The Secret Ingredients in Every Successful CompanyFounders of successful companies are often asked the secret to their success. Their answers are dependent upon the individual’s area of expertise. Those with a marketing background credit explain how their marketing strategy launched the company. People who come from a service background tout exceptional service as the catalyst for growth. Both are right. A combination of solid marketing and quality service is a requirement for successful companies.
A company doesn’t have to have top-notch marketing and service to be successful. Great marketing can ease the pain of less than stellar service. Exceptional service creates its own marketing. But there are two ingredients a company needs for long-term sustainable growth that neither marketing nor service provides. Without them, the company will self-destruct.
The secret ingredients needed are systems and processes to effectively and efficiently fulfill the promises made to customers. You’ll rarely hear a founder attributing success to systems and processes because they aren’t sexy like marketing or praiseworthy like service. Systems and processes are functional and functional things are, well, boring. Marketing is exciting. Service is inspirational. Explaining a process that reduces costs while expediting shipping is “ho hum” at best.
High growth companies succeed when they have flexible systems and processes that adapt to changing demands. Without a systematic ability to streamline functions, they are doomed to failure. The business starts out strong, driven by marketing and service, and then self-destructs in a sea of customer complaints and out of control costs.
To create a foundation for sustainable growth:
Review every process in your company for need, efficiency, and effectiveness. Processes are often created for a short term need and then kept out of habit. Continuing to use outdated processes is inefficient and expensive.
Streamline processes to make them as efficient as possible. Eliminate every step that isn’t mandatory for success. Unnecessary steps reduce productivity and increase time for completion.
Evaluate systems on a cost/return basis. The combination of company growth and technological advances can render systems obsolete. If a system doesn’t deliver improved service or reduced costs, it is time to find one that does.
Look for areas that need systems and processes. Reinventing the wheel is a costly process. Find ways to expedite every function within the company.
Get organized. Implement a company wide organization initiative that provides easy access to the information needed. Timely access improves service and reduces cost.
Think people first. Systems and processes should always serve people. The experience of customers, prospects, and employees should always be considered when managing workflow.
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