- Positively challenging environment,
- Relationships, and
Just as the most successful people are not the brightest nor the most connected nor the ones with the best character, but the ones with a healthy combination of those factors especially ambition. Same with businesses.
The businesses that stagnate often start stagnating from within -- they carve a safety spot for themselves and hibernate. And maybe they are not in a business environment that is very challenging where you either eat others or you get eaten.
As a business man, you need to seek out a good combination of all the factors. Starting first with a super-sized ambition. Get all the internal conditioning right and from start. Then get yourself into an Industry that will challenge you to greater heights. Either by picking a very challenging industry with huge growth potential or by going global (competing with the best in the world). Don't ever ice in.
The reason some businesses grow and others stagnate lies in the combinatory acquisition of those factors.