Secrets of business success revealed

Jon Baker
Jon Baker
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A CRANFIELD business guru has revealed the secret ingredients of growth and success.

Jon Baker of venture-Now, in Partridge Piece, reckons he can spot businesses which have what it takes to survive and thrive after two years.

It is estimated that somewhere between 10 and 40 per cent of new businesses make it through their second anniversary.

Although many businesses are two years old or more, Mr Baker says there is an enormous difference between those who are enthusiastically chasing growth and those who are painfully persevering. He has been coaching businesses for 25 years and has a string of clients including Total, Rok and Feel Good Drinks.

Mr Baker said: “As a business reaches the end of its second year, it is likely to contain perhaps two or three members of staff and maintains a profitable status. The next strategic decision for the owner is to either expand or remain insignificant. It is difficult to take in that so many of these industrious individuals really struggle at this point.”

He says the first factor for success is focusing organisations on doing one thing at a time. It is also vital to make sure that all values and day-to-day actions fit into a vision of where the company should be in 5-10 years’ time.

Companies that break through the two-year development stage normally have carefully selected staff who work as a unified team. Often their leaders canvass employee views on certain aspects promoting the feeling of involvement and positive responsibility, although this is not to say that staff are consulted on all business decisions.

Mr Baker explained: “It is obvious when employees share the company vision and values because you can see it in their behaviour. They bring an idea of a working culture into reality. In essence, the human aspect of a company’s vision can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

It is also vital to have effective processes which ensure that products and services are consistent, like following up leads in a variety of ways.

But Mr Baker added: “These procedures are prominent in companies that are really going places. However, there is one final element which can make or break a company’s success.

“All directors and their managers need to maintain a disciplined approach to company performance. This means scheduling time to review both short-term and strategic development. Without this, any company is living on borrowed time.”