What the Fastest Growing Companies Have in Common

Starting or running a business is a complicated process. It requires commitment, dedication, planning, and a bit of luck. Many businesses fail within the first one or two years, which can cause severe financial loss along with emotional distress. All entrepreneurs dream of having a thriving company, and many reach this goal. Here’s a look at six common characteristics that all fast-growing companies share for some inspiration:

  1. Product/Market Fit

Entrepreneurs are always hardworking and driven, but they need a strong product to succeed. Thriving start-ups always have a revolutionary product that fills a vacuum, providing exactly what customers need. They provide must-have products or experience to clients. Sometimes the niche already exists, while at others, a product can create a need. For example, social media giants like Facebook and Twitter existed, but LinkedIn created a niche by being a network for professionals.

  1. Focusing on the Niche

Start-ups must be laser-focused on a niche for success and growth. They don’t have the manpower or resources to tackle a large market. Focusing on a niche allows companies to specialize in a specific category and fine-tune their products or services. For example, a web development company for small businesses can use a highly customized approach after comprehensive research. This might keep their customer pool small, but it helps companies develop a distinctive identity.

Specializing in a niche has long-term benefits as you generate enough funds for expansion later. The cosmetics company Huda Beauty is a good example of this. It started out selling high-quality fake lashes and established such a strong niche presence that their products set a standard for everyone else. Today, this company has expanded, including other cosmetic items like eye shadows, foundations, lipsticks, etc.

  1. Don’t Disregard Processes that Aren’t Scalable

Modern entrepreneurs can get advice from multiple sources. One of the most common bits of advice is, “keep things scalable.” While this is sound advice, you still need to focus on specific processes that may not be scalable as companies sometimes need to invest in these too. It helps establish a strong presence while having a lasting impression on a customer’s mind.

For example, some start-ups will coddle customers at first with a lot of personal attention. They will offer one-on-one consultations, discounts, accelerated project timelines, etc. None of this is scalable, but it can help companies develop a reputation for excellent customer care. You can roll back these processes slowly while maintaining sound basic customer care systems for long-term benefits.

  1. Constant Focus on Growth – Timely Growth

It isn’t surprising that fast-growing companies are focused on growth, but not all of it can cause large-scale disruption. Most successful start-ups have a meticulous process in place for expansion. These companies plan a slow, relentless march towards growth until it becomes almost inevitable.

For example, Uber has a precise expansion plan for opening up in new cities. They send feelers out, get to know the new market, connect with drivers as well as customers, before developing a unique plan for new markets. They make sure it is primed for Uber’s network before launching operations. This constant, unrelenting march drives long-term success.

  1. Do Things Differently

Sometimes fast-growing companies succeed by shunning traditional practices. They don’t do this arbitrarily but put some thought and research behind it. They look at established practices carefully, identifying their weaknesses before finding more efficient alternatives.

For example, Yelp is such a success because it stayed away from paid reviews or expert testimonies. It relied on 100% community feedback, which worked spectacularly. Yelp became more trustworthy than any other review platform just a few years after its launch.

Establishing a fast-growing company isn’t easy, but it can be done. Just maintain focus and ensure you have the right product.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Outsource

Fast growing companies tend to have a clear sense of their core competencies. Knowing their strengths and weaknesses gives them an edge to take advantage of outsourcing options while they grow.

There are many business functions that may be better handled by a third party, especially during the early phase of a company’s growth. For example, accounting, billing, software development and IT support are all common functions that fast growing company’s may choose to outsource to free up time and resources so they can best focus on the priorities at hand.

As an information technology company with many years of experience, we’ve helped hundreds of clients leverage technology to become more efficient and increase profits. Interested in learning more? Let’s connect. Send us an email or give us a call and we can get the conversation started.

 

6 Common Traits Shared By Successful Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs are some of the most dedicated and determined people around. They have innovative business ideas and are committed to seeing their ideas succeed. Different entrepreneurs have different approaches, but everyone has something to teach newcomers. Many effective people share specific characteristics and habits. Developing these qualities may help on your journey towards success. Follow along for a look at some common traits shared by entrepreneurs who are successful.

  1. Have a Clear Set of Goals and the Determination to Achieve Them

How can you find success without knowing what you’re chasing? Clear goals give people direction and a destination. It helps business owners create a tangible roadmap. There’s a difference between “I want to be an entrepreneur” and “I want to start a marketing company in two years.” One is a vague, undefined dream, while the other is a definite goal with a timeline.

Of course, just setting a goal isn’t enough; you must also follow it through. Create a plan, consult with other experts, get a mentor, do some research, etc. Work towards your goal with determination, as that’s what helps entrepreneurs flourish.

  1. Don’t Shy Away From Risks

Leaving a secure 9-5 job for a shot at entrepreneurship isn’t easy, but that’s not even close to the most significant risks business owners take. Establishing a new venture requires a lot of risks, commitment, and courage. People invest their entire life savings, work tirelessly for years, put their life on hold, make innumerable personal sacrifices, etc., on the path to success.

Entrepreneurs that make it typically take many risks along the way. Failed business owners face bankruptcy, loss of reputation, loss of credibility, and so much more. Overcoming these fears isn’t easy, but every entrepreneur must do it to move forward.

  1. High Level of Confidence and Decisiveness

Many people struggle to make concrete decisions. They dwell over small points, try to find perfect solutions, worry about making wrong choices, etc. All of this indecision may be a sign of low confidence. Mistakes are common, but the fear of making mistakes is more common.  Effective entrepreneurs tend to be decisive and confident. They look at facts, and consider solutions for a short time before making snap decisions and moving forward towards their goals.

There’s a difference between being decisive and being overconfident. A successful entrepreneur strikes the right balance, which helps them reach higher.

  1. Desire to Learn

This sounds like a cliché, but most successful entrepreneurs are avid readers. High-flying individuals never stop trying to learn. Many read books, take up new sports activities, learn new skills, and keep their minds engaged.

A desire for learning serves two purposes; it helps business owners expand their skills and helps keep monotony at bay. Daily work can become boring after a while, even for a self-employed business person. Learning new skills can help keep things interesting while stimulating your mind.

  1. Ability to Accept Failure

Failure is a natural part of life. You will likely face it every day while running a business. A sales pitch might not go through; a client may leave a negative review; a new product launch may go awry, etc. Successful entrepreneurs don’t spend time lamenting over failures. They collect data, look for causes of failure, and then find ways to prevent it from happening again.

This ability to accept a setback separates entrepreneurs who eventually accomplish their goals from those who will ultimately burn out.

  1. Smart with Money

Successful entrepreneurs are smart with money. They are careful when spending, tracking all expenses down to the last cent. Business owners are good at getting financial aid from venture capitalists or investors. They know how to deliver an impressive sales pitch, which gets people interested in investing in their venture.

Being smart with money is essential for entrepreneurial achievement, especially during the early stages of a business. Many ventures go bankrupt even before they have a chance at success.

Fortunately, it is possible to cultivate all of these skills over time and increase your chances of success, as well.  Personal growth is always valuable, regardless of your field. These characteristics can help whether you’re an entrepreneur, student, artist, teacher, or a corporate executive.

As an information technology company with many years of experience, we’ve helped hundreds of clients leverage technology to become more efficient and increase profits. Interested in learning more? Let’s connect. Send us an email or give us a call and we can get the conversation started.

1 out of 5 New Businesses Don’t Make it Past 12 Months – Why?

Failure is a part of being an entrepreneur. People try new business ideas and experiment with different strategies. Sometimes plans pan out, leading to a successful business that can stand the test of time. Other plans fail, and the startup fizzles out within a year of launch. According to statistics, one in five new businesses is unable to survive a year.

The Small Business Association says that around 30% of businesses fail within two years. While these statistics may seem discouraging, don’t let them bring you down. Here are some common reasons why some businesses don’t make it very long:

  1. Little Demand for the Product

A product is only successful if there’s some legitimate demand for it, and the market conditions are suitable. According to a recent survey, around 42% of startups fail simply because there just isn’t enough demand in the market. When you come up with an idea, it is important to spend some time thinking about whether it fills a vacuum.

For example, when Uber was launched, people were frustrated by taxis denying rides or overcharging. There was a market opportunity, which provided a fruitful environment for companies like Uber and Lyft. That’s why these apps became such a notable success.

Think about how a product might impact your target market, conduct comprehensive market research, and surveys. The data will help you determine whether a product idea is worth your time or investment.

  1. Less Integrated Team

Startups typically don’t function like traditional, more established companies. They usually have smaller teams and limited resources, which means every team member wears many hats. Unfortunately, some people have a difficult time taking on a variety of roles. CEOs may stay in one lane, only focused on leading their company. CMOs may consider marketing their responsibility but they may not contribute anywhere else.

Startups have a more organic environment that requires a lot more collaboration. It’s common for CEOs to get their hands dirty on basic tasks just to get the job done. CMOs sometimes take over customer care or human resources as well. A successful startup is an excellent example of how collaboration can yield beneficial results.

  1. Burning Through Resources Quickly

New businesses have limited resources, even if they manage to get significant funding early on. Unless a business venture generates substantial, self-sustaining income, it is vulnerable to failure. Many startups fail because they burn through these initial funds quickly, often because they hire more staff than they need.

New companies must be conservative in their spending, making sure they invest every penny wisely. Sometimes ventures expand a little too rapidly, which spreads the resources thin. Make sure you have a solid foundation, a robust and streamlined team, and reasonable revenue before you focus on expanding. Let a business settle by getting its roots deep in the market first. That’s how business entities stick around for years and even decades or more.

  1. Low Finances

You need money to start a business. Begin looking for financial aid even before starting a business. Make sure you have a pool that will last until you have a steady cashflow. Cut corners and save wherever you can at first as stretching every dollar can help a business last longer.

If a venture can get through financially challenging times in the early months, it has a better chance of surviving.

  1. Bad Location and Internet Presence

Location and internet presence are some of the most influential aspects of most businesses. A shop located in the wrong place isn’t going to attract a lot of traffic. Companies must conduct a thorough location analysis to find a suitable location. They also need a robust online presence with well-developed websites, online reputations, and social media accounts, since a negative online reputation can break a business entirely.

These are some of the most common problems that challenge new businesses. It’s advisable to create strategies to avoid them and stay wary of falling into common traps. This can help improve your chances of success, especially in the early months of starting a business.

As an information technology company with many years of experience, we’ve helped hundreds of clients leverage technology to become more efficient and increase profits. Interested in learning more? Let’s connect. Send us an email or give us a call and we can get the conversation started.

 

5 Stakeholder Questions To Ask Before Starting the Software Development Process

Software development is an intricate process that requires skill, planning and team effort. There are several stakeholders involved in the project, from company executives to various departments within the company.

It isn’t possible to satisfy all of them completely, but you can take their concerns into account before working on the project by asking the right questions. Doing so can help you understand their priorities and plan the development process accordingly. Here’s a list of 5 questions to ask before starting a software development process:

  1. What is the Product?

Projects tend to get out of hand if you don’t have a clear vision in mind. Software developers need to understand what the end product should look like before they even start planning for it. For example, does the company want an app that will help users find the best online deals? Does it want a software program for its HR department?

Stakeholders can provide a list of features or ideas for the end product to make things easier for a development team. If there’s any dispute about the final product, this will be the best time to resolve it. Make sure everyone is on the same page before proceeding.

  1. What is Not a Part of the Product?

Developers can sometimes go overboard and add features or elements that aren’t necessary. That happens if they don’t know what should be excluded from the final product. For example, if a website is only delivering to the US, there’s no need to include a feature to convert prices to other currencies. In many cases, stakeholders assume their development team is going to deliver something, but the latter is unaware of it. It is essential to establish what you will and won’t deliver.

  1. What is a Successful Product?

Software programs are tools designed to achieve a specific goal or purpose. A company creates a website if they want to establish a presence online. They design an app if they want to build a robust and long-term customer base. They develop a software application to make daily processes easier. If the product fulfills these goals, it is considered successful.

The end goal isn’t to deliver a good product; it is to provide a product that succeeds in the market. There’s a clear difference between these two goals. For example, a website can be beautiful and functional but still not provide all the services the target audience needs. Stakeholders should define what a successful product means to them at the start of the project.

  1. Do We Have a Single Point of Communication?

This is one of the most challenging aspects of project management. The project starts with one team and one client, but eventually, a large number of people start becoming part of the process. The IT guy must approve one aspect of the design, the other should please the marketing expert, and so on.

If these people start offering suggestions or requesting changes, the project can quickly get out of control. It is crucial to establish a single point of communication between stakeholders, clients, and development teams. You can maintain a smooth flow of information while keeping track of numerous requests.

  1. What are the Potential Roadblocks or Problems?

No one likes to discuss problems before they work on a project, but you need to address it. Gather all stakeholders together and ask them about possible hurdles. Can the project run out of money? What happens if some temporary contractors don’t live up to expectations? What if the client changes their mind in the middle of the project? If you know about possible hurdles, you can develop systems to counteract them.

These questions will help a team start their project on a firm foundation. Don’t hesitate to ask questions to stakeholders; the answers will help improve the quality of your end product.

At Number8, our philosophy is to empower our clients to produce better software, faster. We are experts in augmenting scrum teams with senior consultants that can help increase team velocity immediately. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page.