Small businesses aren’t uncommon in the United States, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to start your own business and see overnight success (or success of any kind). After all, there are so many people and companies to compete with, and while local and regional businesses still exist, the internet makes it possible for small and large businesses alike to sell their products and services online to anyone in the world.

So how can you ensure success as a business owner? Start with these five ingredients.

Have a Plan (but Be Adaptable)

Creating a business plan, no matter how big or small your company is, will help you get started and keep you on track. It will give you an idea of how much money you need to make before your company sees a profit. It will allow you to devise marketing plans as well as identify your target audience.

There’s a reason why people say a business plan is essential, but it’s also important to be adaptable. Study your numbers and see where your sales are going. A new trend, service, or law could change the outlook of your entire business and industry. 

You need to find a healthy balance between not changing up strategies too much (you don’t want to go all-in on every trend) and sticking to your plan. Reminder: Succeeding as a business owner isn’t easy.

Decide on What Kind of Boss You’ll Be 

So many experts will say business owners shouldn’t micromanage too much or other “universal” rules, but the thing is, every person, business, and industry is different. Your industry might require you to micromanage more than other industries, or it might allow you to be less hands-on. 

Some bosses have the ability and personality to be friends (at least in the office) with their employees, while others work best as authority figures. Decide what kind of boss you’ll be by sticking to your strengths and figuring out a managing style that fits your wants, needs, and profession.

Use Resources—They’re Your Friends

Resources and tools are changing the way people do business. There are tools—that you might not even know exist—that can change the way you operate, as well as make the jobs of your employees easier.

As an example, an automatic call distributor is a call center software that makes customer service representatives more productive while improving customer satisfaction—it incorporates skill-based routing so a customer talks to an agent who’s most knowledgeable about a specific topic. A customer won’t have to talk to multiple agents while receiving an answer to his or her question and an agent will be connected to customers who seek their specific expertise and knowledge.

Thanks to resources and tools, smaller companies can operate like large companies, and of course, implement relevant services that will improve the way they do business.

Hire the Right People

Finding the right person for every job can be time-consuming and the salaries of these people can be unaffordable. Luckily, there are many people on this planet and countless professionals in every field.

Many business owners have to wear multiple hats at first, meaning they have to do multiple jobs—from marketing to managing—including jobs they’re not qualified for. When the time is right, it’s important to hire the right people for the departments and jobs you need to fill. It will give you more time and ensure you have a qualified person in every position.

Hiring the right people is one thing, but being the right person yourself is a different story. You can do a people searcher check on yourself to see public information and how people might view you. This is helpful if you want to buy property or go into business with someone. While a potential employee needs to sell himself or herself to you, you also need to sell yourself (and your company) to him or her.

Value Your Customers and Create a Quality Product

There are an unlimited amount of ingredients that go into a successful business. Two of those ingredients are valuing your customers and creating a quality product.

Customers expect good customer service and they also don’t want to buy an inferior product. If either is off, you could lose current and future customers because your customers can find a similar product or service and leave bad reviews. 

Focus on creating the best product or service you can provide and make customer satisfaction a top priority.