What makes a company successful?

Successful companies are easily identified, right? They are the ones that stand out from the crowd, others aspire to be like them, and individuals aspire to work for them. Internally, they have defined goals and a strategy that is clearly communicated; their business processes are defined; KPIs are set and tracked; resources are managed.

But what is it that causes one organisation to rise above its competition and even excel beyond expectations?

The difference is how much the organisation understands about what their customers really need. Particularly in hard economic times, those companies that are focused on internal issues and find that their business is changing more slowly inside than out, are those same companies that find themselves struggling with maintaining market share and revenue.

However, if you think this struggle is going to remain limited to purely economic influences, than you would be wrong. As consumers we are now more informed than ever and much less tolerant of suppliers who do not meet our demands, let alone our needs. We are the ones raising the bar even higher and directly influencing the successes and failures of the (product and service) suppliers we deal with.

The truly successful and enduring organisation today is one that has returned to its core purpose in business – to serve its customers. More than this though, they are adding value to their customers and putting the customer at the centre of everything that they do. In the 21st century, this is the primary strategy we need to succeed in business.

The challenge today is to move your company from the navel-gazing habits it has cultivated over many years and to refocus on the business from your customer’s perspective, i.e. from an outside-in perspective. Only then does the organisation have a real chance of moving to the next level of maturity.

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