One of the terms bandied around in the entrepreneurial field is ‘building a business’. People point to Jeff Bezos of Amazon, and Elon Musk of Tesla as entrepreneurs who have ‘built their business’, but what does that mean? How do you go from an idea to an empire? Today we’re looking at three key pillars of building a business to help you as you start out on the long road to success.
A Great Team
Ideas are ten a penny. Everyone’s sketched out the idea for a billion dollar business with their friends over a coffee or a pint. What matters is execution, and the people you have around you executing your ideas. One of the most important pillars of building a business that lasts is a great team, from CS staff answering phones or receptionists greeting clients to your Executives who you work closely with to plan your strategy and put it into effect.
Finding the best people means stretching your muscles to create a diverse pool to hire from: staffing your C-Suite with people just like you meansyou could get wiped out by the next common problem you don’t anticipate. A diverse group of execs means the ability to predict lots more problems and face them positively.
Using a specialist executive search firm means you extend your search beyond your immediate professional networks, finding people with different backgrounds, skills and specialities that will give your business the broad expertise it needs to last into the long term.
Your brand is so much more than simply your advertising. Your brand is the ‘personality’ your customers construct for your business based on every interaction they have with it from, yes, posters and adverts, to the design of your products, the attitude of your sales staff and what they feel when they walk through the door.
You need to identify the market you want to tap, and make sure your brand is optimised to appeal to that market. Place your adverts where your preferred customers will see them: putting them in a weekend broadsheet will appeal to a different group than if you placed them in a free tabloid. Everything feeds into your brand, down your price point. If you’re selling yourself as an exclusive luxury, going cheap doesn’t open you up to more people, it makes the customers with money to spend doubt your proposition, so think carefully.
You need to back up every decision you make with data: data on your previous performance, data on your teams and individual employees, data on your competitors, consumers and the market at large.
Data allows you to predict outcomes from your decisions, and avoid the worst while maximising good returns; it allows you to predict the best times to launch a new product, or publicise a sale; it tells whether this is a good time to grow your business or if you need to focus on shoring up your fundamentals.
If you’re not able to listen to what the data is telling you, or the insights of colleagues with more experience are saying, you are undermining one of the most important pillars your business is built on, and that could bring the whole edifice down.