Success in business comes from three essential ingredients: a product, a marketing plan and sound financial management. Without any one of these ingredients, your business will never flourish. Granted, it may be around for a while, but most likely it will not produce to its full potential. The success of your business relies on the ability to develop and maintain a balanced triangle of this trio.
Your business must deliver something, real or imagined, that others are willing to pay for — at a profit to you. Your specialized gizmo is what sets you apart from others and creates the special niche that only you can fill.
Then, you must get the word out. It wouldn’t matter if you have the greatest product in the world if no one ever knows about it. Communicating the value your product or service allows consumers to recognize that you have what they need or want, and how to get it. Sometimes elaborate and sometimes simple, this essential ingredient is mandatory for your business to grow or even survive.
Just as important is the financial management of your business. Money and financial management are the most difficult concepts that entrepreneurs grapple with. Often, they can provide the goods or services, but don’t collect payments. Or, they don’t schedule bill-paying to avoid fees or gain the discounts, fail to plan for taxes before the end of the year, or fail to ensure that cash-flow exists and is maintained and managed. The inability to properly use this simple ingredient has destroyed more businesses than have poor products.
Play to your strengths
Many businesses undoubtedly succeed with this solid recipe of a great product, marketing and financial management. And, generally speaking, this trio is not found in one person, so you have to get help in your weaker areas. You must bring in people with abilities in areas where you lack expertise. For example, if you design the product, you are probably not going to have either enough time or talent to also market it, and keep the books straight, too. Focus on your best aspect and add in the people to fill the other segments of the triangle that balance your strengths.
This is why the fourth ingredient is so essential.
The fourth ingredient
The human resource ingredient makes all the difference.
Without high-quality employees that staff your trio of ingredients, the greatest product, the best marketing and incredible financial management will fail. The people in your business are the bedrock for the rest of the structure to balance upon. They deliver the product or service, are responsible for quality control (or lack thereof), product modifications and adaptations to new needs. The people in the business determine the way the product is perceived, advanced and implemented — for the good or bad.
Knowing that the human component of the recipe determines the performance of the rest of the ingredients, it’s important to choose the best employees, and then provide top-quality training and education to keep them in a strong position to support the rest of the triangle above.
There are only two methods of finding these human-resource nuggets: hire a finished one or build them yourself. Be prepared to pay for the talent when you hire, because you get what you pay for.
And if you decide to build them, realize most people need to hear the same things 11 times for it to become their own. That means lots of different ways of delivering the same information, patience and determination for the task.
Either way, keep in mind that you are building someone that you will want to keep around, so instill good habits in that person through on-going training and skill development.
<i>Mary Kraft dairies with her husband, Chris, near Fort Morgan, Colo.</i>