In business, there are no guarantees. Even when you sell a product that meets a market need, you can only feel secure for a few years until competitors start encroaching on your space. In fact, in this technology-driven marketplace, copycats and rivals can crop up in just a matter of months.

The validation of an early victory is never an assurance. So whether you want to keep your business going for years down the line or you want to have a second act of your current venture, here are some important principles you should learn to live by.

Invest in making customers stay

Customers don’t stay with a business unless they have a good reason to do so – and sometimes a good product is not enough motivation.

Why should you be focusing on making your customers stay? According to Bain & Company, just a 5 per cent increase in customer retention can increase the profitability of a company by 75 per cent.

If by now you are still spending boatloads on customer acquisition, it’s about time you use your money to innovate to promote loyalty among your existing customers. But before that, get customer feedback to identify their wants and needs. Then work to fulfil those requirements. You’ll be surprised at how much cheaper it is to invest in current customers than acquiring new ones.

Invest in product experimentation

You can never tell when the need for your product or service will end, but you can be sure that that day will come. You think you have already found the perfect formula until a more innovative product comes along and turns your concept into a thing of the past.

So while your flagship product is still hot, start investing on the next best thing. If you pour all your efforts on perfecting your original offering – with nothing to spend on the next product – a competitor will break into the scene and leapfrog you in the market.

R&D isn’t cheap. But the amount you set aside for innovation now will pay off later in the form of financial stability.

Keep an eye out on competitors

Because your competitors are keeping an eye out on you. They know what you are doing and they will try to outsmart you every chance they get. Needless to say, this could be potentially harmful to your company’s future.

Keep your experiments under the radar and observe what your competitors are doing, at the same time. It may be worth paying someone to watch your back while you are busy building your business from the ground up.

Be wise about accepting investors

Growing a business requires tons of money, and not all entrepreneurs start out with enough cash to sustain their momentum through the startup phase.

As such, it’s quite natural – in fact, it has become a norm these days – to find investors to help finance the company. But when you accept funds from other people, remember that you are giving these people power and equity over your business. Keep in mind as well that that power could possibly exceed yours.

To avoid losing control over the business you have painstakingly built, keep a group of trusted people close for guidance and support. Also, continue to improve the experience of your representation as the stakes get bigger.

Lastly, stay true to your vision and use a disciplined approach to executing your business plan. Keep banking on tomorrow and you will reap the sweet rewards later.