If you’re building a business in 2018, congratulations — you’ve chosen an ideal time to become a small business owner or entrepreneur. While small businesses must contend with a variety of big challenges (especially thanks to new technologies), founders also have an easier path to success than ever before.
Make 2018 the year you lay the foundation for a remarkably successful business. This article will help business leaders create success by reviewing four key principles employed by some of the most successful institutions.
Get as close to your customers as possible
According to a study mentioned in Inc, 96 percent of small businesses fail within the first ten years of being founded. One reason for this astounding figure is the fact that business leaders often fail to build a product that achieves product-market fit.
Instead, leaders develop tunnel vision, which causes them to drive their business off a cliff. This year, make it a point to get as close to members of your target audience as possible; conduct regular customer and prospect interviews and encourage your employees to do the same.
Develop customer personas so marketers and salespeople better understand how they should communicate with various stakeholders in a purchasing decision. Conduct an ICP study to determine what customers are best for the long-term health of your organization by examining the correlation between a customer profile and metrics like lifetime value.
By investing in this research early on, entrepreneurs can create a customer-centric culture that encourages other members of the organization to focus on developing products or services that will be well-received by the right audience.
Prioritize employee development and education
The leaders at world’s most successful organizations realize that long-term success will be determined by the quality of your employees. A team of smart, skilled employees will be able to weather challenging circumstances, while a team of average performers may or may not be able to deliver the goods consistently.
That’s why AT&T is investing roughly $1 billion to retrain 100,000 employees. The investment is designed to ensure the telecommunications company will be able to keep up with an ever-changing world. Similarly, small business leaders must commit to investing in employee development. For example, if you’re running an ecommerce business, encourage employees to read ecommerce guides.
Sending employees to conferences and offering to pay for courses aligned with the needs of the organization are other good ways to invest in employee development.
Build a universal reporting system for key business functions
Businesses are spending big money on big data collection and analysis. According to Statista, nearly $170 billion will be spent on this category this year. Companies are spending money on data analysis because leaders understand the value of having access to real-time analytics.
Automated reporting helps to keep companies focused on what matters and encourages teams to maintain close alignment. Plus, since reports can be automated, it means professionals don’t need to spend valuable time extracting data and crunching numbers.
Create a culture that values and encourages honesty
A recent survey found that while 75 percent of employees care about the well-being of their organization, less than 25 percent of employees feel they have full visibility of how the organization is performing.
While the value of a fully transparent workplace is debatable, it is clear that a workplace that encourages honesty is a necessary component of long-term success. It shouldn’t be a mystery — especially to your employees — how the business is performing; instead, team performance should be readily discussed.
Business leaders should work to develop a workplace culture which encourages employees to share feedback, both positive and negative. Doing so is the best way to develop an environment that encourages everyone to do their best work, but developing a workplace that values honesty isn’t just a way to improve employee performance. It can also help employees become more engaged. A recent Gallup study found the majority of American workers are disengaged in the workplace, which hurts productivity and causes employee churn.
Set an example for employees by readily sharing company performance information and feedback for teams and individuals. Soon, managers and employees will follow your lead.
Make 2018 the year your organization becomes incredibly successful. To get there, you’ll need to develop a culture that values honest feedback and invests in employee improvement. Committing to data collection and automated reporting is one way to create an organization that is more transparent and focuses on what matters. Most imperatively, foster an environment that obsesses about the wants and needs of the customer.
What workplace initiatives are you trying to implement in order to improve company performance? Let us know by leaving a comment.