It’s no secret that becoming a business owner can be quite a humbling experience, and there are lessons to be learned when entrepreneurs fail. Failure is part of the journey to success.
By Graham Stevens
However, success can bring its own set of problems. For example, you might have started a platform that has garnered far more users than you anticipated, and you don’t have the cash flow to scale the business and meet demand fast enough. Scale too slowly, and users may jump ship to a competitor whose platform was better prepared.
It isn’t easy to scale a business. Some businesses are a slow grind, and others seemingly explode out of nowhere. Facebook started in a dorm room, and now boasts billions of monthly active users. While you probably won’t grow as quickly as Facebook(!), your ability to scale at the right time might be what separates you from the competition.
Trust And Listen To Your Customers
There are plenty of entrepreneurs that begin to think differently once they achieve a certain level of success. They might start believing that all of their ideas will work and that consumers will love every change that they implement. Of course, this isn’t true at all – and with enough missteps, your business could fail completely. Remember MySpace?
We may live in a world where technology is continually evolving, but the fact remains that we still often recommend services and companies to our personal circle of family and friends, and that continues to have an impact. Specifically, 77% of consumers have shared a positive experience regarding a company, and word-of-mouth is still integral when it comes to scaling a company. Pay attention to what your customers respond to and don’t lose your focus on customer service. You can’t scale without them!
Entrepreneurs are often used to chasing opportunities. They might want to find the most skilled employees, help create the most effective advertising campaigns, and make sure that they get the best media coverage possible. One of the most significant difficulties when it comes to scaling a business is finding out exactly when to say no, and why.
Entrepreneurs have to value their time. CEOs can be contacted constantly for advice, media appearances, etc. Some might appreciate the idea of being seen and heard, but what about your business? If you are more focused on appearing on media outlets or podcasts rather than running your business you might end up losing focus on what counts. If entrepreneurs say “yes” to every opportunity, this can lead to exhaustion and frustration, which might affect whether your company is able to truly grow or not. Entrepreneurs have to realize that not every opportunity is beneficial or should be seized and to learn to distinguish between the opportunities that are worth it, and that those that aren’t.
Invest In Employees
Entrepreneurs should want to empower and encourage their employees, and this often means that you should invest in them. After all, if employees do not feel as though they are being heard, or feel isolated in their work environment, they might end up feeling stuck and looking for jobs elsewhere. If you invest in your employees, it will not only help to keep your employees happy, but the word will spread, and the reputation of your company will improve dramatically.
It can be quite costly to hire a new employee, and it is actually cheaper to promote the employees that you already have. In fact, Matthew Bidwell, an assistant professor at Wharton who has examined work and employment patterns, found that not only are external hires paid more, but they often perform worse than existing employees when it comes time to actually review performances.
You should also understand that employees are not robots, and you should go out of your way to encourage a work/life balance that makes sense. Take into consideration the fact that employees have personal lives, as well. There are many studies that conclude that if your employees are happy, they often can be more creative and productive, which is, of course, integral to your company’s success and its ability to scale.
There Are No Short Cuts
In the pursuit of success, it can be all too tempting to cut corners so that you can get there sooner. You can become overly focused on the destination and begin to justify little cuts here and there until the repercussions of those actions come back to bite you.
The problem with short-cuts is that they are compromises, and when you travel this path it’s only a matter of time before you begin to compromise your own integrity.
The process is as important, if not more so than the end goal, and considering that the process informs the end result, how can you expect to deliver quality and lasting success with a sub-par approach?
Graham Stevens is passionate about great leadership, and loves sharing career development advice and helping people become more effective and innovative as a result.