Building a strong business is not easy. The world of business is not a fairly tale where you can come out as a big, successful business tycoon overnight. Thus, in a straightforward manner, I share with you the steps to start a business as espoused by a lifelong entrepreneur Eric T. Wagner. (Read full story.)
Steps to build a business
1. Be very clear about your vision, purpose and core values
One of the wisdom that we gain from business leaders, like Steve Jobs, is to look at the bigger picture. The reason big companies survive is the things they do and how they do them are grounded on a clear vision and purpose of the business. Why do you think companies post the vision and mission of their organization on strategic places of their building?
Wagner advises: “Listen – get a clear understanding of where you want to go and why…What is the higher purpose for your company? What does your company (or you as the founder) believe? Big vision, core values and higher purpose are the foundations from which great entrepreneurs build great companies.”
So, to reiterate, be clear about your vision.
2. Do a realistic assessment
Let us suppose that you are absolutely clear about your vision. Where do you go from the first step? It’s about time to do some reality check. Wagner suggests:
“Well, start with yourself. Your experiences, gifts, passion, life goals and areas of weakness. Seriously. Knowing thyself is the first place to start on your trek toward your vision. Not only do you need to lay out what you’re good at, you need to spill the beans on what my grandma can do better than you. Meaning? Get it all on the table. Weaknesses too.
Next, you need to assess the resources available to you. Stuff like people, money, connections and know-how. Figure out what you have and what you don’t have access to. No man can build an island by himself with nary a resource in sight.”
3. Think strategically
Once you have established your clear goal, and you know where you are heading to, think about how you will proceed to your goal.
Wagner explains: “… creating strategy and value innovation for your business is a whole book unto itself. There are many types of process and methodologies behind strategic thinking and planning. But in essence, it comes down to this:
You know where you are; you know where you want to go; you now just have to list all the ways to get from point A to point B. Once you’ve done this, you then need to narrow it down to which way (or ways) gives you the best chance of getting there.”
I think this is the most critical step in starting a business – execution. Any idea, no matter how great, is rendered useless without execution. Entrepreneurs are doers, as Wagner quotes Atari founder Nolan Bushnell and Cheese’s Chuck E.:
“The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas — but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer — not a dreamer.”
Anybody can be enamored by the idea that business is for everyone, and that earning a million bucks can happen in a short time. This is true in fantasy land. The real thing about starting a business is hardwork and dedication. Success does not happen overnight, and the steps to realize your dream business is not necessarily a piece of cake.