Number one thing that I would have to say is to be revolutionary, evolve and create products that are unparalleled to any other company while maintaining competitive pricing. What it really depends on is what type of market your company will mainly focus on. Like if you are going to go straight audiophile like Grado for example you want great sound stage, minimal sibilance, maintaining great comfort throughout all of your audio lines and a somewhat neutral SQ and feel to all your phones. Along with the capability of being adjusted with an amp. However, I feel if you want to go for the main stream more like Monster Cable's Beats by Dre is trying to do its all about that WOW factor. Stunning looks, a very unique feel and overall just something that would be considered trendy or stylish. I think that you need to do a combination of the two to really expand your business oppurtunities and market. Have a product thats as aesthestically pleasing as the Beats by Dre Studios but has much better SQ and audiophyle capabilities.
However, for me personally, I am a big proponent of the Studios and am not your typical audiophyle. The best phones (regardless of OEM or IEM) would be ones that have unsurpassed soundquality, the capabilities of reaching those extreme low bass frequencys while maintaining incredible high-ends, also with a more neutral mids levels that are not drowned out. That's why I think that your best bet would be to go with a more adjustable type of headphones or earphones. Look at the Seinhiesser's IE8's success for instance, everyone RAVES about them on this forum and I am really looking forward to recieving my pair. The reason that they were UNIQUE was that they have an adjustable bass port, but you can't stop there at all. If you really want to satisfy a wide spectrum of customer base you need to have product lines that are adjustable in and of itself as opposed to buying seperate models. By this I mean a set of IEM's or OEM's that allow you to adjust the highs, mids, and lows to your liking. EVERYONE'S ears are different as are their perception of sound. A great example of this would be Sleek Audio's SA6 model with the adjustable bass and treble ports. They have three different setting for each the high and low end, I think this is something you can definetly expand on. Also, everyone is starting to come around with the whole iPhone capability (Monster Cables Control-Talk is probably the best), so you need to have at least a mic and in-line volume control option with both your OEM and IEM.
Now I think you need to take it to a whole other level of customizing with these universal fit phones. Let's face it, true audiophyles are going to get custom moldings for their IEM such as the UE11/18 or KH16 no matter what you do. For IEM's if you were able to get a product with three seperate driver's like the Westone 3 and were able to adjust the different sound levels, whether it be removeable ports or I would probably prefer knobs, then you would truly be on to something there (or include a feature on the cable or something). Obviously, SQ is of the utmost importance but everyone has a different take on what is important. There are the bass-heads, classical, rock, country, electronica, alternative, etc. But it would be really really nice to have a product that was able to handle all genres. I mean for Monster Cable you need to buy the Studios if you want extreme bass for Rap, the Turbine Pro Golds if you want SQ and with some impactful bass which are great for almost every genre (these are one of my favorites except you really need an amp to reach their full potential and create a sound suitable for every genre), the Turbine Pro Coppers if you want a more recessed but overall amazing "audiophile" SQ and soundstage that is out of this world, or the Turbine Pro Miles Davis' Tribute for that jazzy extreme soundstage feel as if the music were in your head as opposed to from the left or right.
For me, I listen to such a wide array of music now that I'm constantly switching phones for different genres of music. It would be nice to have products that are CAPABLE of essentially everything. The Westone 3's, don't get me wrong, are unbelievable but they don't have that WOW factor look like the Dre Tours do, unfortunately the Tours are absolute crap. I know that I may be off topic here a little bit, but I think that this is something that all companies need to start doing. They all have different models of their products for different needs but there is no one universal phone that will be able to bump like the Studios do and create the soundstage like any of the Grado's do or even give you looks while you walk down the street for having some unique and unreal product. I have a lot of sick gear, I have four different jackets that I am constantly complemented on, as with sunglasses I have, or even shoes. I like to be unique and that's why I went with the Studios because they definetely get those double-take looks. But everyone wants to be unique and have something special.
Overall, if you want your company to be successful you need to start innovating and coming out with the hottest products on the market. If you were able to get OEM's that had great durability, unparalleled comfort, unreal SQ, DEEP DEEP bass (only if wanted by the user of course, a reducing or increasing feature is a necessity, Equalizing can only do so much), iPhone or mic features is an absolute must in this day and age (especially with IEM's because they are on the go and most high-end products seem to forget that a mic feature even exists, only now are they starting to come around), mids that aren't drowned by overpronounced harsh highs or lows and are adjustable, great soundstage, good noise cancellation/isolation (depending on OEM or IEM), and you NEED that trendy sleek looking feel that's going to turn more than a few heads (as if you owned something that only James Bond had access too) then you would definetely be on to something. Now I know that this is probably asking for too much but my perspective is that these goals will be accomplished one day by both an OEM and IEM eventually.....whether it be a year, five, or 20. For me all of those previous listed things are essential to my personal listening experience. I love that deep bass for certain situations and moods but it would be nice to have it more recessed when I just want to chill out.
All of the above factors are extremely pertinent for both OEM and IEM products, and I doubt that everyone will be able to fit into one product but one day maybe it will. Also, you need to have replaceable cords in IEM's, the upcoming UM3X with the replaceable cable option coming out in May this year is going to be great because as of now, if you break a cable close to the earbud then you're screwed. This would greatly increase your product durability which I think is SO SO important in this day and age. The Studio's have a petty 1 year warranty, and the IE8's and W3's have a two year which is still unacceptable. Some products have a limited 3 year warranty deal; yet, if the cable were ripped out close to the earbud you're completely out of luck. The only good warranty company, I hate to say this, is Skullcandy who has a LIFETIME WARRANTY on all products. Even if you smash your phones to little bits they will give you half of a replacement or even put that money towards their newer and better model (which really isn't that good but the warranty is hard to overlook, especially with an IEM for on the go). So I think great customer service and warranty is essential, offer an extended warranty for extra money if you must. But great customer service is very important to me, maybe Monster Cable is too big but they have very poor and unknowledgeable customer service representatives for the most part (there are two exceptions I have experienced). I really feel like I am rambling here but as of right now, with my extensive research over the past few months it seems that everyone has different tastes. I mean look at this thread, everyone is saying something different as the one or two or three key important factors that will gurantee your future products climb to the top. When really, that is not true at all, customization is something that everyone wants. Each person wants a unique, underground, cult-like product that no one except themselves have. It makes them feel special and important and I know that this is something you must embrace if you want to become a major contender in the all ready competitive audio market.
Of course you can not overlook the lower budget customers, but look at the Hippo VB's. I mean they have some of the best bass if not the best for only $80 and they also have three different bass ports. You need to make three levels of products. The everyday user which would be sub-$100, the more dedicated music lover at sub-$250, and the extreme audiophile who wants the best of the best where money is not an object. But I don't think your company is going to waste your time mass manufacturing $1000+ products and become bankrupt, you should focus on the dedicated music lover and convince the everyday user that you have something too special to overlook so they will break the bank and spend the extra bucks on something revolutionary. That's what your company needs to become, a revolution! Seriously, all the components are out there you just need to combine them all in one product. Look at everyone here on head-fi, most own 5+ pairs of top-tier phones. You need to make something that will intrigue and completely satisfy all the audiophyles in terms of SQ, soundstage, comfort, durability, and minimized sibilance. Have a multitude of different foam, silicone, triple-flange tips; make something no one else has seen.
Overall, I think I have provided you with a multitude of information that will hopefully impact your company. Everyone has been doubling their drivers over the past few years....it went from one dynamic, to two, to a BA driver, to two, to three. The Westone 3 is a phenomenol product but it just doesnt look that appealing, there's definetely nothing sleek about it. Why not double what they did and make six individual BA drivers in an IEM? I don't know if that is even possible because it would probably be the heaviest and bulkiest product on earth but think about it at least. Having two dedicated subwoofers (one extremely low frequency and the other a just step up), two mid drivers (the first being closer to a woofer and the third being a full-fledged mid), and two high drivers (one somewhat high, and another extremely high). Maybe that is asking to much and you should just do an IEM with four BA drivers, unless there is patent issues. In conclusion, mainstream wants bass, power, and style and audiophyles want SQ, soundstage, no sibilance, and great seperated linear sound. In my mind, you need to combine both of these to truly reach every music lover. Good luck, and I hope it all works out for your company. I kinda went off on a tangent hear but maybe what I said will have some impact on your company and the audio community.