“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ‘em.” So said Malvolio in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Fast forward several hundred years, and ask yourself – how can you make your business great?
If you were born into a successful family business, well done. If you had success land in your lap as a result of some enormous slice of luck, congratulations. But chances are, like ninety-nine per cent of business owners, you’ll have to achieve greatness all by yourself.
So what can you, as an ambitious entrepreneur, do to avoid being average, and create a business that’s truly great? The answer is – quite a lot. We’ve focused on some of the key areas.
Create genuinely new value.
Creating something unique in your market will allow you to steal a march on the competition, attract new customers and grow your business. Better still, create a new market based on established customer behaviours. That is what the giants Google, Apple iPhone, Tesla, Uber, Amazon, SpaceX and Facebook all did. It’s not about re-inventing the wheel, it’s about looking at what customers want, and finding new ways to provide it.
In the ever-changing world of banking, insurance, property, transportation, shopping, communications and digitalisation successful companies continue to emerge. They scale up not by ploughing the same old furrows, but by adjusting, exploiting and innovating, to become the companies of the future.
Simpler, better, faster.
One proven way to scale up is to remove obstacles and reduce friction when acquiring and onboarding customers. By making the journey hassle-free, customers will not only like you, they won’t want to use anyone else. Is it any wonder that Amazon is the most valuable public company in the world?
Here’s an example closer to home. Take the fintech sector. There was a huge amount of friction between the international banking community and individual fintech companies trying to connect with it. That was until Railsbank came along. They created five lines of code for each party and dealt with all of the compliance. Suddenly, what took years and millions of pounds, could now be done in days and cost thousands. Railsbank are now trailblazing.
We all remember the great moments in our life. A scale up business should be able to create “wow” moments too. These moments can’t appear all the time, but they should be frequent enough to create excitement in your business, pride among your team and the impetus to make customers come back time and time again. To create these moments you need to be continually on the search for fresh ideas, stay imaginative, and be prepared to take risks.
To create a high-performance organisation you need a high-performance team who are united and can make the right decisions, even when you’re not there. This team will oversee future innovation, product development, marketing, sales, operations and finance. They will hold up your values and endorse your USP.
To build a high-performance team you need to develop strong leadership skills and become a master at attracting and retaining the best talent. You’ll also need to know when to let go of unexceptional talent along the way. You need to weed out the pessimists and the moaners. Loyalty to underperforming team members is not a recipe for success.
You should also consider finding a mentor. Many successful business leaders use mentors to guide them along the way. Ideally, your mentor will be someone you can trust, be totally open with you and have the experience to help with those big decisions. They should reduce decision fatigue and give you clarity regarding where you are now and how to get to the next stage. Mentors will also hold you accountable, help you grow and enjoy the scale up journey, by giving you the confidence to take those all-important risks.
Being brave is easier said than done. You may be in a comfortable position financially. There could a lot of people in your household and on your payroll who are dependent on your income and business to support them. Life may start to get a little too cosy and the desire to risk can all but disappear. There is nothing wrong with this scenario, but it can be a significant barrier to scaling up.
A brave person is one who can make the big decision, go looking for the next investment round, pivot the business model, develop an exciting new product to ensure growth, and search for the next key hiring. All of this involves an element of risk. But if you have a clear purpose and vision, a robust strategy and the right team around you, risks can be minimised. Bravery can mean the difference between success and failure.
Achieving greatness is no easy feat. There will always be unforeseen obstacles, and difficult issues to face. But it can be done.
BGI has helped many owners scale their businesses, and reap the rewards. If you’d like to learn more about how BGI can you help your business click here to request a Discovery Call.