The Struggle of Making a Business a Long Term Success
What makes a business survive throughout the years as many other ventures come crashing down around them?
Is it a huge cash flow or lots of financial backing? Sure that always helps, but it’s no use if customers aren’t interested in your business model. A company’s success comes down to a number of factors and doesn’t just hinge on one thing.
On top of this, constant vigilance needs to be kept. We’ve all seen companies, that were the leaders in their markets, come to a crashing end by not adapting quickly enough to rapid changes. Sometimes it seems that the success of a business, balances on a knife edge. Concentrating on one area and not noticing something coming in the opposite direction, can be enough to send it tumbling over the edge.
But what can be done to prevent this happening? What are the key factors that a business needs to keep in mind to ensure longevity?
A Solution to a Problem
A business always needs to provide a solution to a problem.
Customers find air travel too expensive? Create a no-frills airline that passes these discounts onto customers.
People want their transport to be more environmentally friendly? Create a car that runs primarily using green energy.
Even when a solution is made, an awareness to competitors trying to answer the same solution is paramount. Your product or service should always have the best solution to a customer’s problem and constantly expand to make it even better.
The perfect solution will never be found and the company that thinks they’ve found it and stops evolving, are the company that’s going to be overtaken quickly.
A key factor, not just in the long term success of a business, but in someones personal life too, is resourcefulness. This is one startup mentality that should always be brought forward in order to thrive. This is just as much about refusing to accept no for an answer, as it is about collecting assets.
Startups are constantly faced with challenges that they need to find creative solutions to navigate. Whether it’s a lack of money, difficulty in landing new contracts, a shortfall in human resources; there’s always a way found to overcome any of these obstacles.
It’s essential that businesses find creative solutions to problems and if they don’t have the resources to do something, they find a way to get them.
A Strong Brand
The reputation of a businesses brand is paramount these days. Warren buffett’s inspirational advice: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” is more apt now than ever.
Everything has to be triple checked before it goes out as any mistakes or misinterpretations can spread like wildfire on social media within minutes.
For example, American Apparel’s notorious 4th of July tumblr post featured an image of the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster along with the hashtags #smoke and #clouds.
The post obviously caused uproar and was quickly deleted.
Afterwards, the company released a statement blaming the incident on one of their “international social media employees”.
Not only was the post in poor taste but the apology lacked responsibility as well.
Mistakes happen, we’re all human after all and the most important aspect is to accept responsibility and release the right type of apology.
For example, when the person who manages the twitter profile of the American Red Cross accidently sent the personal tweet seen here:
The company where quick to issue a humanizing response.
“We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys.”
Not only did they not put all the blame solely on their employee, they managed to come back with humor and even turn the opportunity into a great PR exercise.
Due to the popularity of the tweets and a little negotiation, a number of breweries and bars that sell Dogfish Head beer offered a promotion based on the rogue tweet. A free pint of Dogfish Head in exchange for a Red Cross blood donation.
A pint for a pint and an excellent example of responsive marketing and damage control.
Originally Featured on BYO: 3 Things Your Business Needs to Succeed