Less theory and more reality drives business success
I recently read one of the many business articles cluttering up the internet propounding ‘secrets’ to business success. As per usual, it cited issues such as having no time to work ‘on’ the business and a poorly articulated business strategy as core reasons for businesses failing to succeed.
This strikes me as somewhat bizarre.
There are plenty of successful businesses that don’t do sophisticated business planning, have never written up a business strategy, let alone thought about working ‘on’ the business rather than ‘in’ it. So whilst I would agree wholeheartedly that these factors can contribute to the difference between success and great success, they’re rarely the cause of failure.
Most businesses fail to succeed because they don’t attract enough customers paying enough money.
Do entrepreneurs lay awake at night worried about business strategy? Not often. Do they lie awake thinking about customer attraction, lead generation, sales conversion, cashflow, pricing and margins? You bet they do.
The reality is that, in most entrepreneurial businesses, the need is to focus on what really matters, what makes the difference between success and failure, so that 99% of everyone’s skills, energy and enthusiasm is dedicated to those activities.
So what does really matter?
- Marketing. Especially brand awareness, brand credibility, lead generation, competitor knowledge, market positioning, USPs and differentiation, brand values, messaging and tone of voice.
- Product and/or service suitability and competitiveness in your target market.
- Market opportunities. Size of market, market share, competitor activity, and routes to market.
- Sales skills. Top vs average quality sales skills? Pretty easy decision in my opinion: impact – phenomenal.
- Pricing. Are you in a highly priced competitive marketplace, or a value competitive marketplace? A few percentage points up or down on price (or margin) has a multifold impact on business success.
- Scalability. If growth always requires an equivalent investment in infrastructure, there’s a very finite limit to speed of growth and profitability. Always seek ways of making your business more scalable whilst still remaining true to its service values.
- Customers. Love and cherish your customers. They’re what it’s all about.
What, no mention of strategy, planning, culture and leadership?
To maximise the potential of any business, these factors are critical of course. And without a well articulated business strategy much of the above list is at risk of existing in a direction-less vacuum. Just that many times, particularly in a young business, there’s a need to get back to and focus on the basics.
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