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.
A new idea is merely the combination of two or more old ideas. The creation of a new idea is the critical first step in establishing any business.
People who dream of setting up their own business but dont succeed, generally fall into one of three categories:
too few ideas
too many ideas or
waiting for the perfect idea.
Any of these three states of mind may hinder the budding entrepreneur.
Would be entrepreneurs with too few ideas.
These individuals typically say if only I had an idea for a business.
Just remember that if you say you dont have an idea it really means you have no-idea! If this applies to you, you need to get cracking on that first idea fast! As soon as you are able to dream something up, youll have the essential ingredient that all successful businesses are built upon.
Would be entrepreneurs with too many ideas.
Can you ever have too many ideas I hear you say? Well if your creative process leaves you feeling overwhelmed for choice then its definitely a possibility! Many highly creative people experience inertia in business purely because they have so many ideas. They dont know where to start or which idea to implement first!
If you fall into this category, just pick one of your ideas (it doesnt need to be your best one!) and begin to mentally develop it further. Consider the first key steps you need to take to push your business idea forward. Remember that you dont have to have a 100 page business plan or a fully formed idea before you can start taking action! All you need is a little focus.
Would be entrepreneurs waiting for the perfect idea.
This is the equivalent of expecting to know how to swim once youve found the perfect swimming costume.
If you fall into this category, even if you do manage to find the perfect idea, ask yourself whether or not you are going to have the right skill base to get it off the ground. Many successful entrepreneurs have failed many times before their perfect idea came along. It is through being prepared to fall down and stand up again that you develop the tenacity required to succeed in business.
Stay Ahead of the Game.
Whatever your circumstances, whether you are in business already or looking to start a business, creating ideas and being innovative will help keep you on top of your game. The way we are doing business globally is changing at such a rapid rate that if you dont consistently innovate, you will soon be out of business.
Cultivate your Innovation skills.
All the entrepreneurs that I have met have been possibility thinkers. By this I mean they keep their minds open to new opportunities and new ways of thinking. The best way for you to cultivate this ability within yourself is to spend time around other creative thinkers. Challenge each other to innovate.
A Simple Idea Creating Exercise.
Two nights ago I had a brainstorming session with a couple of entrepreneurial friends over a meal. We did a little 5 minute exercise where each wrote down as many ideas as they could on how to create a million pounds within a year. The quality of the initial ideas was absolutely irrelevant. What was really valuable was what came afterwards, when each person read out their individual lists and we discussed how these particular ideas could work.
We had a lot of fun, a lot of laughs and generated a couple of really great business ideas (as well as plenty of ordinary ones!), purely by focusing our brains to answer a simple question.
So how many entrepreneurs does it take to change a light bulb?
Well Im not entirely sure on the answer to that one! But I do know how many ideas it takes to start a business
Copyright Damien Senn 2005. All rights reserved.
Entrepreneur Training Program: Why is there a need for it?
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.
Entrepreneurs - Top 10 Essential Entrepreneurial Traits
Financial advisors often find themselves consulting to successful entrepreneurs about how to continue to grow their assets after the business has been sold or taken over through a carefully planned succession strategy. But developing a small business (defined here as having less than $50 million in annual revenues) is not so simple.
After the initial burst of business success and survival in the first three years, many small businesses encounter struggles that can leave them feeling isolated. What can assist a 30-year old consulting firm whose personal presence and paper products face a changing world of electronic presence and high travel costs by helping them with development of electronic products? What can encourage a small playground equipment manufacturer to move from $1 million to $2 then $5 million in annual revenues by helping her with facility expansion issues? What can help a successful cookie baker beat the competition through strategic partners, cause marketing and high tech kitchen equipment?
Small Business Development Centers can.
According to the Small Business Administration these SBDC's gave face-to-face help to more than 247,000 clients last year. A treasury of business answers lies waiting and ready to assist at 1,100 top colleges and universities across the United States, according to the SBA. These centers are funded by a combination of federal, state and local government monies as well as with private sector dollars.
Here are just few examples from the State of Wisconsin. The University of Wisconsin at Whitewater hosts a Small Business Development Center at www.uwwsbdc.com [http://www.uwwsbdc.com/] Its email is email@example.com This center is also affiliated with the Wisconsin Innovation Service Center, that "takes pride in an extremely high rate of client satisfaction...nearly 75% of clients have been referred by former clients and professionals. The Wisconsin Innovation Service Center charges an "affordable fee" to provide companies with enough information for improved product and market development decisions.
A few diverse examples of this university-related treasury of successes include these:
- A local gardener gained international attention for a unique gardening tool.
- An innovative drywall finishing product offers significant benefits over competition.
- A new product helps a honey producer grow.
- A business in the electrical equipment industry finds new customer segments.
- Investors and inventors find value in a flooring company start-up.
- An environmental product company breaks past the $15 million mark with a new product.
- An ornithology hobby becomes a successful business venture.
- An outdoor equipment manufacturer finds a potential acquisition.
- Customer purchase decisions and perceptions are revealed to a manufacturer.
- An automotive aftermarket tool gains distribution outlets across the U.S.
- A "hot" tool is offered to the propane and plumbing industries.
Part of the success of these entrepreneurs and a couple of hundred thousand others is due to the one-on-one relationship of these advisors with their entrepreneurial clients. Developing business plans, wading through loan applications, securing critical market research, exploring product design options, identifying a lasting competitive edge---these are typical of the services that SBDC's can provide to the entrepreneur.
These services are nothing to be sneezed at. In another state, South Carolina, the economic impact on the state's economy in 2005 alone was $86 million, resulting in a return on investment of $121.11 for every dollar of state funding, according to Regional Director Jill Burroughs as quoted in the Greenville News. Further explaining the power of the program, Burroughs said that breaks down to $45.7 million in capital formation, 1038 jobs created, nearly $25 million in wages paid, $869,000 in additional sales taxes and $15 million in contracts awarded to 381 businesses.
SBDC's are located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, Samoa and the US Virgin Islands. If you conservatively cut the impact of South Carolina in half and multiplied by the 50 states, you would have a $2.1 BILLION impact.
This is a powerful treasury of real riches that spills over to the rest of the economy from the struggles of entrepreneurs who refused to let their dreams be defeated by the obstacles they encountered. They got help.
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