Your business is everything to you, so I thought I’d focus this post on more of a strategic outlook for business owners and entrepreneurs. As we know there are tons of up and down days, but what do we really need to do to have our business succeed? What will propel our business to new heights? I sat down with Inc. 500 entrepreneur Brian D. Evans and discussed what we feel are important factors in building successful businesses.

Marketing

You might be thinking are you saying I need to spend thousands of dollars every month on marketing and advertising? I’m actually going to tell you quite the opposite. Let’s be clear here; you need to have a marketing plan no matter what and you need to be willing to spend money if you expect to make money. All companies that are household names market themselves well and have catchy phrases, headlines, and visions for their company. These are only some of the reasons they are successful.

One of the ways you can tell that your business has taken a huge step forward is when you don’t have to market it. If your product or service is well known in the market or industry and customers come to you, that’s considered a huge win. When your product sells itself because one customer told another about how good it was, that’s another win. You should never stop marketing your business EVER but if you were to cut off all your marketing activities today, would you still have customers tomorrow? If you would, then you are doing a great job. If you aren’t, then you still have some work to do.

Culture

Company culture in business is huge. In recent years, creating a great company culture has taken over news feeds around the world.  All employees need to feel wanted and respected in their workplace. If they feel threatened, misguided, or out of place, it’s most likely that employee is going to walk. Every employee likes to feel a part of a team, a collective effort working towards a goal. So why is it that there are still so many disconnected companies out there? It’s because they don’t realize how important their employees are. Employees are the lifeblood of a business.

All the geniuses of our time like Steve Jobs (Apple), Elon Musk (Tesla, SpaceX, PayPal), Peter Thiel (PayPal) etc. all knew when they started their companies that they needed to find people that were smarter than them and had complementary skills. To get their employees to give them their best work, they had to give them the right tools and environment. This is why you see so many startups implementing things like office sleeping chambers, lunchrooms, pool tables, workout facilities and the list goes on.

These companies value their employees and want to provide the best environment possible. I’m not saying you should go and put a gym in your new office (unless you have the budget of course). What I’m saying is that you need to have an identity that everyone in your company can relate to. This will create a sense of community and people will want to work for you and put in their best efforts. They will want the company to succeed just as much as you do. If you can instill this in your employees then you have done your job.

Innovation

With the wave of technology sweeping through every industry, process, and market around the world, it’s hard to keep up. But you at least need to try. The problem with most businesses is they aren’t trying. Something has worked well for 50 years, and they don’t want to change a thing. Well, they’re wrong plain and simple. To have a company last a lifetime is to continue to innovate the business. There is always room to improve a process, procedure,

Google has handled innovation very well. They created an online search engine that’s now a word in the dictionary, and a verb that we use daily when talking to friends “Just Google it”. Google has created a self-driving car, an operating system, smartphones, computers, and the list goes on. I bet they have ten projects under development right now that hardly anyone knows about. The point is that Google didn’t just stay with being the best search engine in the world. They have innovated and created a suite of products disrupting industries and verticals no one could have imagined. This is what you should do once you take control of a market. Ask yourself what could we do better? How could we innovate more? I’d even suggest implementing an innovation department that focuses solely on creativity and innovation in your company.

Leadership

Now the last three points I’ve suggested wouldn’t be possible without the proper leader. Leadership is extremely important in business because you need to have someone to look to for guidance, support, and encouragement. That’s what the leader is there for. They need to make sure every employee can do the best job possible. If employees can do the best job possible with the right guidance from a leader, then that’s a recipe for success.

When it comes to leadership, there isn’t one winning formula. The best leaders of our time all have different traits that make them who they are. They do however know how to surround themselves with incredibly smart people and aren’t afraid to take risks. Risk-taking is huge in a company and can ultimately push the company further, or at times push the company backward. When a leader or CEO does make a wrong decision, they need to learn from it and not make the same mistake. Don’t forget though to become a Facebook, Google, or AirBnb you have to be willing to take risks and a good leader knows this.

If you enjoyed this article, please comment below and give me your thoughts!

Clinton Senkow
Clinton is the Co-founder/Chief Operating Officer of Influencive and a writer at The Huffington Post and Thrive Global. He’s a two-time G20 YEA Entrepreneur representing Canada and advisor to several businesses and entrepreneurs.