Four Elements of Establishing a Successful Business

There are four elements present in every business which becomes and remains successful:  who is being served, what is provided, how the goods are delivered, and the plan for doing business.

The foundation for a successful business begins with defining your vision and clarifying your purpose:
    What business are you in?
    What do you want to achieve?
    What financial return do you want?
    How do you want to be perceived?
    What customer are you serving?

It is necessary but not sufficient for you to become clear on your business vision.  The next step is to select a strategy you can execute, to focus on how you can establish an awareness and understanding of your business in the minds of prospects and the marketplace.  If you are unable to reach potential buyers and position your business and its products/services as desirable and valuable, then you won’t be in business at all.
    What are you good at, what is your area of expertise?
    What are the skills of your team?
    What are the alternatives for pursuing your vision?
    What do you need to pursue each alternative – skills, resources (time and money), and operational elements?
    What are the gaps between what you need/want to do and what you can execute?
    How much time is it going to take?

The next aspect of a successful business is establishing a sound infrastructure.  This is how you are able to deliver on the promise(s) made to prospects and customers.  In order to solve problems, deal with issues, or provide a desirable ownership experience, business operations must be customer focused AND enable the business to do business.  Remember the mission, build a strong presence, and satisfy the customer.
    What are the required operational, sales, and administrative activities?
    Which activities do you know how to do?
    Which assistance do you need?
    How do you get that assistance
    What could or must be outsourced?
    What do you really know about the “business” aspects of business?

You’ve clarified your vision, selected the strategy which will turn the vision into reality, and built the infrastructure to deliver on your promises.  What’s next?

A successful business has mechanisms in place to measure success – it establishes targets and monitors specific results.  Of course you want the best product, the most innovative technology, and world-class service.  It is how you conduct and execute the operational aspects of your business – accounting and financial controls and oversight, purchasing, logistics, administration, sales, and marketing – that you build and maintain success.  Profitability is the measure which incorporates all aspects of how your business is doing.
    What measures relate to your objectives – financial, operational, and others?
    How are you going to know what is working and what is not working?
    How much time will you give various tactics before making a change?
    Who is accountable for success?
    What are you going to reward?

Success is determined by a combination of the product, the service, and/or the technology AND the business model used.  Neither alone determines success.  Nor does having both the business model and the product/service/technology ensure success.  Businesses must be capable of aligning the organization’s activities, allocating its resources, establishing priorities, assigning accountability, and measuring results.

Building a business is like setting out on a trip.  Without a clear destination, you don’t know when you’ve arrived!  With both a point of origin and a destination, you may select different roads for your journey.  Some routes may be shorter, others longer.  Some may require stopping for gas (pick up more resources), changing a tire (fix an unexpected problem), or asking directions (get help).  There is no one road to success.  Each business travels a different path, passing milestones, taking detours, overcoming road hazards and rising gas prices.

Regardless of the road taken – or the ones not taken, a business which keeps its objective in mind, pursues sound strategies, establishes and maintains a responsive operating structure, and assesses the results of its actions is capable of success.

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