What makes a company successful?
Some might say “intelligence.” Maybe “collaboration.” Others might say a “quality product,” or “perfectionism.” But according to entrepreneurs Ricky Solanki and Steven Hyde, it’s speed.
I got the chance to talk to Ricky and Steven not too long ago.
They’re the founders of Push, a digital advertising agency which has been in business for over ten years. Ricky and Steven have received some huge accolades recently. Not long ago, Push beat every worldwide Google agency to claim the global award for mobile innovation.
In fact, says Helene Ambiana, Head of Google Partners EMEA, “Push is a great mobile-first company, who use great tech, great people and innovation to do the right and ethical thing for the customer. Push epitomizes a mindset that is essential in today’s digital advertising industry.”
Push is going places, and its philosophy of speed over everything is a key reason for it.
Speed was one of the principles Theodore Roosevelt lived by, and he’s responsible for one of the most famous quotes regarding speed in decision-making: “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
Roosevelt’s decision-making ethos is a guiding principle for many successful entrepreneurs, and Solanki and Hyde are no different.
“We’re dealing with a world that moves incredibly quickly,” Hyde told me.
“Technology changes at a moment’s notice, sometimes without warning. Google updates its algorithms, or Facebook changes something behind the scenes, and we have to jump.”
Push’s success has been built on an agility that many larger, more traditional companies can’t, or won’t, replicate. Their staff trains every week on the latest developments from Google and Facebook, keeping their technical skills honed to a razor edge.
This emphasis on individual employee training is something that makes Push’s team remarkably fast to pivot. It’s a tactical approach that means the entire team can jump on board with new strategy at a moment’s notice.
“We try to be as quick as possible to make a decision,” Ricky told me.
“Of course, to do that, you have to make sure you’ve already gathered the knowledge you need to make an informed choice. That’s why we’ve focused so much on employee education.”
Any company that wants to succeed would do well to make sure their employees are being trained in both the latest advancements and changes in their field, and leadership skills that empower them to make decisions.
If the company makes sure each employee is up to date with the latest changes in the industry, they can get things done without having to ask so many questions about “will this break anything?” or “is this the right way to go about it?”
Analysis paralysis is a real phenomenon, and one that can cripple organizations with a high level of inertia or less employee autonomy. It causes unnecessary stress, lowers productivity and generally makes any business less effective. And it compounds upon itself.
Trying to make a perfect decision often results in no decision at all.
Fear of making mistakes or not achieving perfection is a problem both people and companies deal with. We learn better when we’re not afraid of making mistakes (at least, not irreversibly bad ones).
Successful individuals strip their decision-making process down to the bare bones.
Steve Jobs famously defaulted to saying no. Warren Buffett says no to any decision that requires a calculator. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, splits his decisions by reversible and irreversible, then considers from that basis.
Making sure decisions get made quickly is key to a company’s success, as can be seen by these examples.
Being first can be a competitive advantage in a business environment where entry barriers are getting lower every year.
“There are some real advantages to being first in line,” says Steven. “You have to deal with the issues that come with pioneering, of course, but I’d much rather deal with those than the alternative, where you’re bogged down behind the technology curve.”
When you’re first to market or first to adapt, you have a number of advantages. You can seize the windows of opportunity when they open. You can grab the spotlight while people are still talking about the new, before new becomes old and fades out of style.
Amazon Prime is a great example.
Amazon was able to leverage their massive logistics network and market share into the first service of its kind, and they grabbed a huge advantage right out of the gate. There’s an advantage to getting their first, staking your claim, and ironing out the kinks later even if it’s not perfect at first.
In today’s fast-moving business environment, Ricky and Steven’s approach to valuing speed over perfection is catching on.
What’s most important to you?
If it’s not speed, you should probably reconsider. Speed first, perfection second. Make it happen first, and then make it good. Your customers will thank you.