Building a business is hard work. The rewards can be many, of course, but no one should expect it to be easy. If you are going to create a business that not only survives the test of time but also thrives as a leader in your space, you are going to need to bring plenty of energy and rise to the occasion.
One of the best ways to build something meaningful and lasting is to challenge the status quo and beliefs that have been held for years by countless people. If you just accept everything as it is, you won’t stand any chance to rise above the competition. By trying to see things from a different perspective, you just might be able to stand out in a good way.
With that framework in mind, let’s talk about how to build a thriving business through sound decision-making and a willingness to go against the grain. By the end of this article, you just might start seeing things in a whole new light – and that light could be just what you needed to get on the path toward long-term success.
It’s About Execution, Not Ideas
You will find in business that it is easy to fall in love with ideas. When you have a bright idea for your next venture, you can easily be convinced that this is the one that will vault you to fame and fortune. Not only are you sure that your new idea is the best path forward, but you are also rather protective of that idea because you assume that anyone who gets a hold of it could just run with it and succeed like you are about to.
Business isn’t really about ideas, however – it’s about execution. Ideas are relatively easy to come by, and they are all around us. The businesses that make a lasting impact on their industry don’t tend to be those with the newest or best ideas, but rather they are the companies that do an excellent job of creating a plan and then executing that plan relentlessly.
If you have been held back from starting a business, or from taking one to the next level, just because you believed your idea wasn’t good enough, it might be time to revise your thinking. As long as you are willing to work hard on your business and create the right systems and teams to execute properly, you stand a chance to survive and thrive. Can it still be helpful to have great ideas? Of course – but those ideas are only worth something if the systems exist to execute the ideas to perfection.
Bold Visionary Not Required
The public perception of a highly successful business is that of a company that is led by a dynamic, aggressive, confident leader. The founder of the company needs to be a bold visionary, so the story goes, and the rest of the team will follow along as necessary.
This is a nice story, but it’s simply not true. Good leaders come in all shapes and sizes and have varied approaches to how they operate. Some leaders get in the trenches and work side-by-side with their teams, while others keep their distance but offer excellent support and resources. There isn’t a right way to do it, so don’t feel limited if you don’t fit into the box that you have been led to believe is required for success.
Perhaps the greatest trait that can be displayed by a business founder, owner, and leader is authenticity. People can spot a fake from a mile away, so it’s only going to be harmful to be something you aren’t. Being real – with both your strengths and your weaknesses – will make it more attainable to build a supporting cast that fills in where you need help and comes together as a unit that is capable of achieving great things.
Find a Unique Path
It would be great if there was a copy-and-paste strategy that you could use to ensure success in business. Of course, such a strategy doesn’t exist, and if it did, everyone would follow it and we’d all be right back where we started. In the end, you are going to have to carve your own path, and that path will be one that no other business has ever traveled.
Sure, you can learn from the experiences of those that have come before you, and looking for wisdom and advice from others is a great idea. But many business owners and managers make the mistake of thinking that they are going to find a road paved with gold if they just look long enough. Don’t fall into that trap. Rather, you should be thinking about finding strategies that you can plug into what you already do to make it just a little bit better. Improving one little bit at a time, with the help and ideas you find in various places, is really the direction that successful businesses tend to take.
The Right Team is Required
There is no way to overemphasize or overestimate the importance of a great team of people in your quest to build a lasting business. Simply put, people make businesses, and having the right people in yours is the only way that any part of your vision is going to become a reality.
It’s not only about finding people with the right hard skills, although that certainly is necessary. In addition to tangible skills, you need people that are going to be committed to your vision and driven to see it through. There are going to be hard times along the way, and there will be challenges that need to be overcome. When the challenges arise, does your team break apart, or does it come together and put up a fight? Obviously, it’s the team that is going to come together in the face of adversity that will be far more likely to come out on the other side.
Knowing that success in business is as much about people as it is about anything else, successful companies tend to focus on culture in the hiring process. Do the people you are considering for various roles align with the culture and values that are already in place in your company? Or, if you are just getting started, what kind of culture do you want to create? If you know what culture you’d like to build, you can keep that in mind when picking the people that are going to join your team strategically. With a clear vision, along with a bit of good fortune along the way, you can wind up with a team that will take your company to greater heights than you could ever have taken it alone.
Shift from the Master Plan
It’s a great idea to have a clear, comprehensive plan in place for your business. You want to know where you are trying to go and how you are going to get there. Going into business without any kind of clear plan would be flying the plane blind – you’ll have no idea what you should be doing or what direction to go.
With that said, it’s possible to be too attached to your plan. If you aren’t willing to adapt to what you see in front of you while running the business, you’ll miss out on important opportunities because you stubbornly stick to the plan you had in place originally. Part of the art of running a business comes down to knowing when you stay the course with your plan and when to shift gears because an opportunity is just too good to let go.
Shifting from your plan isn’t just about seeing opportunities and pursuing them. It can also come down to facing the reality of a plan you had previously just not working out as you had hoped. This is the “cut your losses” side of adjusting from a plan, and it can save you a lot of time, money, and frustration. It’s great to be confident in new initiatives or ideas, but if the market is showing you that those ideas weren’t as good as you believed, pivoting away quickly is critical.
Be Competitive – But Not Obsessive
Every market is competitive, and as a result, all businesses need to think about the competition. If you operate as if there were no competition in place, you’ll be ignoring an important source of information that could help you better serve your customers. You need to know what the competition is doing in order to adjust and adapt over time. Companies that completely ignore their competitors are rarely able to stay in the market for long.
That doesn’t mean you can afford to obsess over that competition, however. This is another error that is made by too many businesses. When you think only about the competing businesses in your space and how to get ahead of them, you might lose track of what it is that makes your company great. This is another area where you have to walk a fine line while operating the company – paying enough attention to the competition to know what they are up to, while also keeping your head down and mastering the systems and processes that allow your company to thrive.
Don’t Put a Limit on Success
Perhaps above all else, avoid putting arbitrary mental limits on what you think can be accomplished with your business. You simply don’t know where the future will take you, so there is no reason to place constraints that might cause you to miss great opportunities or come up short of your potential.
Whatever has been accomplished by businesses that came before you doesn’t have to impose any kind of limits on what you can do. Even if you tried to model your business after another company that had success in a similar market, there is nothing stopping you from rising to greater heights. Once you reach one level of success, simply reset, take stock of where you are, and look for the next level. There is no telling where you’ll land in the end, so keep looking up and strive for greater and greater accomplishments.
Is building a business worth the effort? Absolutely – succeeding with your venture could prove to be one of the memorable accomplishments of your life. We hope the ideas presented above will help you get through those tough moments in your business and come out on the other side with clarity and purpose. Thank you for stopping by and good luck!
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