How to Build A Successful Business?
Starting a business and becoming successful is often part of the American Dream. But there is a difference between starting a business and building a successful business. Many businesses fail within the first few years of existence due to the lack of planning for the long-term. There is not enough vision and there is not enough done to strengthen the business properly from the ground up.
If you want to start a business there is an easy way to get a better understanding of why some businesses fail and others don’t. When starting a business think about it similar to building a house. If done right it is protecting you against any kind of storm or danger of the outside world and will last for a long time. It offers shelter and protection. For you and your business that could be translated to that you want to have a business that is able to weather economical ups and downs (=storm) and that will provide income to pay the bills (shelter and protection).
When building a house there are several different steps you need to follow to have the house build. You know you want a house, but you got to pick a location and get an architect to plan everything out. In the business world that would be: you know you want to start a business, but you have to come up with a business idea and work out a business plan. The next thing for the house would be to build the foundation (and eventually the basement) for the house. In the business world – you got to build the initial infrastructure (example: connecting with vendors, find a manufacturer for your product, create a sales team, rent office space, get a delivery truck, etc.). Once that is in place you able to actually do business and earn some money. But you are not completely done yet. You need to build a frame, put in windows and you also need a roof on house. For your business this means that you pay off debt, improve business processes and get professional help when needed (example: find a tax accountant, select a payroll service, etc.).
Once the house is build you probably want to fill it with furniture and make it livable for the future. Nobody wants to sleep on the floor, right. Again translating this to the business world it could mean that you invest money you earned back into your business. You buy machinery instead of leasing it. Eventually you buy a building, hire more staff, develop more products, move into new markets, build up a high cash reserve, and buy other businesses and so forth. This is often the step where winners and losers separate. Re-investing money into the business is a key factor for success. If you go and spend all the money on your own salary to buy things you have nothing to go back to when the economy slips into a recession or if disaster strikes.
The successful business owner has build up a cash reserve or can borrow money from bank – securing loans with the assets of the business. Going back to building a house this pretty much matches the same efforts. You pay off your mortgage and have equity available to eventually borrow against when emergency arises. Emergencies do not include paying off credit cards to use them again or to buy a car. Financially responsible you should be looking at the long term and not finance short-term goods with long-term debt.
How many new products and inventions can you dream up with in thirty minutes? At least a few if you know the techniques of innovation and creative problem solving. The following are thirty minute's worth, with some notes at how they were arrived at.
New Products and Inventions From Old
A fast way to invent new things is to start with existing concepts and find new applications. With the concept of inflatable things, the first thing that comes to my mind is inflatable shelters for emergency situations, such as after earthquakes or hurricanes. Such shelters could be transported easily, and erected quickly with a simple air pump. A basic large tent design, but with inflatable ribs instead of poles might work.
We can always find new products and inventions for babies. Inflatable cribs or playpens come to mind. Deflated, they could be folded up and stored almost anywhere. A simple design for a playpen might be a plastic floor with a simple wall that surrounds it and is attached to it. Think of air mattresses for swimming, set on their sides, connected end to end and wrapped into a circle and you'll get the idea.
When we used to go "tubing" down rivers in Michigan, we were forever trying new ways to carry a cooler with us while keeping it convenient to get a soda or beer out of it. A solution could be an inflatable bar. It might have a cooler built into it, have can and glass holders, and maybe even a secure place to set snacks. It could be used in a pool, lake or river.
Many people drive into water and die each year. One solution to this problem might be inflatable flotation that is activated when the car begins to sink. They would quickly inflate in an accident involving submersion, and would keep the car afloat. Put one in the trunk, and another inside the car, or have them come out from the wheel wells. To avoid accidental inflation, the triggering device would be activated by water, but be in a place where rain and car washing water couldn't reach.
Vending Machine Products and Inventions
When I considered the concept of vending machines, the first thing that came to mind was a beer machine. It could only be used in a bar that was restricted to adults, of course. A big benefit is that it would lessen the need for bartenders, since half of all the drinks sold in a bar are just simple beers. It is an innovation that could be implemented tomorrow, using beer in cans in existing pop machines.
A vending machine for books and magazines might do decent business in an airport, bus station or other places where people are forced to sit for hours. They may already exist, but I haven't seen them yet. Add some padding to the drop chute, and existing snack vending machines could be used.
They sell phone cards everywhere now, but I haven't yet seen them in vending machines. You could also sell those collapsible umbrellas from a machine. There are dozens of other things that could be profitably sold from vending machines. Use simple techniques like this extension of existing concepts, and there are also thousands of other new products and inventions waiting to be made.
Accounting Professionals: Are The Necessary?
One of the greatest time wasters of all are unnecessary or poorly run meetings. If you want to dramatically improve your time management skills, then learn how to have productive meetings.
"Brian" is the Operations Manager in a large corporation. Every Monday morning, his CEO has a managers' meeting .
This is what usually occurs:
The agenda is circulated the day before which means the managers have little time to prepare.
The meeting always starts late as the CEO will wait for latecomers. In fact, he's often late.
A couple of the managers tend to "waffle on". The CEO who chairs the meeting is not assertive enough to keep them on track.. He's also a 'waffler'.
Most of the managers sit there, bored out of their brains for a majority of the time. They also get stressed as they feel they are wasting time listening to the "wafflers".
As the CEO does not schedule a regular "catch up" time with each individual manager, many unnecessary issues are also discussed.
If this describes some of the meetings you convene then how about taking action and ensure from now on that they are highly productive.
If you're like "Brian" and you would have difficulty suggesting to others how they could improve their meetings, then I suggest you pass this newsletter on to them. Effective time management also includes effective meeting management.
"You'll do so much you'll be surprised when you get your meetings organised"
9 Ways to Improve Your Time Management by Having Super Productive Meetings
Ask yourself, is this meeting really necessary?
Do you need a face-face meeting? A phone call, email or conference call might be a better solution.
Invite as few people as possible
Only have the necessary participants attend.
Have a written agenda with clear objectives
Ensure it is circulated well in advance to those attending. Indicate timeframes allowed to discuss each item.
Double check the meeting venue has been organised the day before
If refreshments are supplied include water and fruit. Ensure the meeting area is quiet with no distractions.
Start and finish on time
Respect your time and everyone else's.
Have an effective chairperson
Unsure who to choose? At the beginning of the meeting count up to three. At three, each participant points to the person they believe will keep the meeting on track.. The person with the most votes is elected.
Circulate the minutes within 48 hours
Ensure all actions have the appropriate person written next to them.
Stand up and stretch every 30 minutes
It's good for your mind and body.
Ensure all mobile phones and pagers are turned off
It's amazing - people have been known to survive without their phones and live to tell the tale.
Good time management is also about using your time wisely when attending meetings. If you can enforce these guidelines, you'll be happy to attend future meetings knowing that your time isn't being wasted.
Refinancing Real Estate Investments
Successful Entrepreneurs Are...
They see beyond obstacles. They focus on possibilities rather than
dwelling on limitations.
We hear many stories of men and women who have created great
enterprises from ideas others had rejected or said will never work. We are
inspired the most by stories of those who succeeded against all odds. As
an entrepreneur, you have the need to create, to start something that never
was or to improve upon an exciting product or concept. To bring forth
something new does not come without challenges.
Choose not to dwell on what you dont have (lack of money, time, support
or other resources). Make a choice to focus on what needs to be done to
manifest your idea and then make it happen! No more excuses! Stop
blaming others, your circumstances or yourself for why things dont turn
out as you thought they would. When we choose to focus on abundance
rather than lack, we harness the power to create and attract what we need
to achieve success. Those with sight see what is, but those with vision see
what can be. What are the possibilities in your life, what are the
possibilities for your business?
They plan well, and execute effectively.
Sun Tzu, in his book, The Art of War he wrote, the art of war is a
matter of life and death, a road to either safety or to ruin. The art of war is
governed by five critical factors. These are the way, the weather, the
terrain, the leadership and the discipline." Without a solid business
strategy, you become, by default, reactive rather than proactive. Reactive
businesses cannot grow into sustainable and competitive enterprises
because there is no roadmap to do so. Sun Tzu's five critical factors apply to contemporary business strategy as much as they do to historical military operations. To drive your business
using the art of strategy, it is essential to establish or clarify the overall
vision and goals of the organization (the way); understand the operating
environment facing the business (the terrain); develop objectives and
specific strategies for the organization to address (the weather); ensure
strong management to guide and motivate staff and to implement the
strategies in a timely manner (the leadership); and develop a robust
organizational structure, effective supply chain management and ensure
that performance is monitored against the stated objectives (the
Entrepreneurs often have great ideas, but in a zest to make it a reality, fail
to plan properly. This failure to plan can sink even the best of ideas.
Address the 5 critical factors as soon as possible by creating your strategic
plan if you havent already done so. If you have already created your
strategic plan, it doesnt hurt to give it the once over to ensure all the
critical factors have been addressed.
3. Problem - Solvers
They see a problem as an opportunity for growth and strategically seek
Are you solutions-oriented? How do you react when faced with a business
problem? Problems are just opportunities for growth and development in
disguise. Problems test you; they challenge you to change the way that
you think. There are thousands, if not millions of great inventions born
from perceived problems or accidents.
George de Mestral, a Swiss engineer, returned from a walk one day in
1948 and found some cockleburs clinging to his cloth jacket. When de
Mestral loosened them, he examined one under his microscope. The
cocklebur is a maze of thin strands with burrs (or hooks) on the ends that
cling to fabrics or animal fur. By the accident of the cockleburs sticking to
his jacket, George de Mestral recognized the potential for a practical new
fastener. It took eight years to experiment, develop, and perfect the
invention, which consists of two strips of nylon fabric. VELCRO, the
name de Mestral gave his product, is the brand most people in the United
States know. It is strong, easily separated, lightweight, durable, and
washable, comes in a variety of colors, and wont jam.2
Learn from George. Begin to look forward to your next problem; if you
look carefully enough, it may be a great blessing in disguise. What
creative and/or strategic solutions can you come up with and implement?
4. Risk -Takers
They are not afraid to challenge the status quo nor, are they afraid to take
the road less traveled.
The great people of this world are not the ones who did what had always
been done, they are the ones who stood up and said, how I can do this
differently? Great people are bold, they dare to dream, and they are
courageous in their endeavors. Little people are timid; they are scared to
dream and to avoid disappointment they refrain from great endeavors. It is
better to try and risk not reaching the desired end, than never to try and
never know what could have been. The level of success you may desire to
achieve may not have been paved by any before you. You may not be only
taking the road less traveled, but a road never traveled.
In order to succeed, sometimes you have to break the cycle of what
everyone says is fact and believe in what you know to be true. Christopher
Columbus knew the truth that the world was round even when the facts of
his age said it was flat. What would have happened if Columbus accepted
the norm and didnt challenge the status quo? This is not to say do not
heed good advice, as a matter of fact it is wise to seek good counsel. But
there are times when we have to make choices, small ones and big ones
alike that are contrary to popular opinion. These are the times when you
must separate the facts from the truth. The fact may be that you have a
great business idea, but no money to get it off the ground; however, the
truth is that you live surrounded by an abundance of all you need to get
your business off the ground but you have to learn how to tap into it. This
is where you must be creative, do something that you have never done
before; boldly seek partnerships, mentors and coaches to help you. Are
you afraid to take bold risks? Will you be content with playing it safe and
spending the rest of your life wondering what could have been?
They realize serving precedes leading.
A servant leader does not just focus on the bottom line but focuses on how
she can be of service to others. A servant leadership model is an inverted
pyramid in which the president of an organization is at the lowest point of
the triangle and the customer is at the broadest edge as opposed to your
traditional leader on top of the organization model.
Robert Greenleaf is credited with the term servant leader. In his book,
Servant Leadership, Greenleaf noticed that the most successful
managers led in a very different way - they led through service rather than
through positional authority.
Resolve today that your leadership, as an entrepreneur, is not purely self-
satisifying and profit motivating. Leadership is not about control and
manipulation, as it is only in service that one becomes great. Resolve to
be of service to your employees, shareholders, clients, suppliers and all
those you come in contact with.
If you are interested in learning more about servant leadership many
universities even community programs offer courses on the subject.
It is a worthwhile investment.
They don't quit. Instead, they fail forward to success.
Your first business venture may not work out as planned. Maybe neither
will your second venture or third. It is important to know that because
things dont always turn out as planned, it does not mean you are a failure.
Your business may have failed, but you have not! Smart entrepreneurs
learn from what didnt work instead of throwing in the towel all together.
Robert Kiyosaki actually said in one of his books that, unlike employees
entrepreneurs get paid to fail. What a strange statement, but it is true!
Entrepreneurs learn something valuable every time things go awry. As
humans we are programmed to learn by our mistakes more than our
successes. Did you know how to ride a bike the first time you got on one?
Could you use chopsticks as effortlessly as you can now? No! You learned
from your mistakes and eventually, you got it right.
By giving up, you throw away the opportunity to ever succeed. Every
time you stumble or fall in your entrepreneurial undertakings, rejoice, as
you are one step closer to success! You may have to change what you are
doing slightly or dramatically but whatever you do, don't quit!
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