There are no magical solutions for success and it isn’t something that comes pre-made in a box, it requires a unique blend of innovation and determination.

The definition of success varies among CEOs, whether it’s working towards an acquisition, IPO, or growth within the company. In my 20 years of working alongside these leaders I’ve discovered common characteristics that separate the successful from those that fall short.

Below is a list of the top 5 qualities that successful leaders possess:
1. Maintains focus on the company goal and communicates it to stakeholders
2. Meets with customers and can articulate customer needs, challenges and business goals
3. On top of industry trends – an avid reader
4. Hires strong management teams and supports their decisions
5. Aware of operational details, however, not involved with them

Supporting the Vision
Vision is what keeps a company growing while the market evolves. As the head of a company, a great CEO understands that they are the figurehead of the organization and the compass the company depends on for guidance and inspiration.

Putting Customers on Top
Your game-changing product doesn’t mean much if you don’t have a customer base. As the CEO you must address how the solution meets the needs and challenges of the customers, rather than listing the general information.

Customer’s positioning and messaging will provide an endless supply of anecdotal situations to share with stakeholders, creating a better product and an in-depth understanding of the customer requirements for a successful business relationship.

Staying Ahead of the Curve
A successful CEO knows not only what is happening within the company, but in the industry as well. Becoming a veracious reader will allow the CEO to identify future trends and act on them accordingly. Not only are opportunities outlined and logged, but potential threats are detected and dealt with accordingly. The CEO must determine which changes will have long-term impact and which are merely fads with little real value.

Creating the Perfect Blend
Of course, the CEO has a lot of responsibility, but they also have a team that ensures the fluidity of progress within the company. The management team must be a base of qualified individuals to run each of their own areas.

Quality managers know how to mentor and acknowledge the accomplishments of their own staff in order to keep them motivated, involved and on track to meet the business goals of the company. Without strength in each area there is no company.

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen
While it is important for the CEO to stay “plugged in” to the day-to-day activities of the company, the smartest CEOs avoid the temptation of micromanaging the most minute of details. Instead they maintain a highly trained management team that is fully capable of handling these tasks. This enables the CEO to remain focused on the primary duties of increasing revenues and meeting the goals identified in the vision.

If you have a great idea and are looking to start a company, keep these five key elements in mind. You may be able to get by with three out of five, but five out of five will ensure your success.