A number of businesses do not survive because of many reasons. More often than not, the underlying cause of business failure is because owners and managers focus on the wrong thing.
A new business is like a newly born baby and as such, if it is not given the right focus, it gets starved and it dies a natural death.
The immediate indication that owners and managers are focusing on the wrong thing in a business is that revenue will begin to lean out. In addition, internal operations will be in disarray.
This piece explains what a business should focus on if it must stand the test of time in the face of cut-throat competition.
The Customer is King
You probably have read this before – you just read it again, that the customer is king. If a business doubts this saying, then it has already signed it death bill – it won’t live.
As it were, no business exists for itself; all businesses operate for the customers and if there is anyone to focus on the most, it is the customers.
Certain question sshould boil in the new business always:
• Where is the customer?
• What does the customer want?
• What is the customer complaining about?
• Why should the customer come to us?
• What are the tastes and preferences of the customer?
• How can we satisfy the customer?
These customer-centric questions and more must be on the weekly business meeting table if the new business must survive.
The Employee is the Queen
It is a common knowledge that employees are pivotal business assets but some businesses don’t treat them as such.
Trust me, if they are not there, there is probably no business. In fact, even a sole proprietorship has an employee who is the owner.
Focus on the king (customers) but never neglect the queen. It is the queen that cooks for the king; it is the queen that checks on the wellbeing of the palace to ensure the king is fit to rule the kingdom.
As a new business, you want to be certain that:
• The right employees are recruited – fix round pegs in round holes regardless of sentiments.
• The employee is well remunerated for the job they do.
• The employee is motivated to perform.
• The employee has an entrepreneurial and ownership mindset.
If the customers must be happy, then the employees have to be happier. Focus on this.
Internal Operations and the business environment
The internal business processes need special focus too. You want to ensure there is clarity concerning:
• Job roles – Who does what.
• Reporting – Who reports to who.
• Reward – What commendations are there.
• Punishments – Of course, what happens for wrongs done.
• Marketing – If you don’t tell the world you are around, nobody will see you.
These internal pillars are sine qua non if your business is not to be placed on a ventilator.
In addition to these, the business lives in an environment. It is equally important, therefore, to know what’s going on in the neighbourhood.
• Know your competitors and why they appear to be ahead.
• Respect government and its policies if you want the business to survive.
• Know what changes are ongoing in your sector and how they likely affect you.
In conclusion, the focus of the business should be on what will make it survive infancy, grow into adulthood, and then have the voice to speak out in the midst of drowning noise.
What’s your experience with a start-up? How did you weather through the early days to survive?