What is the Most Important Thing in Business?

I was reading a blog post by a friend of mine John Spence, the author of Awesomely Simple – Essential Business Strategies for Turning Ideas into Action. He was talking to a friend who asked:

“In one word, what is the most important thing in business?”

John thought about it for a moment and responded: “Talent”.

My first thought was that “Cash Flow” would be the most important thing. Yet, one of the biggest reasons for the Dot Com bubble burst was that companies put bums (people who were not great talent) in seats and paid them too much money. They burned through their cash and POP!

John’s thought is that in business the only way to sustain a competitive advantage is to find highly talented people as the foundation for a sustainably successful organization.

Trying to build a competitive advantage on your products, pricing, or location will only get you so far. Your competitors can copy and improve on your products, drop their prices, and put a location across the street from you. But if you have superior talent, your people will figure out how to win against the competition.

Did you know that for medium complexity jobs (jobs that are technical to low level professional) the difference in productivity between the top 10% and bottom 10% of workers is 12 times the productivity?

Do you know how to identify these top performers before you hire them?

He went on to say that: “To me, two of the only sustainable competitive advantages left to most businesses are:

The quality of the people that you can get, grow and keep on your team

The relationships they create with your customers

Which means that talent acquisition, talent development, and talent retention should be a major strategic imperative in your business.”

Experts such as Jim Collins author of Good to Great, Peter Drucker, and others would agree.

Hiring great employees should be one of the top 3 or 4 areas of focus for a leader, particularly a small business or start up leader.

I want to help. Click here to get a free advance copy of my newest book: Hiring Employees – Big Company Secrets for Small Business Leaders.