by Mike Broderick, co-founder and CEO of Turning Technologies
If you were built to lead instead of follow, a career as an entrepreneur might be right for you. But before you can launch a high-growth company, you’ll need to find the right business plan and create a culture of success.
Here are four strategies that can help you generate the spark:
Tap into a Behavioral / Cultural Trend.
When thinking about product / service development, remember that virtually all great ideas build on an existing trend, and consider developing your product and service concepts around a behavioral movement to leverage existing momentum. My team and I built our company, Turning Technologies, into the world’s largest audience response software enterprise using this principle. Early on, we recognized a social trend that valued active engagement via a variety of platforms, including Facebook and Twitter.
We developed our flagship product, TurningPoint, an audience response and polling software system that integrates with Microsoft PowerPoint, to maximize engagement during training sessions and presentations. TurningPoint allows presenters to instantly receive audience responses via keypads or smartphones in real time. The interactivity appeals to people who are steeped in the culture of instant communication.
Be Driven by Data.
“Data-driven” is a popular business buzzword, but unlike some trendy descriptions in the world of commerce, it has more substance than style. That’s because, thanks to the increasing use of interactive media and advanced data collection techniques, it’s more possible than ever before to gather meaningful data and use it to make business decisions.
In addition to giving our customers the power to generate and aggregate audience response data in real time, Turning Technologies has been able to collect and use customer feedback to hone our product development efforts. We recently used customer preference data collected by automated feedback mechanisms to create a product upgrade that is generations ahead of our competitors’ product offerings.
Create a Winning Organizational Culture.
HR executives are fond of saying that a company’s most important asset is its people. They are correct. Finding the right employees and creating an agile, focused team is essential to business success. Giving employees a stake in your company’s success is an excellent motivational tool and can help you attract and retain the best and brightest.
Incentive plans can include employee recognition programs, where team members are lauded for their achievements on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis, or a profit-sharing plan for the leadership team. Sales teams require positive reinforcement for their achievements, and allowing employees to share in the company’s success reduces turnover and inspires staff to go beyond their job description to meet customer needs.
Succeeding through Innovation and Persistence.
Finding a great new product or service to sell is obviously a huge factor in a successful startup, but so is identifying the most effective way to present the product or service to potential customers. In fact, the presentation can make the difference between success and failure.
The most effective way to present a product or service to prospective clients is to describe a problem potential customers face and present the product or service as the solution. Business leaders who achieve sustained growth have invariably found a way to do this effectively. Chances are, they have also made a deep commitment to their business strategy and persevered through many lean years before they ultimately succeeded.
Keys to Success.
Building a successful company requires the ability to identify and capitalize on trends, a focus on data, a talent for creating winning teams and an eye for innovation. It also takes a commitment to seeing your vision through and persistence in the face of multiple challenges.
If you’re contemplating an entrepreneurial venture, make sure you evaluate cultural and behavioral trends as you’re developing your products and services. Take a look at the available data to make sure it supports your plans. Build a strong team that has a real stake in your success, and ensure your prospective customers understand exactly how your products or services will make their lives easier. By doing so, you’ll be well on your way to success.
Mike Broderick is cofounder of Turning Technologies and serves as Chief Executive Officer. Throughout his 20 years in the industry, Mike has been one of the leading innovators in the group response industry working and leading efforts in sales, marketing, research and development, as well as product delivery and fulfillment. Mike is a recipient of the prestigious Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” Award and was inducted into the Northeast Ohio Business Hall of Fame as the first winner of the “Entrepreneurial Spirit Award”.