No matter what industry you’re in, you have one thing in common with every other business out there: you want to be successful. Of course, this is much easier said than done. Then again, enough companies have succeeded that there is at least some kind of winning formula out there you can leverage. The following are factors every successful company has in common.
This may sound silly, but just like with people, most companies don’t have clear-cut goals. It’s as simple as that. Startups are especially notorious for operating without objective targets to hit. They want to “launch” or “profit” or “find investors”, but these are hardly the types of goals that will produce actual results.
Every company—whether a startup or one that has been in business for years—must have three factors in order to direct them toward substantial goals. These are:
- Mission: this is what your business’ overall purpose is; it’s driving force.
- Long-Term Goals: this is how your company plans on bringing in returns on investments.
- Short-Term Goals: these are milestones you want to hit in the near future, along the way to those long-term goals you outlined above.
Once you set these goals, start working on knocking them out. However, don’t forget that you need your whole work force involved and that these targets should be open to evaluation at any time. Revisit them regularly to make sure they still make sense.
Picking the Right Market
You could have the cure for cancer, but if you’re trying to sell it to a market with AIDs, you’re not going to find very many interested customers. So you absolutely must pick the right market. Qualifying factors for such a market are:
- You have a passion for it
- You have superior knowledge about it
- Its growing and has strong forces pushing it
- Its currently ignoring a problem that people would pay to have solved
Bring in Capital Wisely
There’s no two ways about it: if you want your company to be a success, you need to raise capital to get it off its feet. However, if you want the best for your company, you need to make sure you raise that capital wisely. This means staying away from handing over controlling interests in your business.
To do this well, find ways to fund your company on your own until it’s time for the expansion phase.
When you do begin taking on investors, make sure you only accept money from VCs that make for a good fit. Even still, you also want to benefit from a competitive bidding process before taking on an investor.
There are a number of reasons companies fail. However, some companies fail after a year or two solely because they don’t embody the above characteristics of their successful colleagues and competitors. Make sure you instill these elements into your own business and you’ll stand a much better chance of becoming a company that succeeds in more ways than one.