If you’ve read Andrew Morris’s and Phil Shipperlee’s articles on the most important things in business, you may already have arrived at the conclusion that there’s no definitive correct answer as really successful businesses need much more than simply two or three key drivers. I’m almost with Andrew on his three but not quite and to make it interesting would throw my hat behind some more specifics which I think apply to ALL businesses:-
1) IDEAS – Yes but specifically a genuine and sustainable product (or service) USP i.e. something that customers will want and continue to want and that’s significantly better than the competition because USP is the key driver of sustainable margin
2) PEOPLE – Yes but specifically people who can SELL brilliantly and with integrity because they’re the people that get and retain the customers.
If I get a third choice it would be BELIEF from the top
I’ve excluded CASH simply because not all businesses need significant cash up front to succeed. Given my background it won’t surprise you to know I’m also a huge believer in brands but I’m not sure ALL successful businesses need necessarily be brand led either.
Contemporary examples of Google, Facebook and Twitter are interesting but in all three cases, while the branding has been fantastic, for me the core driver behind each has been great product / great USP before the branding.
One example from my own personal experience is Innocent Drinks which went from nothing to £30m + without either significant cash injection or significant marketing spend behind the brand. There was one point in its early development when the key soft drink market players were made aware that a stake in the company could be had for a relatively small investment (I recall about £400k) – I remember looking at it for Tropicana on behalf of PepsiCo but by the time the corporate M&A wheels had turned to evaluate it (about three months) the founders had traded their way to such fantastic growth that they no longer needed external money. It was many years later (and about 3x bigger) that they sold a big stake to Coke and I suspect that had less to do with the business needing cash than the owners want to cash in.
The USP of Innocent’s products was its key driver – not it’s branding – it gave them zero competition because they created a new market completely
So my formula for a successful business would be:
great product + great selling and a total belief in success
= successful business.
About the Author
Gordon is a passionate businessman, having spent most of his 30-year working life personally leading food and beverage businesses up to MD level. He led the Tropicana UK Fruit Juice business for thirteen years, from start up in 1991 to become the UK’s Number 1 Juice brand with revenues exceeding £150m by 2004. For the past five years, as both an industry consultant, a Chairman for the Academy for Chief Executives and certified Goal Mapping practitioner, his focus has been dedicated to coaching, mentoring and facilitating the personal and business growth of MD’s, CEO’s and their teams. As an ACE chairman, Gordon’s focus is on helping members, both collectively at meetings and individually through 1:1 mentoring, to be clear about the goals they want to achieve for themselves and their businesses and to find the best ways to be successful at both. Find out more about Gordon Bromley’s Surrey-based Academy for Chief Executives Group >>