Over the years, I’ve done consulting in different countries, in a range of industries and at various levels of business maturity from start-ups to established companies. Regardless of the product or service, I have come to recognize a few key factors that equal success.
1. Create a Sense of Urgency
There are two kinds of urgency to create within a company: internal and external.
Internal Urgency is within your own company and surrounding your employees. Everyone must feel there are reasons and a drive to go to market quickly and create revenue. If this buzzing mentality doesn’t come from the top-down, why would you expect your employees to do their jobs faster and better than the competition? Are plans and strategies put in place to give people the tools and motivation to wake up each morning and want to come to work? If not, seriously rethink how driven your office is to succeed and then adjust your internal processes and results-based attitude. No urgency = mediocrity.
External Urgency is about getting out and talking to customers, partners, prospects and suppliers. If you don’t know what is important to them, you can’t do a better job providing it than others can. Once you understand a market’s trends and drivers, you can then build strategies around them. This is an ongoing process that must be done frequently due to the shifting nature of competition and industry. By demonstrating you can meet the requirements and needs of your target market(s), you can push on pain points and how you solve them with a message that creates subtle urgency behind it.
2. Strong Management
Good management seems like an obvious fact. Do you hire people better than you are in their trade areas? Do you look for feedback from all departments on how things could be improved? Do you listen to people or tell them what to do? The management teams I’ve seen work best at companies are: equally strong team players, constantly learning and listen to one another with respect and have healthy debates on how to grow business.
3. No Politics
There’s no room for politics, egos or finger pointing when you’re growing a business and the time it takes (sucks) from employee productivity is enormous. Certain things have to be put aside and common goals outlined for success. The only way to avoid it starts with management not accepting it and putting out fires when it happens. Eventually employees will understand that it is not acceptable and a “zero politics” mentality will become part of the sub-culture.
4. Continuous Market Data Collection and Learning about your Audience
The “build-it-and-they-will-come” mentality is long gone (it never really existed). Today, companies are built around finding a market gap / need and filling it. With that in mind, just because you found a niche area to grow a business doesn’t mean the area won’t continue evolving over time. In fact, if you thought of the idea, likely others have too somewhere else in the world – thus your competition. Continue to do yearly or bi-yearly audits of your market and how it is changing so you can stay ahead of the curve.
5. Roll up Your Sleeves
Get dirty! No one can generate business, leads and sales without rolling up their sleeves and “just doing it” as Nike so adequately puts it. I often get asked, “How can I get people to know about what we do or create a buzz in the market?” It’s never been as accessible as it is today to get the word out; it’s just that the game has changed and there are more “mixes” in the marketing mix. With social media forging ahead, companies are using videos, social profiles and more to link onto their websites and as additions to sales tool kits to get the word out faster. Journalists are now everywhere extending from industry specific portal sites to expert bloggers as well as newspaper and magazine sites. There’s no shortage of people to reach, one only has to do their homework to find them and submit relevant, interesting “story-based” information to them to gain exposure or write-ups. Additionally, dig on the web for industry experts to help get the word out about products or find events to attend for networking exposure.
This is obviously a “short” list of factors of which many more could be added. Good business like good blogging) is about keeping things simple and concise. The 5 points listed above were those that jumped instinctively in my mind after many years of consulting experience.