Jack's Sandbox Story. "Jack grew up in a sandbox building company. After Jack grew up he built his own sandbox and filled it with coffee. People liked Jack's sandbox and he ran his sandbox well. Pretty soon other people started asking Jack how he built his sandbox, so Jack started teaching and training others on how to build their own sandbox and fill it with coffee. "Jack's sandbox and sandbox consulting company were so successful the owner of a really big sandbox bought Jack's sandbox and sandbox consulting company and added them to his large sandbox. He left Jack in charge of his former sandbox and even gave him authority over some of his large sandbox. "Pretty soon Jack and his new boss's ideas of how to run coffee-filled sandbox operations clash and Jack realizes it's time to leave. Of course when Jack left, he could build sandboxes, teach others how to build sandboxes and even help them build sandboxes...well, as long as the is no coffee in the sand 😉."
(Before I start, I am in retail, so my answer comes from that perspective).
Success comes from all the usual - good business model, great product, strong business foundation, working capital, etc. But, the one thing that is hard to control is "buzz". You of course must do all the obvious things as listed above, things you probably know, but getting a product noticed in a crowded marketplace is virtually impossible.
Of course, everything depends on your goals and what you want to make of this business - do you want a 500K business, or a 500M business. But, if you can separate your product from the rest by having a real edge, something very different and marketable (not just that you think it is, or people around you who like you tell you it is), or you can connect with another company or individual or celebrity who can give you a leg up.
Other than that, hard work, integrity and building a team of great people, and then applying liberal amounts of patience, will give you the best chance of long term success.
Depends on your industry. I love what Red Robin did when they came to my town. They sent out packets to a select group of the community and invited them for a free lunch in the two weeks prior to opening. Guests received a controlled, informative, free lunch for four and the company received a 2 week training event for a whole group of new staff. Even though I don't eat their often, I have such a positive view of the company based on what they did and recommend them to others.
Hope that helps!
I often tell people if my manager and I think alike, one of us is unnecessary. And that means the potential for conflict.
Conflict is a term I associate with a negative connotation. But, differing ideas and opinions are extremely important in a business. How does one know if they have a strong idea, if no one challenges it.
Of course challenging a superior must be based on a relationship of trust, but building a team with strong leadership will establish that trust and enable team members to work together in a healthy and positive way. And also have systems in place to handle situations that could escalate if not handle correctly.
I have been in a position of conflict many times with a member or members of my team. Sometimes they were wrong, and many times I was wrong. Strong teams can handle the bumps in the road and will actually come out the other side stronger.
My experience is based on my industry (retail/restaurant), but many of the principles are the same.
1. It may sound overly obvious, but it cannot be overstated - hiring is critical. You need to determine the role the person(s) will fulfill and then be very systematic in hiring. An accurate application process, interview, second and third interview and follow up must be done.
2. To attract the person(s) you want is more than who they are, it is also who you are. If you don't have a strong and positive image (it may be small at this point, but you still deal with people), create systems, benchmarks and followup on insuring that hires meet their goals, all your work is in vain.
3. Be a company that connects with your community and is a positive influence in your sphere.
4. You should make your need known. Not needy, but if you don't tell people, you'll never know who might have connected with you.
5. Finally, other factors.
a. Pay – not necessarily the most important item, but if the amount of pay and the employee’s needs don’t come close, the relationship will be short-lived.
b. Benefits – many small businesses cannot afford major benefits (health insurance, paid vacation, etc.) but even small benefits are valued.
c. Lifestyle – scheduling, job function and atmosphere should mesh with an employee’s personality.
d. Advancement – responsibilities will enable people to grow in their job.
e. Passion – find and connect with people passionate about your product.
I hope that helps!