6 Keys to Success from Day One

Many organizations focus on “catching-up” – they launched their business some time in the past and as they reflect, they indentify action necessary to repair the damage done or address missed opportunities.  Early in the development of your enterprise, there are some simple and critical steps that can have lasting positive impact for the future, if you take the time to address what may be emerging concerns


  • Understand your vision for the future and what values will guide you on your journey.  Being grounded in your values helps you to focus on your market and increases the likelihood of success.


  • Clarify the expectations you have for yourself, as well as those working with you.  The essential elements include discussion and negotiation of specific deliverables with accountabilities and timelines, as well as renegotiation vs. non-communication when environmental factors intrude on best-laid plans. This is an area where leaders need to be exceptionally vigilant because the lack of accountability quickly undermines employee trust in the true intentions of management.


  • Create basic data that is used to guide discussion as you progress.  Early-stage businesses often are overwhelmed by this task and then disregard it.  Whether a simple spreadsheet or tally on a legal pad, paying attention to your progress and sharing it will allow you to accelerate your growth.


  • Make your customers the center of your business universe and communicate this to them as well as everyone in your organization.  While one can make the case that employees are also customers, the people that pay for your goods and services are the people that generate employee paychecks and benefits.


  • Pay and incentivize your employees in a manner that provides a foundation for the future of your organization.  The quality of your employees, especially management, is the first thing that many customers appreciate.


  • Continually focus on having the right people in the right positions on the bus.  Be honest about when it is working and make changes when it isn’t.  The biggest problem for entrepreneurs is they wait too long to make changes and hope that time will heal misalignment (it doesn’t).


There are other important factors, including practical issues like adequate cash flow, but human capital, creativity and intelligence almost always trump financial capital.