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The seven ingredients for success in business

Serge Beauchemin, founder of alias entrepreneur-e and official partner of Operio, gives us his advice to help entrepreneurs develop and succeed.

What are the key elements of business success? What do you look for most in a business project before investing? What is the recipe for success in business? These are some of the most frequent questions I get asked when I give lectures on entrepreneurship. I would like to say that there’s a secret recipe for success every time! A proven method which, when followed to the letter, makes it possible to reach the highest peaks! First, you have to define what business success is. For some, it is to become millionaires; for others, it’s to be independent, no longer have a boss. For other people, they just want to help others and make a difference. In short, success is relative and, as you can imagine, there’s no miracle formula! No recipe, but certainly a list of ingredients common to almost all business success stories.

So here is my summary of this list of ingredients. All you have to do is find the quantities based on your situation and you’re good to go! If only it were that easy!

1. The need
It all starts with a need. All companies or organizations exist because a human being somewhere has a need to satisfy. This is the basis of business: meeting customer needs. This is how bartering began thousands of years ago. And this is still true even when models seem to meet the needs of a company and not individuals. Because, when you look closely, all these products and services are always intended for a human being who needs them personally or to meet the needs of another person. The commercial potential of the project therefore depends on this need and the number of people who share it and who have the necessary means to satisfy it. The larger the number, the greater the potential.

2. The solution
To ensure the sustainability of a business project, it’s important to understand how the proposed solution adequately meets the identified needs and, above all, how it’s different from other options already available on the market. If your project only partially meets the need or if other options are already available and adopted by the target audience, your project will involve greater risk. Its success will depend not only on your solution, but also on its business strategy and execution. It’s a jungle in the business world! Not to mention that, with the Internet and globalization, the whole planet is now the playing field. You have to be creative and agile to implement effective, unique solutions.

3. Sales and marketing
Too often, entrepreneurs start their projects backwards. Let me explain. They begin with an idea and invent a product or service that they believe is revolutionary. Then they manufacture it, develop it, build it. Often, they put all their savings and money they have borrowed from close friends into it. And it’s only when everything is ready that they start thinking about sales! Moreover, quite often, they have no idea how to proceed! Sell your idea or project as soon as possible! This is the right way to validate your proposal on the market. Knowing how to sell your products and services is the key to the success of any business. You must acquire knowledge in this field. Better yet, become a marketing expert! Businesses that know how to sell grow the fastest and have a longer life expectancy.

4. The execution
Some people will tell you that selling is great, but you also have to deliver! Which is more important? In my opinion they go hand in hand. It’s like the “yin and yang” of companies! You must be able to deliver efficiently and respond appropriately to demand. You have to do better than others, do it faster and under better conditions. Processes and procedures must be based on best business practices. To the extent possible, you must learn to measure the different steps involved in delivering your products and services so that you can constantly improve them. You have to innovate, reinvent yourself and add as much value as possible to your offer.

5. The team
The geese proved it long ago: you can go further, with less effort, when you fly together in the right formation. The team’s strength is the greatest weapon of winning organizations. You have to know how to recruit the right people, in the right place, at the right time. You need to know the requirements of each function and each position and put in place the person who offers the best combination of knowledge, know-how and interpersonal skills for this position. You need to invest in organizational culture, a sense of belonging and respect for differences. You also have to invest in corporate culture to engage your employees. People are the driving force of all organizations.

6. The pilot
It’s almost impossible to bring the best people together if the organization’s leadership is questionable. In every winning team and every large organization, there is an exceptional leader. The quality of strong leaders is measured by the number of people who follow them, not by the number of people they push! Leaders must listen to their customers, employees and shareholders in order to combine their needs and build a dynamic and efficient organization that can meet them. Great leaders are also visionaries, capable of communicating this vision and inspiring the team to excel. They are also humble, not seeking glory but rather individual and collective achievement. And if glory were to appear on their path, without fading away, they know how to highlight and recognize those who have contributed to this collective achievement.

7. Luck
Yes, luck! There’s a popular saying: “In business, timing is everything!” This is precisely the “luck” component of any business project. Obviously, you take chances. By taking action we place ourselves to be in the right place, at the right time. It’s also by acting that we are able to seize opportunities. However, we must also acknowledge that there are hundreds of thousands of people, even millions, trying their luck, remaining active and positioning themselves in the best possible place, and yet, very few are chosen. This is why it’s important to recognize that luck also plays an important role in the adventure. You can organize the best golf tournament in the world, but if it rains that day, the project will be a washout.

This is also why it’s so important to remember that in any adventure project, it’s the journey that counts, not so much the destination. It’s during the journey that friendships are born, adversity must be faced and courage and creativity must be demonstrated. It is also during the journey that we accomplish great things. So, go for it! Do your research and jump in! As an old Chinese proverb says: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” So, start your journey today!

Have a good trip!