There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for building a successful business. However, if we analyse the world’s leading companies and those that run them, we can start to see some common themes. To find your way in the world of entrepreneurship, the best way to learn is often by doing.
Comparing your own business to some of the world’s most significant might seem like comparing apples to oranges, but everyone has started somewhere. These companies may be further along the journey than you, but the methods in this article are useful whether you have made one sale or one million.
Becoming the top dog in the market doesn’t happen overnight. It will take years – if your company even lasts that long. Take auto retailer Euro Car Parts as an example. It was started in 1978 by Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia, eventually growing to 300 locations and employing 10,000 people in 2018. In the modern era, this is rare. Companies disappear as fast as they crop up, with the average age of most companies only a fraction of what it was fifty years ago.
Part of this is due to a lack of foresight on the part of growing companies. If you want your business to grow sustainably, you have to plan for it. This means setting out your goals in terms of revenue, staff hired and sales goals. If you don’t have something to reach for, you will just be fumbling around in the dark without an exact way forward.
Once you have goals, you can prepare. Analyse trends and consider your worst- and best-case scenarios. If you anticipate downturns in the market, then you won’t be as severely affected by them, as they won’t come as a surprise.
Likewise, futureproof your business by staying up to date with technology. If you do this as you grow, then you won’t be cursing the fact that you didn’t know when you have 50+ employees. Given how rapidly technology has evolved over the past two decades, you can’t keep up without proper planning.
In all aspects of life, mistakes are an essential experience. There’s no such thing as a company that has never put a foot wrong. The good news is that every cloud has a silver lining. From the top-down, you should encourage a culture where employees feel as though they can make mistakes. If your staff fear what might happen if something goes wrong, they won’t take risks, and you might miss the next ample opportunity in the market.
Growth doesn’t just mean the amount of revenue or employees you have, but rather career growth for you and your employees. Just as you shouldn’t be afraid of making mistakes on a macro level, employees should be encouraged to throw some ideas at the wall from a micro perspective.
You mustn’t pass up these growth opportunities. Employee development is essential for extracting the best from your staff. Create a learning culture, and your employees will reward you with loyalty, because you gave them the chance to develop new skills, leading to personal and professional growth.
Don’t Stick To The Plan
Although it might seem contradictory when I’ve just told you to think ahead, sticking to the plan isn’t always the best option. Knowing when to change course is something you can only learn when you’ve gone too far in the wrong direction.
One famous example is KFC’s Colonel Sanders. He had multiple other failed careers, as a lawyer and salesman selling lamps, insurance, and tires. He didn’t become a millionaire until he was 62 when he patented his secret recipe for fried chicken. It shows that you should change it up if things aren’t working.
Update your strategy once a year. It would be crazy to think that you could not shift your plan if you spotted a new opportunity in the market. Your goals are a guide. They aren’t set in stone. Keep your destination in mind, but also consider all the possible routes you could travel to get there. If there was only one way to the top, every entrepreneur would take it.
Take Advice And Find Inspiration
Like all new owners, you have a lot to learn. Use every opportunity that you can. If you raise funding from investors, don’t disregard their advice. Instead, see it as a chance for you to absorb as much information about growing a business as you can.
Networking by using local business groups is an excellent way to do this. Not only will you get to learn from people who may be further along the process than you are, but you might meet potential partners or businesses to collaborate with.
Most governments around the world also have support networks that give out business advice. Likewise, there are charities that fill the same role. When you observe what other businesses are doing in your community, you may be inspired to follow in their footsteps with similar ideas of your own.
These are some of the ways you can make your business better. Every young company can benefit from looking into the future and knowing their next move, but without being married to their plan. Mistakes happen, especially for first-time founders, so take them in your stride and learn as much as you can along the way.