"To be successful you have to be lucky, or a little mad, or very talented, or find yourself in a rapid growth field." Edward de Bono (Maltese physician, psychologist, author, inventor, philosopher and consultant)
The High-Tech industry is in constant growth and is characterized by many small businesses, which in time grow to be successful companies.
These past few months have been rough, and that is putting it mildly. The global corona pandemic has also hit the High-Tech industry directly. Yet It seems that not a day goes by without news in the media regarding new Exit.
The purpose of this article is to help you, a small-scale business owner, grow into a successful business.
Many of my clients started out as a one-man operation and became a business with dozens of employees.
How does this transformation from a one-man company, with a wide-scale professional knowledge, to a thriving business employing several employees occur?
It is a long journey, a marathon and not a sprint. It is important to know that it requires effort, determination, and perseverance.
Being a professional (with expertise in: DBA, SAP, ORACLE, React, etc.) is not enough, you must also excel at running a business. Without business knowledge, it will be almost impossible to succeed.
The term "successful business" has been mentioned here several times. What is a successful business?
To begin with, it is not working 200 billable hours or more, and at night continue working on invoicing, bookkeeping, marketing and more. That is replacing one job with another - no freedom, no flexibility, and no future.
In contrast, a successful business, in my opinion, is a business that you can replicate and scale its success.
A business that allows its owner to work a certain number of hours that suits them, to work on projects that interest them. A business that allows its owner to be in vacation when they want to, and the business will continue to be active and allow a passive income from the business.
Here are a few important points for achieving a successful High-Tech business.
A great vision - A vision that provides value to customers - solving a fundamental problem, in the field you are best at. Vision is basically a road map; It defines the optimum desired future state the company is heading towards. Without direction the company will go where the road leads. Sometimes the business is stagnated - not growing or developing. Vision helps to specify goals and objectives and create a defined action plan, including: resources, operation factors, schedule, risks and alternatives. To be able to reach that you need optimal time management: using your calendar, task management, daily and weekly prioritization and more.
Organizational structure - It is important to plan the business structure that you are aiming for. Who will be the CEO (it doesn't have to be you), who will deal with human resources, sales, finance, office management and more. In the beginning, you are the only one who is involved in promoting the business - in strategy. You will also do most of the roles, but that will change over time. The next step is hiring help for the business, this is an important milestone in the business. The help can be in the form of an office manager, a.k.a a VA (Virtual Assistant) or a sales assistance and later the first employee.
Employees – A good employee is a major success factor. It is important that they believe in your vision, complete you and has similar values. The first employee will assist in his own on-boarding in the company by using his contacts and experience. He/she will assist in marketing and sales and soon it will be possible for them to be full-time employees and to assist in absorbing the next employees.
Systems - A successful business is a business with implemented documented systems. To create systems in the business, you need to write down the way that you and your staff habitually do everything. This way, you can transfer the knowledge to all employees, enabling them to work the way you want things done: providing high-level service, providing the customer with solution in an optimal and unified way. McDonald's is the first company to work this way for more than half a century ago. Starbucks and Domino’s pizza are doing it as well. As do many other companies.
Include the employees - Employees are an essential part of business success. It is important to give employees fair wages and include them in the success (for example, bonus distribution). Many High-Tech companies tend to grant stock options to their employees. Food for thought - do you want to grant shares to others? The benefit of offering shares is your employees being partners in the business and will thus care more about its success and growth. But you might prefer to keep 100% of the ownership to yourself and save yourself from future legal issues. Either way, it is best to decide this early on and consult with an attorney to plan accordingly.
Lead Generation - A business revenue stream and profits for the company is essential. Lead generation is an ongoing system that never ends. You should be active on social networks and especially on LinkedIn to reach new prospects. There are many good companies that can do this work for you in a professional way.
Financial management - Without proper cash flow management, the business will collapse. Cash is king. As a business owner reviewing and understanding your financial statements regularly is a key skill, define financial indicators, prepare a cash flow forecast for at least three months ahead, prepare a “cash cushion” for the business for rainy days and more. Another important financial system is collection – no cash no business!
Creating a company, that will leave a mark in the world, is an amazing experience.
The transition from a one-man company to a company that helps dozens of clients, provides livelihood to many families and brings economic welfare, happiness, and a sense of contribution to you the business owner. is a special journey worth traveling.