Growing a business, like math, has an “order of operations” that you have to follow.
You know, multiply first, do the addition and subtraction last, that kinda stuff. Solve the equation in the wrong order and it all gets messed up!
I grew up in Canada, so I learned this as “PEDMAS.”
Here's the “order of operations” as it applies to growing a business:
P - Product
ED - Experience Delivery
MAS - Marketing and Sales
You have to start with a good Product.
Find a real problem that enough people have and are willing to pay for, then prove that you are capable of addressing those needs and can monetize sustainably at the same time.
Next, the way your customer Experiences the product is also important. This is different for every company, but just imagine that a restaurant could have delicious food, but if the restaurant smells like a toilet, then it's pointless.
Finally, Marketing and Sales. These are important, but they are dependent on the first two being executed sufficiently.
You can have the best marketing and sales team, but if your product has a high defect rate, or if your front-line staff has terrible service, or if your website takes forever to load, then it's gonna be tough.
Alternatively, if you're capable of delivering a great Product and Experience, then you might not even need a formal Marketing and Sales function. Sometimes the PED is so good that the MAS isn't important.
Successful companies follow the order of operations. It's how lasting, resilient companies are built.
This also happens to be a useful way to evaluate whether you should join (or stay) at a company.
If the Product and Experience are poor, or stagnating with no clear resolution in sight, then you should probably look for another opportunity.