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Coming up with the perfect formula for a successful business isn’t easy. If it was, every new start-up would succ...
Coming up with the perfect formula for a successful business isn’t easy. If it was, every new start-up would succeed, and it’s widely known that many do not. In fact, Bloomberg estimates that 80% don’t last beyond their first 18 months.
In my own work as a freelancer, I have found myself working (in various capacities) with dozens of different businesses over the years. Some have failed, and others have gone on to do great things. All of those in the latter camp seem to get some basic ingredients right, which I detail below.
This may not be a guaranteed formula that will make a success of a fundamentally flawed business model, but if you can tick off all five of the items below, you should be well on your way.
Businesses with unhappy staff teams are travelling along a dangerous road. Choosing the right employees and keeping them inspired is key to a successful business. As J. Paul Getty, once the richest living American, said: “The employer generally gets the employees he deserves.”
Poor cash flow can ruin an otherwise successful business, hence the widespread backlash against banks who have become very cautious about lending to SMEs. Inadequate cash flow can cripple a business and prevent the ability to “speculate to accumulate”—so ensure you have plans in place to consistently meet commitments and finance new projects.
A business makes nothing without customers, so keeping them content is crucial. It’s really as simple as that.
Even the most loyal (and happy) customers can be tempted away by cost savings in these budget-conscious times, so you should keep your pricing competitive. This doesn’t mean you should battle to be the cheapest, but merely that you should charge fairly and consistently for the quality of service (or product) you offer.
Even the most successful companies can come unstuck by falling behind the times—just look at BlackBerry and Nokia, former market leaders now clinging on to a tiny piece of an industry they once dominated.