Initial business success can be addicting. Entrepreneurs get a natural high from every good news they hear from their start-up, often causing them to lose focus. Succeeding early in your business is good but sustaining it can be very challenging. The fast-paced business environment is making enterprise management a pain for many business owners. What can you do to stay on top? What are the things you need to think about to achieve longevity in your industry?
Here are some of the learning I had in the past that might help you get through the uncertain years.
Always aim for efficiency
It is easy to overspend in your operational expenses. This is the reason why you need to make sure that your business is moving with the least possible cost. Clarify your goals, prime up your teams to achieve “impossible” objectives and then build a culture that doesn’t like unnecessary spending.
If you want your business to grow and sustain its initial success, it must be efficient in all levels of operation. It must maximize resources. Employees must be cost-conscious too, they must be your first line of defense against unjustifiable expense.
Never compromise on quality customer service
Change anything in your business – move the office furniture countless times, change paint colour, do some tweaking in your brand aesthetics but never dare change the quality of your customer service.
If you have won loyal customers in your early years, make sure that kind of service is consistently followed through the years. Improve on it but never regress. An impressive, consistent customer service retains customers and easily wins new ones.
Nurture home-grown leaders
Hire the right people and then nurture them towards leadership roles. Breeding leaders from the inside is better than headhunting in the latter stage of the business. Allowing people to grow with you and be intimately familiar with your culture will allow them to be great leaders, someone who can rally the company’s objectives with the same fervour and passion that you have for the business.
Change before you have to
Always be in the lookout for inevitable changes. The last thing you want to do is change things in your business because you are forced to do so. Be aware what is happening in your industry, listen to your market and be ready to make necessary transitions.
SunTzu, the great war strategist, talked about the advantages of arriving in the field of battle first. Taking the initiative to change before it becomes necessary is you beating your competitors to the battlefield. You can have a rested “army”, you can explore the surrounding areas, and form plans to maximize the ground to your advantage. Organizations that are late in changing will end up rushing to the battle with nothing, tired and unprepared to engage an enemy.
Zero in on the right clients
If you started good in your business it is best to follow that up by fine tuning your customer base. Always be on the hunt for the right clients, the kind that will fuel your growth in the long term. Is your business gaining momentum? Is your human capital ready and able to take on bigger projects? Perhaps now is the right time to go after big clients. As your business matures, its clientele can also change. Be ready to act when that time comes.
To grow is to take risks
Many entrepreneurs are afraid to take risks yet they wonder why their business is not growing as fast as they want to. Always remember that risks and success go hand in hand. Never be intimidated with uncertainty. You know your company best in fact, you have seen it ride the waves of business for many years now. Size up your risks, gear up for growth and take the plunge.
Very few businesses make it to 10 years. Longevity is one of the most reliable marker for entrepreneurial success. Make sure you are doing the right things to survive and thrive. It’s a tough world out there but success is very achievable when you get the fundamentals right.