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Good judgment comes from experience, but experience comes from bad judgments. Nowhere is that more true than in entrepreneurial growth.
Especially after an unprecedented stretch of supercharged digital transformation, the time is ripe for brands to reflect on what has and hasn’t worked well for their business, and what needs to shift in order to move successfully toward their next goal. Slow growth is no longer an option — the new imperative is smart growth based on future evolution and the key tenets needed to get there.
Look beyond the usual suspects.
The journey forward requires the right people at the helm as well as the best talent in place to support them. Keeping a steadfast eye on what’s coming around the corner is essential. By painting a picture of what that vision looks like, including the infrastructure, technology, talent and methodology needed to support it, an entrepreneur ensures that everyone on their team knows unequivocally what they are looking to achieve.
Of course, the basics must always be in place. On the financial side, it’s important to have an expert in place with the business acumen and understanding of the company’s balance sheet and cash flow. Tangible factors covered, an entrepreneur has the room needed to act as visionary and evangelist, articulating the brand story and goals while persuading, encouraging, motivating and inspiring their team. By engaging an equally resolute tactician, those goals can be supported with a practical guide to what its defining objectives look like and what initiatives are required to deliver them.
Beyond those initial pillars, putting the best talent in place comes back to the future vision of the brand and an emphasis on the core values needed to get there. Talent must align with the tenets of continuity, consistency and complete buy-in to the mission at hand. While aptitude ranks as a required skill, a visionary will put more emphasis on core values and the ability to bring problem-solving, passion, positivity and accountability to the mission as better predictors of success.
Step back and listen to the right people
By assembling a team of like-minded professionals, an entrepreneur creates the opportunity for internal development as well as brand growth. Put simply, the right people are in place to make the right decisions. A business owner focused on smart growth knows when to engage their superpowers and when to listen to those who have more experience, knowledge or skill than they do.
To fuel such collaboration, the hierarchy concept must go. Delegation of responsibilities is an outdated concept that doesn’t feed vision — only distributed accountability can do that. When an entrepreneur has the right person in place to take accountability for something, they can hand off that responsibility with an understanding of how it contributes to the collective goal. Across teams, this feeds a sense of ownership around the goals of the business, a far greater motivator than delegated tasks.
As much as an entrepreneur must listen to those within their team, equally important is ignoring those outside of it who don’t share the vision. As the saying goes, don’t listen to criticism from people you wouldn’t seek advice from. When an entrepreneur falls into the trap of managing their business to the anomalies or the complaintive minority, they risk slowing the momentum made by the productive majority driving the business.
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Breed confidence through brand equity
Much of the value in a business comes from confidence, the belief in the vision, the direction or the opportunity it presents. That certainty can help a business attract the best talent, win the right financing or secure the strongest partners. The reputation that springs from those interactions must then be continuously earned for it to be sustainable. Under-promise, over-deliver isn’t good enough. Brands must over-promise and over-deliver in a world where impressions are seeded in a matter of seconds. A business that makes a promise and doesn’t come through in today’s digital landscape will feel the ramifications within a few seconds, whether it be a negative review or unfavorable media coverage. Those exposures stick. Entrepreneurs need to be realistic when choosing products or projects to bring to the marketplace so they continue to achieve goals.
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Read the (digital) room
The power of platforms like Amazon, Google and Facebook quickly changed the game in today’s branding marketplace. Businesses need to adapt from planning against media channels to strategizing across platforms, including implementing the technical infrastructure, capabilities and assets to optimize all of them.
For a growing business, it can be complex. Media budgets that once covered billboards and television ads must now be stretched across seemingly limitless channels, requiring brands to work exponentially harder to catch consumer attention. Demographics have become fragmented, with constantly shifting trends around the demand for live, on-demand mobile content. Campaigns need to be delivered in bite-sized chunks while keeping messaging from being diluted in the process. Entrepreneurs struggling to navigate the digital jungle can often become overburdened, sacrificing time needed to focus on strategy and the evolution of the brand. Bringing in a digital partner is one way to convert an obstacle to an advantage while freeing up the company visionary to do what they do best.
New business concepts hold tremendous value in a landscape ripe with opportunity. By focusing on goals, vision, talent and resources, an entrepreneur opens the door to smart growth, brand equity and continued relevance — everything that breeds staying power and success.
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