Three things determine business success at a macro level:
- Market opportunity - is there a large, buoyant market for what you sell? Most small/medium companies over-estimate market size - they think they swim in an ocean of opportunity when really, they play in the kiddies pool.
- Awareness - do enough people, or prospective customers, know of you? Not knowing you exist is a major inhibitor to growth.
- Message clarity - if customers don't know what you offer them, they cannot take action. You'll be surprised how few businesses are crystal clear about what they sell and why you should use them.
Each of these points has underlying factors; for example, market size depends on volume and value and how many already serve the market. You might be in an ocean of opportunity but crowded out by competitors.
Awareness is not merely a case of raising it through advertising, but also how vast your network is. Most entrepreneurs that succeed do so on the back of others that give them a foothold.
Message clarity is not only about how you promote but also what you know about yourself. It's about the business being clear on what it sells, why it sells it, and why it's valuable.
You can't build a successful business on bad fundamentals. Like a bird in a cage, you are bound by certain meta factors.
The other meta factor is time. It takes an enormous amount of time to build a profitable company. Either you need to be highly patient, very lucky or hugely resourceful to cut corners.
Too many entrepreneurs and companies think they can win when they can't because, in reality, the macro fundamentals are against them, and they are too arrogant, or stupid, or determined, to recognise this.
Taking a strategic view of one's business requires looking at it from the outside in. The picture is often a horror show. No wonder so many doesn't do it and waste their time trying to succeed.