s hot from both a product and a marketing perspective.”

Camille CandellaMarketing Vice President at Emerald Expositions

Understand Passion Isn’t Enough 

Countless entrepreneurs start small businesses thinking that talent and passion are enough to make them a huge success – even when they have both in abundance. Unfortunately, passion doesn’t pay the bills. Passion is only profitable when small business owners pay attention to their numbers. Knowing their numbers and what those numbers mean gives small business owners three main benefits. First, they allow for course adjustments where needed – otherwise they continue on thinking things are just fine when they’re sailing into a storm. No one starts out planning to run their business by the seat of their pants. Knowing numbers stops that and gives owners control. Second, they keep business owners profit-focused. The numbers allow a business owner to see exactly where a business becomes profitable rather than just an expensive hobby. Third, they are the best barometer to know when you need help. If an owner isn’t sure which numbers to look at or looks at them and wants to immediately run screaming back to the passion – it’s time to get more guidance from an expert. Ignore your numbers, lose your business. Know your numbers, achieve the success you deserve.”

Cathy Donovan Wagner, The RETAILMaven at

Invest in the Right People & Productivity

Invest heavily in people and your resources and technology. Hire the smartest and the best in their respective fields, and provide them with the support they need in order to thrive. But also make sure they fit the corporate culture you desire. We happen to be in technology, but there is not a start up out there that wouldn’t struggle to launch without innovative thinking, a team of top talent, and a corporate culture that enhances productivity.”

Sam Zietz, CEO and Founder of TouchSuite

Pay Attention to Your Online Reputation

It has become increasingly more important for small business owners to make sure they’re being found online and that they’re paying attention to their online reputation. This is especially true when you consider 95% of consumers are turning to the internet to find local businesses, according to a 2013 survey from BrightLocal.”

Morgan Remmers, Yelp’s Senior Manager of Local Business Outreach

Focus on Making a Difference 

Small business owners who set “getting wealthy” as their primary goal almost always falter; many fail. Success comes from doing what you do because you love it. When that dream makes a difference in the lives of others, it keeps their edge honed, their sights high, and their zeal unstoppable. Since every single day as a small business owner is a day you invent, focus on making it a masterpiece. Masterpieces are outcomes, not activities. No one cared that Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling for four years in such an awkward position on his back that it permanently damaged his health. We simply marvel at the result.”

Chip R. Bell, Author of Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences Through Innovative Service

Lean on Data 

Staying close to my numbers with week over week, month over month and year over year percentage change analysis has been one of my core tools for over 10 years. Running these reports and comparing the results gives me great insight into my business helping me to spot and manage both positive and negative trends in revenues and expenses.”

Will Corrente, Founder & Partner of Pet Power, LLC dba Very Important Paws

Leaning on data can help you become successful, but that alone won’t do the trick. Invest in the right people, create a productive work environment and make a difference so that your customers remember you. Know your numbers and don’t be afraid to hire others to help where your strengths don’t shine. Another key takeaway? Be engaged. Without engagement, you simply can’t be successful.


This article was written by Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.