Have you checked the stats on business failure rates lately? They’re not encouraging. Anywhere from 70 to 90 percent of newly incorporated businesses fail within five years. Many never even have a chance: they’re hampered by intense competition, insufficient capitalization, poor performance, employee malfeasance, and a host of other problems that keep business owners awake at night.
If you’re one of the relatively few entrepreneurs who successfully navigates the transition from precariously placed startup to successful, profitable business – congratulations! You’re living the dream, even if it feels like you never have a moment to yourself.
You might also be wondering, “what do I do now?”. Good question. To keep your company’s momentum going and to begin the next leg of your journey of growth, keep these pointers in mind.
Nurture Your Employees
Your employees are your company’s most valuable asset. Make sure you’re not giving them second thoughts about working for you. Instead do everything in your power to ensure that they continue to make valuable contributions to your organization. Employee-friendly moves to consider as your company grows include:
- Compensating employees above their industry/profession average
- Instituting attractive benefits and performance bonus packages
- Offering internal talent development programs to convey new, job-specific skills
- Supporting external employee education and professional development, such as graduate degree programs and industry certifications
- Arranging company outings, theme days, and other team-building activities
Pay Attention to Your Customers’ Changing Wants and Needs
Your customers are just as important to your company’s competitive position as your employees. Make sure you’re listening to what they want and need. Tactics include:
- Regular customer surveys and questionnaires
- Focus groups and other forms of market research
- Sales analytics
- Online advertising analytics
- Inbound contact and fulfillment services
Don’t Hesitate to Seize Opportunities
When opportunity presents itself, seize it. Don’t make a note to see how it’s doing in a month or two — it could be too late by then. All great growth stories have a make-or-break opportunity at their heart.
Enforce Core Values, Even if it Requires Tough Choices
A company is only as good as its core values. If you’re struggling to uphold your firm’s values as it grows, figure out why and take steps to fix the problem, pronto. Note that this might require you to make some tough choices, including potentially parting ways with key employees who fancy themselves indispensable.
Never Lose Touch With Your Roots
No matter where your career takes you, remember to stay grounded. The higher you rise, the harder it is to remain in touch with the people who contribute to your success. Make a conscious effort to do so by:
- Keeping in touch with the mentors who helped you during your formative years, such as important teachers, career advisors, or old bosses
- Visiting your family regularly, even if they live far away
- Spending time with friends and acquaintances who don’t work in your industry (or work for you)
- Giving back to organizations that serve your community
- Remembering to take a personal day every once in a while and focus on something other than the bottom line
How do you plan to keep your company’s momentum going as it grows and changes?