Image Source/Ken Hurst
How do you know if you have built a truly great business? You can tell by your company’s evangelists.
In the early days of a business, making payroll and keeping the banker happy can be the primary measures of success. But those expectations must evolve over time if your company is going be truly great.
Publicly-held companies are notorious for short-term thinking to meet analyst expectations and manage stock prices.
Some view that as success, but not everyone — and not investor Warren Buffet. Some large privately held businesses are far from great.
So how do you know if you have built a truly great business?
Five Types of Evangelists
1. Are your employees evangelists for your company?
Great companies rarely have to look far for candidates for open positions because employees recommend working for the company to everyone they know. If your employees say they really don’t know anyone, that means they don’t recommend working at your company.
2. Are your customers evangelists for your company?
The advent of social media makes it quite easy to learn what customers are saying about your business. Reliably doing what you say and handling problems effectively is a measure of a great company, one verified by reading social media or asking current customers.
3. Are your suppliers evangelists for your company?
“Partnership” is a word used loosely and executed rarely. Stretching supplier payments when cash is limited may be easy, but it certainly doesn’t buy commitment. Great companies help their suppliers become better and treat them as business partners with intertwined success. Suppliers love working with them.
4. Are your investors evangelists for your company?
Whether funding is coming from family, friends, banks, or other investors, a fair return is what most want. Don’t let the day traders fool you. They are not investors. They are traders. Investors are with you for the long term, and expect a reasonable return over time. They understand the need for investment over dividends at times, but know their money is safe with you.
5. Is your surrounding community an evangelist for your company?
It’s easy to keep the property nice and clean, support local schools and causes, and offer employees to meet specialized short-term needs. All too many organizations leave empty buildings and overgrown parking lots behind when they leave, and contribute little beyond payroll to the community while they’re there.
It’s not hard to be great. It does require treating all with respect, which is apparently too much for many big-name businesses. But it isn’t for yours. Regardless of size, your company is a great one if it has the five evangelists described above.
As published on American City Business Journals