Whether you’re trying to get a start-up off the ground, or managing the growth of an established company, it’s a constant struggle trying to figure out where your time and capital is best spent. You’ll be pulled in countless directions and be hit up for financial resources at every turn. Optimizing both resources is key to a company’s success. So where should you put your focus?
Product development / Research & Development
It’s said that change is the only constant. And in an era where innovations happen rapidly, and copycats can bring their products to market in record time, you can never sit still! You may have a great and popular product today but if you fail to adapt to the changing time with ongoing market research and product development, you’ll quickly find yourself obsolete. Invest in employees who understand this prerogative to keep your company in the forefront.
You may have a life-changing product, but if you aren’t able to promote it to the right audiences, you’ll never see those sales. In this day in age, marketing is more important than ever before and there are seemingly infinite ways to reach people with your message. Facebook works for many, while billboards and magazine ads are right for others. You won’t know until you invest the time and resources into figuring out which channels are best for your firm. Once you feel confident that you’ve identified the correct means to reach your audience, don’t shy away from spending significant resources to get your company and its products in front of the right people. Don’t forget to include public relations efforts in with marketing – your company’s reputation is everything!
In an increasingly automated world, people still make all the difference. You may have a great product idea, along with plenty of capital to promote it but if you don’t get the right people on your team, you are doomed to fail. You need to first find people who understand and can embody the company’s vision and can execute on it. Identify the exact skill sets that you need to be successful and be disciplined and precise in your hiring. On the flip side, it’s just as important to be able to make the tough decisions when a person just isn’t working out. Your company is only as good as the team you have representing it.
Finance and accounting are such rote functions of business that they are often forgotten about. But useful numbers go beyond the standard P&L. Great firms relentlessly track their financial, productivity and marketing data and then use that data to make informed, strategic decisions. Without a strong data-driven finance and accounting department, decisions are made on whims, not facts. Pay attention to those monthly reports that come across your desk and if they’re not giving you the information you need to feel confident in your decision making, make changes. As Peter Drucker famously said, “what gets measured gets managed”.
These four key areas can make or break your company, so invest the time and money to get them optimized!