02 Apr The key traits for a successful company
The race towards entrepreneurship does hide some pitfalls, because many improvise themselves as entrepreneurs and have no proper previous experience.
In fact, starting and managing a company involves a whole series of fundamental skills that are not taught in school, but are acquired in the field.
Skills that lead to the definition of a common structure for all companies that are successful in the current market.
Let’s see the main traits that a company must have in order to succeed:
• Internationalisation: right from the beginning, a successful company must have an aptitude for export and expansion towards foreign markets. This is especially true for Italian agricultural holdings that are able to produce excellent products, which are sought after all over the world. Other sectors devoted to export are, for example, tourist services and quality clothing.
• Mild debt: Italian entrepreneurs tend to underestimate the importance of marketing. Almost all companies invest their entire budget in the production of the product, leaving the marketing sector without sufficient funds. For a company to be successful, it must start out without debts and with proper budget planning, so as not to leave vital sectors, such as advertising, uncovered.
• Predisposition for internet: the web market is growing every year and although the giants of the web dominate the market, there are still commercial spaces available. A company must have its own online presence, which needs to be cared for in detail by a team of professionals.
• Brand: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has perfectly summarised the concept of brand: A brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”. Building a brand means investing in the long term, it means putting the customers in front of everything else, this is what will make the difference.
Margins: you can have the most beautiful company in the world, but if there are no profit margins it is perhaps best to look into another sector. Before launching a company, you need to create a complete business plan where you calculate costs and sales prices in order to have proper planning and a clear vision of the future. Just as in any analysis, there are margins of error, but good research will reduce the business risks.
• Flexibility: a successful company is also a company capable of modifying its business model if necessary. Each historical period is characterised by economic cycles, from expansionary phases to recessionary phases. A flexible company is able to adapt to these changes and to draw strength in and from every phase.
• Patience: often the winner is not the one who arrives first, but the one who doesn’t give up. Many expect immediate results, which may make them give up just right before success arrives. The successful company is also the company that knows how to wait without giving up.
• Self-criticism: pride in business as well as in life is the number one enemy of success. Making mistakes is human, persevering is diabolical. Many companies fail because they will not budge from their own convictions, they are unable to accept any mistakes made, to self-criticise and then move forward.
Applying these concepts certainly does not guarantee the success of a company, but contrarily not applying them does guarantee its failure.
The statistics are clear, one company out of two closes within 5 years of opening, and the crisis is certainly not always the one to blame.
In fact, it is the choices that the entrepreneurs themselves make that usually cause commercial activities to close prematurely, closures that could often be avoided if the principles listed above are implemented.