It’s effortless to think that any “self-made” successful person is the one responsible for everything that happened to them. Of course, this isn’t that silly a notion, such a person would have been a variety of systems in motion, applied insight, dared to move forward, and made it through the tough times.
That being said, no one truly achieves anything as and by themselves. Take the case of Alex Honnold, star of the Oscar-winning Free Solo documentary, and the first man to climb the El Capitan summit in California without any ropes.
Sure, his unbelievable physical feat and risky behavior gave him an unbelievable accolade, but at the same time, he didn’t do it alone. He still used climbing shoes designed for the task, he still mapped and planned out the root using ropes he didn’t design or manufacture beforehand, and of course, he didn’t create the mountain over millions of years either. He didn’t map out that route himself, it was known before, only he was the first to climb it without ropes and put in a world-class athletic display as a result.
Now, this might sound a little pedantic, because, after all, he deserves full and enduring credit for his unbelievable achievement. Yet at the same time, he would be the first one to admit that the stunt would mean nothing without those assistive necessities to make the journey possible.
We can take lessons from this journey. Namely, if we’re just starting in business life (perhaps opening your enterprise for the first time), it’s essential to admit that no business, like no man, is an island. Here’s why, and how that knowledge can help you avoid taking success for granted.
Put simply, many businesses would collapse within a few months without robust supplier networks. This is because just-in-time deliveries to improve efficiency, the need to turn around manufactured items quickly, and retaining the same standard as needed for customer expectations are all essential to the modern supply network.
That’s why it’s healthy to avoid assuming your suppliers will always and constantly be available. Sometimes, they might not be, could encounter supply issues, or may just close up business. This is why during the pandemic so many firms with industry-leading tech firms, like Sony, had trouble selling flagship products like their Playstation 5, because silicon chips were in short supply and highly-priced due to overbearing demand.
As such, spending a healthy amount of time managing your supplier network will always be the most practical business advice.
Companies are better when they work together, as opposed to solely competing. After all, industries and markets can be shared for the most part, unless the niche industry amounts to a tiny section of the population.
Strategic partnerships can take root in many ways. For example, you’ll often see tech brands make their software compatible with others. You may use Notion as your main note-taking platform, but they’ll still offer Evernote integration in case you need to port all of your old notebooks across. We’ve increasingly seen this in the video gaming space (one to watch as the biggest entertainment industry on the planet), and how many competing brands will now make their titles cross-platform, so people who play online can do so against others without an artificial walled garden.
We’ve also seen Samsung and Google announce a closer partnership in the development of AI, allowing for a spearheaded mutual effort against the innovations of Microsoft and Apple. Taking that first confident step forward to develop outreach could be the wisest approach your company has taken thus far and a great method of launching from a small to intermediate level in your industry. No matter if it’s collaborative marketing or a mutual manufacturing effort (Apple iPhone screens are manufactured by Samsung, after all), two heads are always better than none.
It’s good to be involved in your local business community. Not only does it grant you an understanding of who you’re competing against, but also what the scene and culture is like. Don’t take this for granted, because a clear-eyed approach can help you continue to offer unique value in your area.
Attending local business conferences, putting on booths, revealing products or services there, sponsoring the local sports team, all of this is a form of marketing but also helps you develop your authority in that space.
Sure, you might not be limited to your local area forever, but for the most part, we will be connected to it. Understanding that can help you move forward with confidence and develop a stringent plan going forward.
Customer Feedback Integration
While it may seem nice to have a customer base that just accepts whatever you give them, pays for it, and moves on, the truth is that no company can thrive without essential feedback helping them develop and grow.
After all, such feedback is absolutely essential. If you can remain focused, attentive, and proactive about the feedback you’re working on, over time, that can lead to a great deal of worth.
Regularly review your customer support interactions, your reviews, and the most common complaints. This can be used to help make you aware of problems early and develop a coherent response going forward. It may even alert you to certain issues you wouldn’t have known otherwise, like 404’d web pages on your website, or perhaps payment processing problems. Without customer feedback, any commercial approach is doomed to follow narrow thinking and suffer as a result.
It’s very easy to criticize modern marketing methods for a whole host of reasons – namely that much of the “content” produced is a slave to the algorithm, and that’s never a fun way to organically promote a business.
That being said, community engagement has never been better, and this is the positive side that many doomsayers often ignore. Never before has it been easier to reach out to those in a specific company and ask them a question, thank them, or complain.
Community engagement also means you as a business can put messages out there quickly and cleanly, from implementing a status page on your website that tracks uptime, to an X account that posts updates for your brand, all the way to developing a newsletter that helps you keep prior customers informed and interested in what you have to offer. Communication is the lifeblood of a modern business, and that means structuring a healthy approach diligently into your process.
A Mutual Approach For Good
Ultimately, a business is a platform, and you can use your revenue for more than just keeping your business going, even if this is the priority. For example, for every ten orders of your product, you might donate a mattress to a local homeless shelter through one of your sponsors or advertising partners.
Or, perhaps you can fundraise for a charity every summer during some of the mainline sporting events. We’ve mentioned sponsoring a sports team, or perhaps you could sponsor your local disability awareness group. Moreover, perhaps your business is keen to hire ex-convicts who are looking to get their feet back into the world and learn how to develop a better, healthier approach to their lives, perhaps by offering chef jobs to ex-prisoners.
This not only allows you to do good in the world, but it can raise your business standing, grant you legitimacy and authenticity in the local area, and help you develop a better and more forward-focusing planned effort. With a little positive intent, you’d be amazed at how many people get on board. Moreover, this could help you flourish in the long run.
Affiliate Marketing Programs
Sometimes, you can ask your customers to do the work for you. Through affiliate marketing, you can run a program that allows people to direct others to your services, perhaps even earning credit as they do. That might come in the firm of a cash reward if an individual sends three people your way, or a discount if they advertise your business for a little while.
We often see this outside of households, where renovative work is advertised with a banner while the homeowner is given a stringent discount on work conducted for the effort. This way, you help encourage natural word of mouth, even if that flies beyond your marketing department.
Advice & Insight Is Essential
You are never too successful to learn and benefit from something new. Implementing advice that works for your business can be a fantastic place to start. Moreover, looking at niche-specific column such as blog BuildOps can help you understand the latest thinking regarding your industry, niche trends, news, and specific guests posts that have been written with insight, much like this one.
An old Jewish proverb suggests that it’s far better to learn from the mistakes of others than from your own, because then you don’t have to find out the hard way. As such, keeping an eye on thought leadership will, after everything, help you learn many more lessons than you would have alone.
With this advice, we hope you can see that no business is an island, and thoroughly understand why that is from the bottom up.