The answer to the question, “What does it take to grow a successful business?” should not be a 200 page dissertation. I am a great believer in the KISS method “Keep It Simple S—–“. Simplicity is a good word to remember and to apply while growing your business. Let’s examine a few basic, yet simple concepts that are the foundation for building a sustainable and profitable business.
- Do you know where you are going? Do you have a vision (what you want your business to look like in five years?) that you can share in a few brief sentences? If you can’t answer that question, then stop what you are doing and go to work on creating a vision. This is the driving force for everything else that your company will do while reaching its goal. Take your vision statement and place it in a prominent place so that you can see it every day.
- Plans are made to be changed. A vision statement tells you where you want to be in five years. A plan (road map) will give you the driving directions to reach your goal. As with any other road map, you will encounter detours, road construction, new freeways which may alter your course, pot holes and for sure a lot of traffic congestion (competition). While driving to your destination you will have to change your original driving plans and perhaps forge new roads, but your destination (vision) will always remain the same.
- Keep track of your gas (finances). Without gas you can’t arrive at a destination. Keep accurate records of your financial affairs. Make sure that all your expenditures are really necessary to keep you on the road.
- Systems and time management: As a business owner you are the chief navigator. In a small business you will wear a lot of different hats from product/service delivery, to accounting to marketing, to human resources, and most critical, marketing. Having systems in each of these areas and allocating the time needed to properly do each job is an essential part of driving on the road to success. Generating new business is often called the “heart and soul” of a business, but without having other components in order, it’s possible that you can strangle because of too much business.
- Action items: Select two or three of the most important things that you need to accomplish at this time to keep you on the road to your vision. Develop a mini-business plan for each, emphasizing accountability and a definite timetable for measurement, and then go to work.
A business of any size needs to stay focused on its vision. Setting small achievable goals (reaching mile markers) will feed your enthusiasm and help build confidence. Setting and reaching small goals aimed at your vision is the best way to travel.
When you know where you are going, you are half way there. Zig Ziglar