I’m going to bet you’re interested in running a business that succeeds. Getting started is one thing, but growing and maintaining a successful business is a whole other test entirely.
What does it take to grow a successful business?
In Australia. 60% of businesses will fail in the first three years. It’s a sobering statistic that reminds us of the serious challenge of running a sustainable business. So, how can you turn a successful launch into a long term success? Here are five key factors that I’ve discovered from over two decades’ of building, growing, and maintaining my business, Cars For Sale.
Solve real problems
It might sound obvious, but it’s surprising how many business owners aren’t focussed on client’s problems. Your business must solve a problem to succeed, whether it’s an empty wall needing a painting, or a team member needing software to help tackle a huge workload.
Over the long term, those problems might change. Solving problems isn’t a one and done scenario, but an ever-evolving question for a business owner to ask. What new problems are your customers facing? How can you meet their needs in new and uniquely helpful ways? Never stop asking these questions, and don’t be afraid to ask them often and loudly.
Learn the lingo without straying into buzzword territory
Communication is key, but many businesses often fail to talk to their clients in a way that they understand. This could be something as simple as not understanding the terminology that’s used by the industry you’re selling to. You might have a product that absolutely solves the problem, but you’re not using the right terminology to get through to that customer.
Your communication might go the opposite route, where you’re using so many buzzwords and complex terminology that turn your client off – or worse, they don’t understand you. Even if your client does have an idea of what you’re saying, using an onslaught of buzzwords, acronyms, and terminology usually isn’t the best way to get your point across.
Build the right relationships
Relationships are very essential for the long-term success of any organisation, but it’s most importantly it is critical to go about building those relationships in the right way. No one’s going to help you out if they if they don’t know who you are, so never underestimate the value of building a relationship before launching into business strategies and spreadsheets.
Family connections can be very helpful in these circumstances, but even if you haven’t got a family connection, it’s possible to draw on old work contacts, old clients, or friends for new business. It’s best not to approach a new contact with a ‘what can you do for me’ mentality.
Instead, ask ‘what can I do for them?’. By starting out on a helpful footing, they will be far more inclined to help you down the track. If you have a glaringly obvious ulterior motive, they will spot it a mile away – and only ever think of you as ‘the competition’.
Making the right hires
As your business grows, you must perfect the skill of hiring the right people. Your hires are a reflection of your company, so it’s critical to get them right. Look for people who demonstrate in interest in their work outside of hours. This doesn’t mean they love working overtime, but that they’re so curious and motivated that they don’t see their job as a job.
For example, if you’re hiring a computer developer, look for a member of a coding club, or someone who spends time working on creative coding projects. If you’re hiring a social media marketing manager, consider one who runs their own successful social media account.
Focus, focus, focus
All of these points come down to one thing: focus. Stay lazer focussed on your goals, and only complete tasks that take you closer to them. Find the problem, focus on it. If you can do that, you’ll be well on your way to growing a successful business over the long term.
Kadir Gunduz is the creator of Virtual Yard – one of Australia’s fastest growing software solutions used by more than 600 car dealers world wide. Kadir Gunduz taught himself to code at age 14 and has since had roles as a senior software developer at advertising agency The Works, before founding the air tasker of online Car sales – Cars For Sale, alongside his previously launched software solution Virtual Yard.