When starting or running a business, deciding what specific processes you're going to use to run the operation is paramount to success. Like any recipe, the end result is only as good as the ingredients. Sometimes, though, it's not what you have that matters most in determining prosperity, but what you neglected to include from the start without realizing it. Here are a few critical attributes that your business might be missing.
1. Solid Data
It's obvious that we're living in the information age. The world runs on data, and in business, this fact is especially true because success depends on accurate ledgers and precision revenue forecasting. The problem is that many business owners don't bother to do the customer relationship and business process research that they should be doing. Worse, because those owners don't know what tools are out there to get the information they need, they might fall prey to having dirty data, meaning data sets that are way off the mark. It's never wrong to consider calling on outside experts to get help in gathering and collating the information you need to know where your business stands.
2. Career Paths for Employees
Keeping and retaining good employees is vital to having an efficient and agile operation, but to keep them around, you need to look at careers from the employee's perspective. Beyond simple questions of benefits, can the average person have a clearly defined future in working for you? Recent Gallup research revealed a troubling statistic: 50% of millennials reported that they do not plan to be with their current job in one year. That's because they see fluidity and choice in careers as a path to both their personal evolution and to engaging in activities that they care about more than money. That same study showed that the cost to replace an employee can be 150% of their annual salary. The bottom line: Give people a reason to stick around, because they already have plenty of reasons not to.
Being something special to your employees and to your customers requires having a powerful vision. Sure, it's necessary to have a basic vision statement written out to justify yourself to investors, but that's not enough. A UK study brought this into perspective, with 83% of employees saying their workplaces aren't doing enough to fight climate change. That's right: a young, activist workforce is demanding that their place of employment align with their values. Whatever philosophy your business embraces, it can't just be stated; it must be lived out by both the workforce and the leadership of the company and has to be done in the public eye because nowadays if you want to make money, you have to be about more than money.
4. Top-Notch Branding
Oftentimes, the people who are best at seeing the forest aren't so good at seeing the trees. In other words, people who have powerful dreams might not have the skill sets needed to sell those dreams to consumers. The good news is that there's an exact science to building a brand. The layout and iconography used on your company's website are what builds that first impression. The influencers you partner with speak volumes about your values. Learn to see your company the way customers do and be ready to change with the times to stay relevant.
Nothing is more relevant in a rapidly-changing world than dependability. Consumer polls continue to show that authenticity matters to the public (as it absolutely should). This can be as simple as updating your social media on a regular schedule or as difficult as being totally honest even if it costs you money. Perhaps most important of all, whatever products and services you're selling, compete with other businesses on quality, not price. Stand out from the competition by standing above them, both ethically and in terms of standards.
Whether you're just starting out in business or figuring out where to go from here, take a long, hard look at all the moving pieces of your operation. Know what you have, but also learn what you still need for your business to be the best it can be.