Q: What are the key elements of a successful business operation?
A: Great question. I think another way to look it is once you’ve created a product or service that has market fit, what elements are essential for sustaining that success? A few come to mind.
1. Data driven
For many startups, Porch.com included, success begins through the development of a data centric culture, both internally and externally. To build a really successful business operation you need to know you are going to be able to accurately measure your business. Beyond just understanding your key performance indicators (KPIs), are you developing a business where key decisions are made through the use of good, quality data? I believe in the power and clarity of data and the vital role the RIGHT data plays in making sound business judgments.
Another really important characteristic of young companies and the people that are working to build a successful operation is flexibility. For a business to work people need to be able to change, manage, and adapt to the many inevitable challenges that come up along the way. Sometimes that means holding your ground on an experimental idea or product, and other times it means pivoting and taking a road you have not travelled before. It could mean working from a garage (or basement in our case) for months and work long hours in order to stretch the runway a bit further. In any case, flexibility is that needs to be at the core of your company and is key to longevity.
3. The right people
Finally, I would say that sustaining a successful business operation really comes down to the people; it’s all about the people! You need to have the right people in the right roles at the right time. For a developing company, where success and failure hangs in a delicate balance of being able to execute efficiently, nothing can slow you down like having the wrong people along for the ride. I truly believe that a successful business operation and a successful culture go hand in hand. If you get the right people to join you, you will find through the ups and downs that journey really is the reward.
At the end of the day, making your business great will only get you started on your path to success. There are many qualities and characteristics that must be honed and sustained in order to win in the long term. The key is developing a method that works specific to you and your organization so that you can develop in a way to uniquely out-perform and out-execute the competition.