Ten Strategies to Launch a Successful Business.
“How to start a successful business venture in transformational times.”
1. Identify Where Your Passions & Skills Collide: Find the intersection between the things that you are most passionate about and those things you have the most expertise in. The things that you are most passionate about and best at should be the kinds of ideas you pursue a business venture around. Pursuing these things will maximize your ability to start a business successfully.
2. Create a Great Culture From Day One: All of the highest performing organizations share a commitment to developing world-class organizational cultures for competitive advantage. Their employees are empowered to take risks and get rewarded for achieving outstanding results. Employees are trusted to find creative solutions by applying a wide range of unique problem-solving skills. Their leaders make a concerted effort to obtain consensus from their employees to embrace the organization’s mission and objectives.
These organizations are extremely active and engaged in many good will initiatives and were practicing corporate social responsibility long before it became a fad and PR tool for others. People are coached, mentored, and receive continuous training and professional development. They are encouraged to work in teams, are tasked to work in different departments to gain maximum exposure and deliver maximum value to their company by using all of their core competencies on the job EVERY day. Employees conduct reviews of senior management, and communication flows in all directions within the organization. Partners vendors, suppliers, the media and YES..customers are constantly communicated with. People are encouraged to always ask “WHY” and “WHAT IF?”
3. Be Ethical For Competitive Advantage: Possess a moral compass that guides you through all of your strategic business decision-making. Research shows that the most ethical organizations are the most profitable. This has something to do with the fact that employees will follow you passionately, vendors, suppliers, and service providers will knock down your door to partner with you, and your customers will remain loyal to you and support your business through even the most demanding economic times.
The Ethisphere Institute of New York City has conducted significant research into the subject of organizations that possess a strong moral compass. They studied companies from 100 countries in 36 industries. They found that companies that exhibit the most ethical behavior have the highest employee morale, the most satisfied customers. Check out the list of 2011’s winners.
4. Lead, Don’t Manage: The word management which is derived from the Old French word ménagement means the art of conducting and directing. In Latin the words “manu agere” literally translate to “lead by the hand.” Management is characterized by leading and directing people. Management entails deploying and manipulating people as if they were no more than resources. Leadership on the other hand, leaders possess a VISION, build consensus, and guide / inspire others. Leaders have the unique ability to get people to follow them willingly and act with the highest behavior first then demonstrate exceptional skills to generate “buy in.”
According to John Maxwell: “Leaders know the way, show the way, and go the way.” Leadership is about setting a course of action and having people willingly follow you to achieve tremendous performance results as your company launches.
5. Create a Marketing WOW factor: Don’t tell your prospects what you do, or how you do it. That is NOT compelling and does not connect emotionally with people. All the best marketing organizations explain WHY their organization does what it does. It is absolutely critical that companies make emotional connections with your audience.
For a great description of this check out this presentation by Simon Sinek.
6. Plan, Plan, PLAN: In today’s hyper-fast paced business environment it is STILL critically important that you conduct planning prior to launching a business. You will need to analyze the market you are considering entering. Sure, you still need to write a business plan. You will have to follow all the trends and developments that affect your industry. Be sure to subscribe to all the relevant industry newsletters. Follow all of the most influential industry bloggers, join the trade associations that serve your industry, interview people in your industry, and find a coach/mentor with experience starting a successful business who is willing to take you under her/his wing.
7. Define Your Unique Selling Proposition: What do you offer that no one else does? What is it that you promise to deliver that is truly unique, memorable, and invaluable? When you pursue a business venture that truly does merge your passions and things you’re best at, it should be easy to define your USP. This is the messaging that you MUST include in the Executive Summary of your business plan.
8. Your Employees Matter Most: treat your employees like your customers and your customers like your employees. I was speaking with a friend who is a consultant who helps organizations to grow their business into new markets all over the world. I was telling him that in my experience most business owners treat their employees like assets that have to be managed. These managers consider their employees to be little more than a cost to be controlled. I said that these myopic managers use up their employees by depleting their energy then discard them through massive layoffs. He thought about it for a minute and said “Like photocopiers.” I said “What?”
So he explained that the worst business owners consider their employees to be human photocopiers. you do what you have to, in order to keep them running. you get as much productivity out of them as you can until they stop running then you discard them.
9. Take Great Risks and Fail Brilliantly: I am not sure when we became such a risk averse culture. Perhaps this is due to the lawsuit happy culture we are. Poorly run companies seem pathologically unwilling to change. They see threats where opportunities abound, they remain entrenched in their existing way of doing business (picture quick sand) without willing to consider different courses of action. World-class organizations and visionary business leaders know that if you stand still you get run over in these transformational times.
10. Good Is the Enemy of Great: Jim Collins wrote a book entitled: “Good to Great. Why Some Companies Make The Leap…and Others Don’t.” that really does a good job of documenting how great organizations simply do NOT tolerate GOOD ENOUGH. When you settle on getting by, you create a culture that in effect rewards mediocrity and the status quo. It’s really a mindset that you will NOT tolerate average performance.
11. Seek Funding While You Plan: Angel investors and venture capitalists will tell any entrepreneur that they should be seeking out funding sources even as you plan the initial stages of your new business start-up.
Here’s to your continued small business success.