By Jerry Mooney
No one goes into business with the intention of failing. In fact, many people starting out can suffer from having their sights set too high and giving themselves unrealistic goals. Whatever market you are currently working in, there are certain fundamental rules to being successful that everyone must follow; no one who ever created any real success will be lacking in these areas. Many will seem quite obvious once you know them, but it is important to make a conscious decision to begin to incorporate these traits into your daily working rhythm. Below are the four key pillars of having a successful business. Follow these and watch your company flourish.
Awareness is quite a loose term, but it encapsulates a lot. In this instance, awareness is used specifically about your strengths and weaknesses. Many people have no problem listing those attributes that they see as strengths. However, it takes a different kind of business person to be able to accurately identify their own shortcomings. Those that can do this will go far. By knowing what it is that you do not excel at, you can delegate, create partnerships, or alter your methodology to ensure that these personal weaknesses do not become business weaknesses. For instance, if creating and keeping track of paperwork and invoices is a struggle for you, delegate it, or use something like a FreshBooks example to make the process easier. If you are good with numbers, but not so good with people, let a more experienced negotiator take charge of your client meetings. Do what is best for the company and leave ego out of your business decisions. A good methodology to adopt is ‘the sum of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ so make sure you are using the most effective parts and strategies in all areas of your business.
With the exponential growth and change that technology is affording modern business, it’s a case of evolve or die for many companies. In order to be successful, you must be prepared to be unsentimental about your methodologies and practices. Other companies will embrace new technologies and meet customer needs in new and exciting ways, if you are not doing the same you will be left behind. Know what your clients and customers need, and make sure they are getting it from you. In order to do this effectively, you will need to immerse yourself in your chosen market. Go to conferences and expo events, speak to other business owners, read publications. You must know your industry inside out, only when you know how it is changing can you hope to predict where it is going.
Big businesses are widely publicised as spending big money. In 2010, Coca-Cola spent an enormous $2.9 billion on advertising alone. But that doesn’t mean you have to blow your money on expensive ad campaigns too. Their total profit for the year was also in excess of $35 billion. So that helps to give an idea of percentages spent. A good business knows when to spend money and when to save it. There’s no use spending thousands on an advert campaign that only brings in a few hundred in extra revenue. Always weigh up the return on investment for any of your big spends. Keep an eye on the little costs too. Providing mountains of free pens to staff that are constantly getting lost or thrown away will end up costing you a lot of money in the long run. You could also look at saving money on manufacturing costs, or even your utility bills. Even small savings can add up to big increases in your profit margin over time.
Your analytical skills tie in somewhat with the other points mentioned, but it deserves a mention of its own. You should always be looking for opportunities to develop and hone your business. Gaps in the market, ways to impress your customers, ways to diversify or new ways to and specificity and skill to your service. You should constantly be looking to identify the shortcomings of your business and seeking ways to turn those weaknesses into strengths. A successful business is one which is never satisfied with the way things are. Comfortability is the enemy of success.
Hopefully, these tips will help you to build upon your current knowledge and working style to create growth and success for your business. It is never easy to stand out in a saturated market, but following these tips will allow you to inch ahead of the competition little by little until you start to put yourself in a completely different league to them.