Contributed by Kent Lewis, the president of Anvil Media, Inc.
While I’ve never considered myself an entrepreneur per se, my experience with startup agencies has taught me a thing or two about building a successful business. I can distill my business philosophy into the “seven P’s” of a successful business.
- People: The number one determining factor in the success of a business is the people involved. I’m talking about those special individuals that value the relationship and see the benefits of supporting the business. The right people may involve advisors, vendors, partners and customers. Without the right people on board, even the best ideas can get lost in the shuffle.
- Product: In order for a product or service to succeed, it must be truly remarkable. Far too often, companies tend to build products they know, rather than meet a real need or solve a specific problem. When you’re considering a product, ask yourself these questions: What problem is your company solving for customers today? What problems will your customers face tomorrow? How are you prepared to help?
- Process: Spend enough time up front to create a scalable infrastructure, people and systems to anticipate and manage growth. Companies (often startups) experiencing significant growth tend to lack the ability to evolve processes with the company, which leads to internal failures and can affect the product and customers.
- Partners: Having the right strategic partners on board can impact all aspects of business, from sales and marketing to customer support and operations. If you have a good idea of what you need in a partner, make sure the companies you align with can meet or exceed your expectations. More importantly, view your customers as partners. The mutual trust and respect gained in a high-level, high-impact engagement leads to long-term profitability as those customers become an extended sales force.
- Productivity: All companies should be relentlessly refining all aspects of the business, including people, products, processes and partners, to look for additional opportunities to increase efficiencies. No business is ever 100 percent optimized in terms of productivity. Whether terminating B talent, obsolete products or deadbeat customers, regularly evaluate and make minor (or major) adjustments to your business, and look for positive impact.
- Prophecy: As a believer in good karma and keen intuition, I’ve found that success in business requires a combination of good ideas and even better timing. Create your own karma by identifying, defining and monitoring emerging trends. Position your company to be at the right place at the right time, and you may become the next big business.
- Profitability: By focusing on the first six P’s outlined above, the seventh P (profitability) will naturally follow. Refined processes, strategic partners, improved productivity and a prophetic view of your industry will lead to sustained growth and profitability. Successful businesses rarely get that way by cutting costs and trimming fat alone. Successful companies have the right people building and supporting a product or service that meets the needs of their customers.
The seven P’s can get you on your way to creating and perfecting your business. So what are you waiting for?