Successful businesses might come from different minds, places, and industries and may have taken different paths to get to where they are today, but all of them share a similar set of attributes. These attributes have allowed them to stand the test of time. Create competitive moats that make them untouchable in their respective markets, and grow to billion dollars in valuation. Without further ado, here are the five pillars that you should immediately focus on when you start a business:
A good product, even with minimal to no marketing, can soar high and yield impressive revenues. Your product has to actually have value and real-world applications. However, it's not enough to rely on your product going viral once and getting a windfall in product orders and public interest. After the hype dies down, can your product still compete in the market? Can it scale over the long run and fend off your share of the market against emerging competitors? Does it actually solve a problem that people care about? Find or build a product that answers "yes" to these questions.
Some of the industry giants today, like Google and Amazon, have been able to claim the lion's share of the market by creating a strong community culture that transcends beyond salaries and work perks. People choose to work for companies that actually care about them and not just about the bottom line. You want your business to promote a culture of diversity, unity, and other causes and values that other people can get behind on. One way to showcase this is by adopting the best HR practices for onboarding and interviewing candidates and for managing existing employees.
The most successful businesses have the right talent on board. Who you have working for you will predetermine your success/failure over the next few decades. Attracting the right talent, however, takes a mix of good company culture and work conditions and an attractive salary package. A good rule of thumb is to only hire key people that you need, specifically in the first few months in business when your financial runway is limited. Some of the key positions you'll need to fill include a technology expert to manage your website, customer service experts to settle any technical issues, and a co-founder who can share the workload. When starting a business, network as much as you can not only for customers but also for employees.
Businesses can only succeed if what's running under the hood is running smoothly. You don't want any kinks or bottlenecks that cost your business thousands of dollars each year. Your business processes have to be continuously fine-tuned to run efficiently. This includes your customer acquisition, sales, human resources, product research and development, manufacturing, etc. That being said, be careful not to change things that are already working in your favor. Always prioritize the quality of the product/service and the integrity of the brand over costs and savings.
Successful businesses that have proven themselves battle scars to prove it. Bouncing back from several failures and come back stronger tells a lot about a company. While this doesn't invite you to intentionally fail, it does tell you that failing is fine. In fact, sometimes in business, failure actually necessary. Only through failed marketing stunts or product versions can you discover the right paths to take for your business. It may sound cheesy, but until a business and its leaders are tested, you cannot ensure its long-term success.
Whether it's a mom and pop ice cream shop or a multi-billion dollar software company, the main ingredients are fairly similar. If applied correctly and business can increase their chances of surviving and eventually thriving in your respective industry.