There are a lot of good companies out there.

They get work done when they say they will. They answer the phone when a client calls. They offer solutions when problems come up. They check off all the boxes.

But good companies will always be a step or two behind great companies. Eventually the "good" won't seem so good anymore, and those organizations won't achieve high growth the way a great company does.

Great companies are proactive. They are in touch with their clients and know their pain points. They offer ideas and solutions without being prompted. They pick up the phone and reach out regularly. They provide solutions before problems arise. 

Great companies are comprised of dedicated individuals whose goal is to ensure their clients are always satisfied with their product or service.

Employees at great companies ask themselves daily, "Am I servicing my client the best way possible? And if I fall short, am I communicating to my manager and co-workers so we, as a team, can show the attention our clients deserve?"

Good companies assume their clients are happy with their service. Great companies ask, even if that means hearing bad news. Great companies want to hear bad news. 

The best companies listen and respond to feedback. They learn from it and improve their business.

Great companies are focused on one goal and don't get distracted from it. They're strategic. Employees at great companies lay out weekly, monthly and quarterly deadlines, and they have a clear understanding of what every person in the company is working toward.

Great companies have great leaders. People who motivate others around them, and build relationships that create trust and open communication. Great people who create a culture of accountability and those who aren't afraid to make decisions for the good of their team and the company.   

Great companies take risks, which often means they fail. But, what makes them great is how they respond to their failures. They talk openly about them company-wide. They learn. They don't get angry so long as there were good intentions behind the decision. They celebrate employees who take risks, because at the end of the day, that's what's going to really drive business. That's what is going to move the needle. 

In order to be a great company, you have to leave no doubt in clients' minds that your organization is the right one to work with. You have to put in the extra work to stay competitive. You have to have the right leaders in place. You have to be proactive and communicate, and not be afraid to take risks. 

Published on: Apr 1, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.