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So You Think You Want To Start a Business…4 Elements of a Successful Business

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As Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs, we often see ourselves as courageous. Friends and family often frown and call us something else. Where others may only dream, we put that dream into action. Most of us start a business because we have at least two of the following things: Ideas, Talent, Skill and/or Passion. The other thing that most of us have is: A BIG Learning Curve on everything else it takes to create a successful business.

“Success is simply a matter of luck. Ask any failure.” – Earl Nightingale

If you are thinking about starting a business, there are some things to consider before you jump in and make it happen. The key question that has to be asked irregardless of your passion “Is this business model viable?” Even if you are not asking for outside funding, you will be investing your time and money and energy in this project. Will this be a wise investment?

There are four elements of a successful business model:

PASSION

PREPARATION

EXECUTION

WAIT there are only three listed above. What is missing? The missing element is the ability to PIVOT. Stuff happens. Things do not go as planned. Markets change. Customers are fickle. Technology continues to expand. The economy goes up and down. Formally successful business models have failed to PIVOT as the situation changed. All of these FOUR ELEMENTS are essential. One is not more important than the other, because if one is consistently missing, the business will struggle and ultimately fail.

We all know what it looks like when one of these key elements is missing. You may see a person filled with PASSION who immediately jumps into action (EXECUTION) with little research, minimal information and often little support. They find themselves in constant “crisis management” and eventually their PASSION falters. Another person may have the same PASSION and spent countless hours and resources getting ready to start or expand a business (PREPARATION), but never put the plan into action. The business never gets started and/or reaches its potential. Some people work hard on PREPARATION and EXECUTION, but have little or no PASSION for the business and are unable to find the drive and energy necessary to start and maintain a business. Others use only the first three: PASSION, PREPARATION, EXECUTION, but never use the power of PIVOT. A successful business model is fluid. At its core it remains constant, but internal and external pressures create opportunities for strategic and essential pivots. When one key element of the business changes, it forces changes in other parts of the business model and requires a PIVOT. These critical PIVOTS allow the business to adapt to its ever-changing environment. Each of these FOUR elements need to be functioning at optimal level. That synergistic energy creates and sustains a successful business.

You will notice this is a continuum; it has no beginning and no end. We are always in a state of flux as a business owner. Both internal and external factors are constantly changing. We must always be in “search” mode-looking for industry changes or marketing trends, implementing strategies and activities on a daily basis and PIVOT when business factors, i.e. market, technology, economics demand it. And if we do not carry and control our PASSION into all aspects of the business, we may:

  • miss the opportunity
  • hang on to a product too long
  • lose market share
  • lose our niche.

In this tough competitive environment, several things have changed for the Small Business Owner and Entrepreneur:

  1. There is little or no room for error.
  2. Strategies in marketing, advertising and promotion must be constantly assessed and if necessary revised and re-focused if not delivering a return on investment (ROI).
  3. All parts of the business must be functioning at 100% effectiveness.
  4. If your competition is NOT ahead of you, they are certainly nipping at your heels.
  5. Continuous learning is NOT an option and YOU must always be willing to learn and try new ideas and strategies to become and stay successful.
  6. The ability to adapt to an ever-changing environment is a required skill.

REMEMBER THIS FORMULA – SUCCESS = EVOLUTION not REVOLUTION (Modify, Measure & Pivot)

If you want to find out more about how to PREPARE for creating a successful business model, check out the classes I am currently teaching at the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center (SBDC), 1445 Market Street, Denver, CO or the North Metro Small Business Development Center (SBDC) located on the Front Range Community College in Westminster, CO. Check out their websites for all the training and FREE consulting they offer people thinking about starting a business or already established businesses.

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  1. February 1, 2014 at 5:15 AM

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