Running a successful business is like building a home, it takes a lot of hard work and essential materials.
It certainly helps to adhere to the fundamentals of good business management. To say that these foundations can help you reach your most ambitious business goals is no exaggeration.
So here are the most important pillars you need to run a highly successful business. Give these ideas a shot and see what happens.
Put simply, your business purpose is what makes your business tick. It is what your business is designed to do. Ask yourself, What need am I fulfilling? What problem am I solving?
By defining and fine-tuning your business purpose, you are laying the foundation for a clear-sighted company and building a consistent brand in the process.
Some questions to ask yourself are:
1. Why am I in this business?
Your business purpose drives all the decisions you make for your company. Having defined that purpose clearly, you can make better decisions about how to market your business, who your target market is, and how to select team members to train in programs, systems, and procedures.
2. What is my purpose?
Purpose speaks to what you, as the leader and/or founder, aspire to contribute and how you want to affect the world around you. It’s something about which you care deeply (See Ken Blanchard and Jesse Lyn Stoner). Purpose tells people why you’re doing what you do.
Product (or Service)
How does your product or service provide a solution for your target market? Do you consistently deliver a high-quality product or service? This is a balancing act every seasoned entrepreneur knows too well.
Customers may like a great product yet be disappointed by bad customer service, e.g. late delivery, inattentive or rude customer service representatives, etc. If you have to choose between the two, the customer service associated with delivering the product or service outweighs the product itself. People will always remember how you made them feel.
Try to look for the sweet spot: provide an excellent product to attract new customers and offer exceptional customer service for repeat business.
What are you doing to achieve your business goals? How do you know if your systems and strategies are working? Do you document your company’s basic processes and are these core procedures followed by all?
Proven processes define how you do business. Having a system in place ensures consistency in your product or service. Every organization needs to have consistent core processes to achieve its goals and scale up.
Once you have established and documented the main processes, your next step is to ensure everyone follows them – consistently. There are hidden twofold benefits:
- when key employees leave the organization, someone else can step up and assume the responsibilities; and
- when new employees join the company, you can use this as a resource for business process training.
People are your greatest asset and potentially your biggest downfall. How do you hire people? How do you choose when to fire employees? Have you noticed that most successful businesses have good people?
Your employees are the face of your business. As the business grows, you as the owner will have fewer dealings or interactions with customers. You must be able to trust that your staff can treat your customers the way you would. How can you find people who share your vision, mission, and values?
The right people are easy to identify yet hard to find. They are positive, competent, and accountable. As a business owner, your role is to choose, assign responsibilities, review, reward, and recognize employees for their unique contributions. That’s how you keep a motivated and happy team, which is key to a thriving business.
Your pricing positions your product or service in the marketplace. Better pricing can definitely boost sales. Are you aiming for a high volume of turnover or high-quality product and service?
The price you place on your product or service reflects the choice you make. How does your pricing strategy fare so far? Are you selling profitably?
Getting the pricing strategy right is one of the keys to a profitable business. You need to ensure your pricing provides an adequate margin to cover the fixed running costs of your business and generate a profit.
Promotion refers to raising customer awareness of a product or brand, generating sales, and creating brand loyalty.
Promotions are carried out using traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, and television. Recently, the use of social media has seen businesses capture their audience’s attention and create a buzz around their product or service at a much lower cost. Businesses are able to engage with their audience through the use of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media channels.
Promotions can also be carried out in physical venues such as markets, sporting events, shopping centres and trade shows.
The bonus 7th Pillar: Passion
Passion allows you to persevere after setbacks. It’s the drive needed to pick yourself up on the rough days. It’s the fuel that helps you lead and inspire your team, convince customers, motivate you to implement systems and procedures, and continually learn innovative ways to do business in your industry and stay a step ahead of your competitors. How strong is your passion for business success?
Purpose, product, processes, people, pricing, promotion, and passion are the seven pillars of a great business. Which one of these does your company have? Strengthen your business with these pillars as a foundation and you’d be surprised to see it grow by leaps and bounds.