The 7 Principles of a Successful Business
Just as there are different managing styles, there are also many different businesses models that find success. Some industries require more creative models than others. Some need a unique hook while others thrive on perfect execution. Whatever the case, there are many approaches to success. But if you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur, how do you know which one is best for you?
On season 6 episode 34 of the Making Bank Podcast, guest George Bryant chats about the seven principles that make up a successful business. As a digital marketing specialist, Bryant has worked with thousands of brands to help them grow. He has helped new and experienced entrepreneurs, and in that time, he has found that the most successful businesses across fields share the same qualities.
So, if you’re not quite sure what business model to embrace, you can embrace these qualities first.
Listen to What the Customer Actually Wants
The first trait of a successful business is listening to the customers and their needs. While this may seem obvious, Bryant says that you’d be surprised by how many owners don’t do this. Instead, they think they know what the customers want, and try to force that on them. However, if people aren’t interested or in need of your product, they won’t buy it. And if enough people aren’t buying, you’re going to have a problem.
So, instead of assuming what they want, ask them. Survey your customers. Listen to their concerns. Pay attention to what they do—or don’t do—and make sure to adjust the business from there.
Everything You Do has to be Learning or Serving
Any business decision, product launched, or interaction should be for the purpose of serving your customer. If what you’re doing isn’t serving them, then it should be to help you learn more about what they need. If you aren’t either learning or serving, then you are wasting time, energy and money. If you’re exerting your energy and time in a direction in which your customers don’t want to go, you won’t help them, the business, or yourself.
So, when considering any business decision, ask yourself how it teaches you more about your customers, or how it serves them.
Build Long-Term Relationships, Not One Night Stands
Do you want customers to interact with your business once? No! You want them to keep coming back. So, Bryant believes in building life-long connections. That starts with acknowledging that you can’t always prioritize hooking new customers. Sometimes, you need to focus on the existing ones.
Bryant gives the example of cart abandonment. If a customer places something in their cart but doesn’t buy, many companies will send a reminder email. They may even send an email threatening to delete the item or a deal attached to it. This tone, however, associates you with negativity. Instead, think of ways to improve the relationship. Your potential customer couldn’t pull the trigger. Why?
Why don’t you find out? Send an email, a survey, or a gift of some kind to reignite the interaction. You may be surprised by how many people will come back.
Have Two-way Conversations, Not One-way Lectures
Who wants to be lectured into buying something? Very few, and yet, many businesses still do this. To Bryant, this is still one of the biggest mistakes he still sees. For example, if you’re posting on your social media, you need to respond to comments. Too many times has Bryant seen potential customers asking questions in the comments without getting a respond. What this does is train your potential customers into thinking they’re not important enough for a response. Eventually, they will stop asking, and no longer be potential customers.
If a potential customer asks the same question under two brands’ Instagram posts and only one brand responds, then that person will become their customer for life. Because here’s the thing. By creating two-way conversations, you’re making people feel seen and heard—and they won’t forget that. They also won’t forget when you make them feel ignored.
Leave No One Behind
For Bryant, the principal of no one left behind means that every person feels like they matter at every step of the journey, whether they buy or not. In other words, don’t use scarcity to shame people into remaining your customers. For example, don’t threaten to take people off your email list, or remove an item in their cart, as a way to spur them into action. As with the cart abandonment or other scare tactics, it associates your brand with unnecessary negativity.
To Bryant, this principle is rooted in having a moral obligation to everyone that comes across your brand.
If It Can be Personal, It Must Be
This principle has to do with scaling one-on-one. While scaling is looking at the big picture, it must be done through individualized actions. For example, your posts on TikTok, Instagram and Facebook must all be personalized to those platforms. If you write captions applicable to those apps, people will feel the customization in the message. Likewise, people will notice when you post the same content and writing across all spaces and will feel like you’re just shelling information out.
Everyone Matters, Whether They Give You Their Credit Card or Not
The last, but arguably the most important principle, is treating everyone with the same amount of respect and kindness and continuing to do so. This may look like making sure no interaction ends on a bad note. If someone can’t buy, ask them what you can do to help, survey them, or give them other content. See if you can provide value in another way. Essentially, you are finding a way to convert that no into a yes, or at least a neutral. If you can neutralize any bad interactions your customers have, then they will remember that and come to you next time.