What Makes A Successful Company?
It seems the timing couldn’t be better to tackle such a question, considering the world is recovering from a global monetary shakedown. The world is waking up from a violent hangover and all nations are looking to their home grown industries to sober them up and resuscitate their economies. It’s never been more important to know what makes a successful company.
What Exactly Is A Company?
According to BusinessDictionary.com, a company is a voluntary association formed and organised to carry on a business. In ironic fashion, I typed into the search bar of an extremely successful business (Google) what a company was and I was presented with 2,510,000,000 results in what was probably a record breaking time of 0.31 seconds. I was given the word ‘Company‘ along with its correct phonetic representation and audio file icon to click just in case I wanted to hear what it sounded like, in case I was blind. I was given both forms in which the word company can appear (noun and verb) and I was given two dictionary meanings along with a list of synonyms to get the message across of what a company is, just in case I didn’t understand the first 5 synonyms.
Further down there was an arrow icon sitting comfortably in quiet confidence at the bottom of the box. I clicked it and it elongated like a flight of extendable stairs revealing yet more. There was an origin of the word ‘company‘ which actually comes from the old French words ‘compainie‘ and ‘compaignon‘ which is middle English for company (I just learned something).
The making of a successful compmany – A comprehensive guide to joining the pantheon of money making machines
Underneath was a footnote to explain the very cool lexicon diagram that would make any English lecturer proud. Underneath this was another neat section cleanly segregated from the rest with a near transparent bar. This section was entitled “translate ‘company’ to – choose language”. You can choose the language you want to see. Underneath that was another section which is entitled ‘use over time for ‘company’ followed by a chart that looked like a mountain range with the year 1800 stretching all the way to 2010 underneath.
I was blown away Google’s ability to satisfy my craving with such precision and careful catering. I began to ponder what intricate business model they used. Whatever it was, customer service and experience was right up there with the important stuff.
The Golden Rule Of Brilliant Customer Service
Max Nisen, a reporter for Business Insider spoke to Deloitte Services Director Michael Raynor last year about the book he co-authored, ‘The Three Rules How Exceptional Companies Think.’
One of those key rules was aptly explained:
Better Before Cheaper
You can often sell more than a competitor by slashing prices. But eventually the competitor will bring prices down as well. The only way to consistently win is to find a way to make your product better, more available, build an appealing brand, or provide better service. In other words, you must differentiate yourself in a meaningful way beyond price.
Google ticked every single box this rule highlighted. They have made their product better and definitely more available through intense and clever marketing building an appealing brand making it set aside from its peers. Google go above and beyond to fulfil everything they stipulate in their mission/vision statement which reads as follows;
Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
For a company to truly be successful it requires time and study. Seeing what works, sustaining it and improving it, while publicising themselves continuously because you won’t know about a company, or what they offer unless they’ve advertised, or had customers pass on their information through word of mouth and a brilliant recommendation of sorts in testimonial fashion. This is why wowing your customers with quality service is so important. Reviews are now even easier to leave with the internet age. People remember a good experience and they’ll return for more if you’ve impressed them and most likely with others to share in the experience your company provides.
The workers in a company are not just important, they are paramount. They are the cogs in the machine that make the machine move. Without them there is no company. This is why it is so very important to make sure those who are in your employ are happy and willing to work and will work. Will Ashworth of Forbes, puts it concisely when he says “Any company that’s truly interested in customer satisfaction must first meet the needs of its employees; otherwise, it’s putting the cart before the horse… Employees are the face of any brand. The quickest way to destroy brand equity is to disrespect them. Once you’ve lost trust, it’s only a matter of time before you lose the customer. Without customers, you have no business! …”
Where Are We And Where Are We Going?
There is no point having a fantastic set of individuals working for you if you don’t know what you are trying to achieve. Yahoo found themselves struggling under the constraints of a form and mission statement that had simply gone stale in the wake of slimmer more focussed and concise set of companies that knew where they were, what they were and exactly where they wished to be.
More than anything, a successful company needs a mission statement and a vision statement. What’s the difference I hear you ask? A mission statement hones in on what the company is, it’s current state, or form, whereas a vision statement hones in on the company’s future. Together the two work as a compass that will help greatly in navigating the company to the isles of prosperity.
The Harvard Business Review hosts Michael Raynor under the name Michael E. Raynor, along with co-author Mumtaz Ahmed as they present their findings, having wafted through intense research spanning 30 years looking at 25,000 companies that have traded on the U.S. exchanges. They identify three consistent rules that certain companies consciously or unconsciously employed.
The second rule in the triumvirate reads thus,
Revenue Before Cost
Putting revenue before cost means prioritizing increasing revenue over reducing costs.
That is to say, a successful business is one that isn’t scared to put their money where their mouth is and make what’s working for them better and bigger. Reducing costs just won’t ‘cut’ it – pun intended.
Business Insider puts it another way,
“The companies that were most successful over the long run didn’t get there by being the leanest, least expensive operations. They won out by charging higher prices and increasing volume. Cost-cutting can be an effective short-run strategy, but it doesn’t last.”
Testament to the fact that the race is not of the swift but of the one who has trained in long distance jogging rather than short distance sprints. A company’s main aim is to make profit, but in order to do so one must spend one’s profit proving true that old adage – you have to spend money to make money.
Your employees make the company. They are the cells in the living organism that make it up. They all have functions and duties and they all need to be giving their all. But like cells, employees are replaced; some get pregnant, some leave, some quit and some get fired. There are those who you know are basically the furniture; they’re so ingrained into the company you couldn’t picture it without them. Then there are the captains who rally and lead people when we’re in late night territory. And of course there are the future managers who have all the seeds of greatness in them and in time will make great commanders in chief in their own right.
Employees are the face of any brand. The quickest way to destroy brand equity is to disrespect them. Once you’ve lost trust, it’s only a matter of time before you lose the customer. Without customers, you have no business!
A successful company is able to sift through their work force and identify who is there for a career and who is there for a job, and find innovative and encouraging ways to ensure both groups know and understand that for as long as they are part of the company, they are part of the family. There needs to be a guarantee that they will be given respect and recognition for their every effort, and if they wish for it, they’ll be given opportunities to blossom and step up the ladder or maybe just learn something more to become more versatile.
It isn’t a case of job vs career if the guarantee is universal and inspires the employees to honour the mission and vision statements to the letter. Work needs to be more than just a means to the money; it needs to be purposeful synecdoche – like cells in a body.