If you search Google for “why businesses fail” you will get about 6.9 million results. Many of those articles will talk about pitfalls and untold reasons why businesses go out of business. Our stance is, instead of focusing on what went wrong, focus on planning and building for success. Outcomes that are focused on are typically the outcomes that are generated. If you want to build a successful business you need to focus on success.
We can learn a great deal from businesses that fail and apply that knowledge to action steps that propel a business toward success and away from failure. Here are some important elements of a successful business to consider.
- Develop a plan. You can get where you are going much faster if you have a road map. Developing a plan for your business that includes a vision, objectives, and critical success factors create a road map. Evaluating potential problems and challenges before they happen often eliminates a crisis. Reviewing financial, equipment, and employee needs will create preparation. Developing marketing, advertising, and customer growth plans will ensure focusing on the right activities. Develop a plan and revisit it frequently.
- Execution is key. Developing a plan is the first step to executing your plan. Daily action steps are what make it come to fruition. Do you and your team members know what they need to do, focus on, and accomplish to make the business goals a reality? Frequent and consistent communication with your team will help ensure that everyone is working towards the right outcomes.
- Know your customers. Who are your customers and why do they buy from you? What makes your product or service different or better? Creating and growing a loyal customer base is the key to business sustainability. If asked, customers will tell you exactly what they need. Ask frequently and listen intently. As the world changes so do customers’ requirements of your product or service.
- Evaluate competition. Who is your competition and how do you compare? Competitive research is well worth the time and effort. Know what your business is up against. Understand competitor’s products and services and how potential customers compare those products or services to your company. This knowledge is vital as it allows you to make well-informed advertising and marketing decisions.
- Be able to adapt. Business environments and customers change. The ability to adapt to the ever-changing face of business is just as important as planning. Your plan provides the roadmap but every once in a while there will be obstacles located in the middle of the road and a course correction will be necessary. Being able to adapt quickly will allow the course correction to be as seamless as possible.
- Maintain focus. Know where you are going and what you want to achieve at all times. Distractions can mean death to a business. It becomes very easy to lose sight of the big picture when a distraction presents itself. Again, count on your plan to provide the roadmap and make goal-oriented decisions. Distractions have a bad habit of allowing us to race down blind alleys and take our eyes off of the real objectives.
Creating a successful and sustainable business is not always easy; however, the rewards often outweigh the challenges. Put yourself in a position to win at business by giving yourself all the advantages listed above and the results you desire will follow!