Building a Business Foundation That Makes it to the Finish Line: 10 Winning Tips
The saying, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish” is wrong when it comes to building a successful business. If this were true, then why do the majority of new businesses fail in the first 2-3 years? In my opinion, starting well is tantamount to future success when it comes to launching a new business or practice. I’ll share the 10 winning business tips that best map to success.
“I couldn’t wait for success, so I went ahead without it.” – Jonathan Winters
Unfortunately, far too many entrepreneurs adopt this approach when starting a new business venture, and as a result fail to achieve their goals. Building a profitable, scalable and sustainable business requires a lot of hard work, long hours and intestinal fortitude. It is definitely not for the faint of heart, or for those who fail to plan ahead!
Factors Leading to a Poor Start
Most start-ups that fail to make it through the first 2 or 3 years do so for a variety of reasons that can be condensed into one of the following three areas:
Limited resources – e.g., time, people, capital and expertise.
Lack of focus and planning.
No formal sales and marketing system.
In order to start well you need to establish a strong foundation for sustainable growth, based on solid business fundamentals and financial principles. This is particularly true for first time entrepreneurs who are moving from the corporate world to owning their own business, and looking to replace their income.
“The most successful people are those who are good at plan B.” – James Yorke
Winning Business Tips
I’ve had the opportunity to work with hundreds of small business owners and business leaders over the course of my professional career. These 10 winning business tips sum up success secrets.
Don’t get caught up in the rapture. It is easy to get distracted by all the excitement and activity surrounding a new business launch. Don’t let it cause you to lose perspective, or dilute the focus on execution.
Set realistic & attainable goals. This is a new business venture and it will take time for the market to catch up to you. So, be conservative and establish goals and milestones that are within your reach.
Network and be visible. In the early stages, your networking efforts should be at a high point. Focus those efforts on brand awareness, building relationships with new clients, partners and suppliers, and driving sales referrals.
Find a mentor. Seek expert advice from trusted advisors who have had a track record of success with start-ups. Trial and error is an expensive way to build a profitable business. Don’t be afraid to ask for help where needed.
Put yourself on the payroll. This should be a no-brainer for all new business owners to create the sense of urgency and drive for performance needed to produce results. It is also unfortunately the step that is most often missed.
Play to your strengths. Know your value proposition and the problem(s) you solve. On the operations side, outsource where appropriate so you can focus limited resources on the things you do best.
Understand your financials. Know your numbers. How many sales are required to reach your revenue goals and to cover your loaded costs? Do you have sufficient cash reserves (12-18 months) to get through the start-up period?
Develop an effective sales and marketing system. Know your target market(s). Closely monitor sales and marketing performance from the first contact through the life-cycle for every customer relationship.
Never stop learning. Continuous learning and improvement is essential to growth. In order to reach your goals, and keep the business top-of-mind to buyers, you must keep the energy, creativity and new ideas flowing.
Have a fallback plan. In the fast-paced global marketplace we operate in, the business outlook can go sideways in a hurry. Make sure you have a recovery plan to turn things around if a downturn occurs, or a Plan B if things really go south.
There is no secret formula that will ensure your new business will be successful. However, if you build a foundation based on winning business tips, solid business fundamentals and financial principles you’ll be in a much better position to start well, and to address any unexpected challenges you encounter along the way.