When people hear that I am an entrepreneur, images of power suits and beautiful office suites often pop into their heads. After all, when we see entrepreneurial success on network television, it almost always takes the form of someone in designer clothing dashing across a busy city street in order to make it to their swanky office in time for the big meeting. All decisions are made mid-stride and everyone you see is confident and successful. You know what they don’t show you? Someone crouched over a computer 12 hours a day drinking cheap coffee and pouring over spreadsheets, relying on cold hard facts rather than their gut.
People tend to think that life mimics art, and to many, success is more about the environment than the facts. I believe this is why so many new companies make the mistake of focusing on brand and corporate culture when the really should be laser focused on things like cash flow and expenses. Sure, the $3,500 espresso machine will impress potential clients that stop by for a visit, and the lattes it makes will look great on your company’s verified Instagram feed, but how is it helping you to turn a profit?
In my experience, there are three vital things that every new business needs to focus on:
1) Cash flow
3) Cost per acquisition metrics
You can read more about each of those factors here. Basically, it is the un-sexy things are what ultimately wind up being important. Really, it is just like relationships. If you want to build a life with a partner, what will be more important after 5, 10, 20 years together? The fancy lingerie in your closet or the trust and respect your relationship is built on? You have to spend the time and effort building trust and respect, because when push comes to shove and troubles arise, the lingerie isn’t going to help you at all.
It makes me crazy when I see brand new businesses blowing their budgets on fancy corporate events, brand engagement, and influencer marketing. I want to tell all of them that they need to get back to basics in order to achieve success. Without the basic foundational aspects a business is built on, you will wind up with nothing but a good-looking failure.