• building blocks to success

The Seven Building Blocks to Success in Your Business is a brief outline of the steps to follow to start planning your business with your desired outcome in mind.

seven building blocks to success in your businessBuilding a business without a plan is tantamount to planning to fail. You may have heard the term “Failing to plan is planning to fail” and it is true.  Most successful companies have established short-term, medium-term and long-term plans that are revised regularly.  You will be surprised at how things appear more orderly and more under your control when following a well laid out plan.

Foundation

foundation - seven building blocks to success in your businessBefore we start the process of growing your business, like any structure, we need to be sure we are working from a solid foundation. Things can go horribly wrong when there is a weak foundation and life becomes very busy with the multitude of tasks that need to be carried out on a daily basis. The four steps outlined will help you to ensure you have a solid foundation to success in your business.

Financials

Understanding exactly what your financial statements are saying in relation to your business, is one of the key cornerstones of your foundation. Imagine flying in an aircraft where the pilot has no understanding of the controls or the meaning of the myriad of dials in front of him. Pretty scary. Well imagine a growing business, and you have no idea what the warning signs are. The financial statements and other Key Performance Indicators, of your business are the dashboard of your business.

Measurements

Measurements will help to guide you to making the right decisions. Apart from financial statements and their accounting ratios, there are a number of other measurements to take into account. These measurements will vary from business to business, but let’s look at some of the essentials.
Sales per customer walk-in, or contact via phone, email etc. This will help in understanding your conversion rate i.e. what percentage of people who contact you become customers.
Average invoice value. A good indicator of how much, on average, each customer is spending with you. Calculated by total value of invoice for the period (e.g. month) divided by the number of invoices.

Destination – goals

You have to know where you are going. Cruising around on an extended holiday may be fantastic and a great lifestyle, but it is not a good way to run a business. It’s important to set targets that you want to reach, for example sale per month, quarter, year etc.
This will help you to look at new strategies to help you achieve your target. Goal setting strategies are as essential to the operation of your business as almost any other aspect. Goal Mastery For Personal And Financial Achievement  will help you to set and focus on your goals. Goal setting is also a motivational tool, to keep you focused, and working towards your ultimate dream of success in your business.

Planning/budgeting

Setting goals, which includes a financial plan, let’s call it a budget, will allow you to have greater control on your journey. Imagine asking a builder to build you a house. What’s the first thing he is going to ask you for? That’s right – a plan. If you have a plan it is easier to see where you are going and gives you more control over your business.

Target Market

target market- seven building blocks to success in your businessOne of the most misinformed areas of running a business is identifying your target market. If you say that your target market is ‘everyone’, well, you have a bit of learning to do.

Identifying your markets

You can have a number of different markets. But you need to target each one of them separately.
Some of the ways in which you can segment your market are: Demographics; age, gender, family status, single etc. You can also identify your market by the type of work they are in, the hobbies they like the sports they play and so on. By clearly defining your target market, it will make it easier for you to find where your market “hangs out”. This will help to clearly define your niche.

Finding your market

To find your market you could look at magazines, websites, television shows, to get an idea of how they promote to the market in your niche. For example if your target is mainly young, single people who want to undergo a course of study in your field, you are unlikely to find them in pensioners magazines. A bit of study and examination in finding  your market can pay huge dividends.

Promotion to your market

Now that you know who you are wanting to communicate with, it will be easier to decide what you are going to say, and what medium you will use. Because it can be free or cost very little, social media is an excellent way to promote your business. But be careful of making assumptions. To think that mainly younger people use Facebook or Twitter would be a mistake. Look at the statistics, do some research (e.g. google), you may well be surprised.

Sales, Repeat Business

So many businesses continually try to attract new customers at the expense of their existing, loyal customers. Putting an advertisement on a blackboard outside your hairdressing business offering 20% for new customers is unlikely to attract new customers but may very well send your existing customers away for not being valued. A business exists and thrives on customers. Studying sales and sales techniques, including increasing repeat business for existing customers is essential to growing your business. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you know all there is to know about selling. Professional salespeople study their profession for the whole of their careers. Techniques and strategies are changing and improving all the time.  Be sure to only study honest, ethical techniques in sales. Manipulation and dishonesty have no part to play in today’s marketing.

Measuring

“You cannot manage that which you do not measure”. Keeping records and measuring the results of campaigns, sales offers, and other strategies is at the heart of marketing. Imagine if you had a rally successful sales campaign, and you did not keep records to understand why it was successful. How would you repeat it to get good results again. What would you do to improve it. Constant measuring, making adjustments and looking at your results in alignment with your goals or plans is the essence of successful marketing.

Systemization

systemization - success in your businessSystematizing your business increases efficiencies, which means making more money and increasing the capacity to sell more. Almost everything you do can be systemized. The advantage of systemization is that you can get other people to follow the system while you get on and do the more important things, like growing your company. The key thing about systemization is that you look to the system to rectify issues, rather than individuals. Get the individuals in your business to follow the system.

Create The System

Many people struggle with systemizing their business and they don’t know where to start. The first thing to do is identify the various areas of your business. For most businesses there are three main areas: Administration, Production & Sales. Pick one area first, and one task that can be systemized. Make it a simple one, so you can do it fairly quickly and gain confidence in creating systems. Be persistent, it takes time and efort to create effective systems.

Follow the system

Creating a system and then not following it would be a waste of time and effort. It may be challenging at first, but stick with it and make sure the system is doing what it is designed to do. Systems require frequent monitoring and modification. Maintain the system and make sure your team follow the system.

Manage the system

A system needs to be constantly managed and adhered to. If you employ people, consider making them responsible for making the system work. There are invariably some people who will “buck” the system. These people will bring the whole system down and prevent you from getting on with growing your business.  All the best run and most efficient companies and organisations have effective systems in place.

Refine the system

Systems need to be refined and improved upon, constantly tuning them to maximise the advantages of the system. Ask your staff why they are doing something or following a system. If they say something like “that’s the way we have always done it here” then that’s a clue that the system requires closer inspection, and getting the users of the system to understand why they are doing what they doing.

Teamwork

teamwork - success in your businessHaving a team of people working with you can be the leverage you need to grow your business and enjoy a better lifestyle – providing you have a good team. On the other hand, not managing a team effectively, has been the downfall of many businesses because it all got too hard and too complicated. Teams can be very powerful, but it is important for the manager or owner to harness that power and make sure everyone is working towards a common goal, and following the rules and systems.

Developing a culture

Setting the culture you want in your business and ensuring the team is in tune with the culture will make a huge difference in the operation of your business. If you clearly define how you expect your team to behave and carry out their work you are more likely to get everyone working together. Parts of the overall culture should include points such as Integrity; Honesty; Loyalty; Caring for team members etc. Creating and maintaining the culture of your business is one of the most important tasks you can do to ensure a vibrant and successful company.

Values

Closely aligned to the culture of your business is the values you expect to uphold. Your values, your beliefs and the way you conduct yourself, trickle through your team persistently.  They will ultimately adopt the valuess of their leader. How do you value respect for others, telling the truth, being open and honest in your communication with others?

Leadership

Leadership grows a company, management carries out the order of business, supervision manages the daily tasks. As a leader, you need to be inspiring, to get people to see your vision and follow you. Many leaders are natural leaders, but that means they are the right candidates for more training. Imagine being in an army where your leaders had not gone through an intensive training course on how to lead. If you are leading a team, you need to study leadership.

Time Management

time management - success in your businessTime management is a misnomer. You cannot manage time. We all have the same amount of time , 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We can only manage ourselves, to make the most of time allotted to us on this planet. But we can improve our efficiencies to make the most of the time we have. Time management is the act or process of planning and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency or productivity.

Time management may be aided by a range of skills, tools, and techniques used to manage time when accomplishing specific tasks, projects, and goals complying with a due date. Initially, time management referred to just business or work activities, but eventually the term broadened to include personal activities as well. A time management system is a designed combination of processes, tools, techniques, and methods. Time management is usually a necessity in any project development as it determines the project completion time and scope.

Lifestyle

lifestyle - success in your businessUltimately, your business should provide the lifestyle you want. So many people find that the business takes over their life, and they no longer have the money or the time to do all the things they want to do. This is an important part of the planning process, right from the start. When you are setting your goals for the business, it is important to include what it is you want from your business. Again, as part of goal setting, you need to be specific about what you want. The number of days per week you work, the houses, cars and things you want. But describe them in detail, let the subconscious mind work on these details so you will do what you need to do in order to achieve these things.

Time and Money

Very few people can have one without the other. You have to put in the time in order to get the money. And you need money to buy you time, to do the things you want to do – with the money you have. But there has to be a balance. Working so hard that your family no longer recognises you, or you miss the important events in your children’s lives, may bring regrets later on in life.

Why choosing a lifestyle is important

Choosing a lifestyle means you are going to plan, and work your plan, to achieve the lifestyle you want. If you don’t chose the lifestyle you want, you are leaving it up to fate, or other circumstances that will lead you down various roads that may not lead to where you want to go. Choosing your lifestyle is part of your business plan, because it is the business plan that will ultimately give you the lifestyle you want.

Passive Income

success in your business - passive incomeSo now you’ve got your business working for you, and you’re making a lot of money. What so many people do is buy a bigger house to live in, buy expensive cars and go on overseas trips all the time. And that’s fine, but if you are relying solely on your business to provide you the income to enjoy this lifestyle, it could all come horribly unstuck. Things change fast in this day and age, and what one day is seen as a stable market, could change overnight. Just have a look at the way the internet has changed shopping, putting so many retailers out of business.

That’s why it is critical that you invest some of the cash from your business into other, passive income producing ventures. Set up a strong portfolio of shares, property and other long-term investments to ensure your personal wealth continues to grow. Seek good advice from respected advisors on your wealth building strategies.

Getting your money to work for you

This means putting a good chunk of the money you make from your business into other investments that are going to have a good return on you investment. Generally speaking, put this money into capital increasing investments that are not going to deteriorate in the long-term. Probably easier said than done, so it is advisable that you seek advice from respectable, reputable professionals in the investment industry.

Maximisation

Once you have your company running smoothly, with systems in place, you may want to consider duplicating, or multiplying the operation. Franchising has become a lucrative and effective way of maximising your business.  As a leader you will want to pass on your leadership skills to the leaders you have acquired to run the various operations of your business.

Philanthropy

To leave your mark in society and leave a lasting legacy, consider what charitable organizations you may to support with the money you have made. Helping others can be one of the greatest rewards of your success.

Action Steps

action steps to success in your businessTake one step at a time and work through each of the building blocks to success in your business, methodically, and with a clear vision of what you want to obtain. While planning is  one of the most important steps, and should be one of the first to carry out, you can work on each of the steps as it suits you.  The main thing is to take action on the elements you have learned, and have a structure to the growth of your business.

This guide on the seven building blocks to success in your business is just the start, to give  you some ideas.  It is now up to you to research, read, learn and become proficient in each of the seven blocks.

 

Highly Recommended Reading for Success in Your Business

This an absolute must for every entrepreneur, no matter how long you have been in business. It will open your eyes to a totally new of looking at your business and has influenced many thousands of managers and owners to improve their business. You can order it from Amazon now.

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It
Michael E. Gerber

 

 

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