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6 Tips for Building a Strong Business Foundation
by Jackie Roberson Mon, 04/10/2017 - 09:11
In more ways than one, a business is like a house. Different departments, like different rooms, serve different functions ― but all the walls are destined to fall unless the foundation is strong.
Far from being made of cement and stone, a business’s foundation depends on its founder’s knowledge, skill, attitude, and actions. Laying the foundation for a successful business should start years before its grand opening, so aspiring business owners should start the groundwork as soon as possible. The following tips will help entrepreneurs ensure a strong start to their business endeavors.
1. Separate Your Work and Life
Overeager for success, many entrepreneurs throw themselves whole-heartedly into their business endeavors. Americans tend to laud this overwhelming enthusiasm for career greatness; commitment to working day and night to achieve success is often seen as a trait only the best of us can boast.
However, humans aren’t built to handle so much stress. Entrepreneurs who don’t give themselves breaks from their work are destined to burn out, and their budding businesses will surely fizzle, too. Therefore, entrepreneurs must establish boundaries in their lives early on, so they can enjoy their lives as well as their work.
2. Craft a Realistic Plan
Stretch goals are motivating, but most of them aren’t attainable in the near future. Instead, entrepreneurs should draft a business plan that includes ideas for manageable milestones, such as securing reasonable funding, hiring available talent, and building sensible growth. Then, toward the end, entrepreneurs can add thoughts concerning runaway success to come.
Entrepreneurs who hope to use their business plans to curry favor with important investors must understand the proper format. A mix between a reliable report, a practical to-do list, and a pipedream-like prediction, a business plan is a delicately worded document, and practice makes perfect. For experience writing business plans as well as other essential business leadership instruction, entrepreneurs might consider attending the best online MBA program they can afford.
3. Review and Revise Often
A business plan is not an irreversible contract, and businesses cannot be obstinate if they hope to survive the turbulent markets. Entrepreneurs should be quick thinking and agile, able to pivot their businesses toward the easiest path to success. Amidst everyday responsibilities of building and maintaining a business, entrepreneurs should find time to review the efficacy of their existing plans and revise strategies to ensure the strongest and most satisfying growth. Advice from industry experts, especially those in an entrepreneur’s network, is invaluable for this ongoing process.
4. Obtain Sufficient Funding
Every entrepreneur knows the saying “It takes money to make money,” but it might be more prudent to say “It takes enough money to make money.” Entrepreneurs should know the best methods of acquiring funding for their industry; for example, tech startups have a better chance at catching the eye of wealthy venture capitalists, whereas small retail shops should most likely seek traditional small-business loans. Chasing the wrong source of funding will likely result in less money at the start, which creates a shaky business foundation. If an entrepreneur begins with less funding than he or she truly requires, it will be a longer and harder road to success.
5. Acquire the Right Tools
Fortunately for modern entrepreneurs, we live in an age filled with tools for starting businesses. Available online and often for free, web analytics tools, electronic records services, DIY website designers, digital talent searches, and more can be found and used by entrepreneurs. Still, entrepreneurs should be judicious with choosing their starting tools. Too many options can slow productivity and prevent progress.
6. Know Your Limits
As a business grows, it tends to break free of bonds that initially restricted it. For example, a business might move into different markets than expected, offer new products and services, or demonstrate different competencies than an entrepreneur predicted. Successful entrepreneurs should be able to recognize their business’s limitations and modify their plans as necessary to perpetuate growth.
Additionally, entrepreneurs must be willing to accept their personal limitations. Many businesses begin as one-person shows, with an entrepreneur performing all necessary tasks for success. However, as a business grows, entrepreneurs will eventually lose the ability to keep up with their responsibilities. Hiring employees is a necessary step in business growth, and entrepreneurs must learn to feel comfortable relinquishing some duties so they can focus on more important concerns.