In the business world, you are either climbing to the top or you’re scrambling to stay afloat.
To say that creating and maintaining a successful business is extremely competitive is an understatement!
You have to be smart and be five steps ahead of the competition. The best business leaders understand this and they create processes that help them make the tough decisions that will inevitably come along.
For those who are still testing the waters and trying to find their way, we have 5 keys to making smart business decisions that’ll help you take your business to the top!
1. Leverage New Technologies to Develop New Markets
The Marvel Universe is a multi-billion dollar, $10,916,958,583 to be exact, brand, but it hasn’t always been at the top.
The first Marvel comic was released almost 80 years ago, and the “Marvel Universe” was unveiled 20 years later. By the time 1999 came around, Marvel hit financial problems that caused them plunge $250 million in to debt, with only $3 million in the bank.
Instead of letting Marvel go under, CEO Peter Cuneo, introduced a new licensing model that was able to completely revitalize Marvel. With the new licensing model, more focus was put on print publishing as well as licensing out intellectual property and toy production rights to interested video game creators and studios in Hollywood.
There’s no denying that when a business embraces technology, they’re more likely to succeed than if they refuse to change.
As a business leader, you have to look at your business and see how your company can benefit from introducing the right kind of technology. Just think, if Mr. Cuneo hadn’t introduced the new licensing model, we wouldn’t have blockbusters like Iron Man, The Avengers, Ant-Man, and Thor.
2. Test Your Target Market Early
Why do you go into business? Probably because you have a service or product consumers want. It makes sense that before you go ahead with a new product, you test your target market to see if they actually want this new product. You may be wondering where you are going to come up with the money to run these tests. That’s where crowdsource funding comes in.
Over the past five years, crowdsourcing sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Fundable and GoFundMe have been the go-to place for people with a vision.
Let’s say you want to gauge your audience to see if they’ll buy your product. You can go to one of the aforementioned crowdsourcing sites and create a campaign.
With an idea and a well designed marketing strategy, you can reach your audience and raise capital before the product is produced. This is especially true with millennials who are more likely to participate in crowdsourcing campaigns. With the money raised you can begin the production of a great product you know your target market actually want.
If your campaign is not successful, you’ll know your target market isn’t interested in the new product and saving you time and money.
3. Confide in a Mentor
You may be the person running the show, but every great leader has trusted advisors. You want to have someone that you can go to for advice and kick around ideas or strategies. Another key of having a mentor, is the experience they bring to solving a problem you encounter.
Let’s say you have to fire a great employee because they called out one too many times, or they were causing drama in the workplace. You can go to your mentor and ask them if they’ve been in the same situation, and how they handled it.
Now, while you may not take their advice, it’s always nice to have someone who can provide a little insight to the situation at hand.
4. Surround Yourself With Smart People
It isn’t unusual to find extremely confident business leaders who believe they’re the only one who can do the job their. However, for most there are always others out there we can learn from. Surrounding yourself with other bright leaders who might be better at strategizing, systematizing, or motivating their employees can help develop you into a well rounded business leader.
It isn’t enough to just hire smart and capable people to your team. You have to be willing to hire those you can learn from as well.
Sports teams doesn’t just rely on the skill of one player – everyone on the team has their own strengths. You should approach your staff with the same thinking. When you have a well-rounded staff, no one person is doing all the work. Everyone is excelling in their specialized niche, contributing, and pushing the business to succeed.
One of the best realizations a business leader can make is accepting that there are smarter and more experienced people out there, and not being afraid to hire them.
5. Understand and Respect the Timeline
For many decisions, time is of the essence. There will always be influences, both in-house and outside, that are going to play a role in how feasible a timeline will be. As a decision maker, you have to plan on those influences causing a few rifts in the timeline.
Let’s say you tell your team that a material for a large product relaunch needs to be ready by a certain date. Time goes by and as the deadline looms, your team is scrambling to put everything together. This is an internal influence that you, as the boss, have to take control of so that your timeline isn’t interrupted or put on hold.
An example of an outside influence is if your staff is scrambling to complete the relaunch because there was an unfortunate weather even and the office was closed for two days, or maybe there isn’t enough of a demand for this new product, which causes the relaunch to be put on the shelf.
Running is a business is hard work and if it wasn’t, everyone would be running their own business. What sets you apart from the competition is that you have a vision, the smarts, and the know how to make that vision become a reality.
There are going to be times when you have to make hard hitting decisions. In these cases you have to be able to step back and look at the bigger picture, consider the timeline or consult a mentor.
As the leader of your business, your decisions could make or break everything you’re working for. So the next time you’re faced with a difficult choice, reflect on these five elements for making smart business decisions.