This question is really subjective as it is totally dependent on what success looks like for you – and that will be different for everyone.

I really believe that your vision has to be yours alone – it can’t be what an accountant, coach or consultant tells you it should be – that never goes well!

But I’ve created my own rule book over the years of what I see as financial success measures and characteristics of a ‘successful’ business, which I want to share with you now.

Profit: What exactly is a ‘good’ profit?

The rule I’ve come up with working with hundreds of companies is that 10% net retained profit after tax and dividends works well. I work a lot with agencies and consulting firms, and they can make anything from 20% – 30%.

Making and retaining net profits builds financial strength into your business each year, which does 4 things:

  1. It helps you build that buffer cash which will protect you if a problem hits you – e.g. a sudden downturn in sales, loss of a big customer, a bad debt or other expected cost
  2. It lets you take advantage of opportunity – e.g. buy a new business, be able to buy in bulk to get a better cost, invest in new equipment or training, or a treat for you!
  3. You should do a ‘fortnightly finance fix‘, when you do bank transfers and payments
  4. It’s a significant driver of the value of your business.


 I have THREE rules about cash:

  1. You have to be able to easily pay all bills as they are due – never late
  2. You should money to pay all your taxes, VAT and corporation
  3. You should have at least 3 months overheads in a separate account as buffer cash

Pay yourself properly:

There’s no point making a good level of retained profit if you don’t pay yourself properly – who are you kidding?

You need to make sure your business model really stacks up and can afford to pay you a proper salary, i.e. what you’d have to pay someone to do your job. Otherwise you’re just subsidising your own business.


Make sure you’re using your business to invest in your pension and you’re never too young to start doing this.

Getting 100% tax relief on this is a no-brainer so make sure your business can afford to fund your pension (no one else is going to).

Don’t assume that you’ll sell one day and not need a pension. Building a valuable business isn’t easy and building a pension as you go gives you a lot more security.

We offer a structured step-by step approach to take any business to where it wants to be financially. Tell us your dreams, we’re ready to help you achieve them.

Book a free 30-minute call with me

If you’re ready to take action and would like to find out more, you can book a free, 30minute call with me. I promise there won’t be any ‘sell’; that’s just not how we operate – just an informal chat to see if I’m the right person to help you.

To book your call, please email Martin at martin@fwordfinance.co.uk and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours.