To start and build a business requires proper planning make sure it is something you enjoy. Make sure you are always in control this is to make sure everything is done right. You should have enough cash set aside in case of hard times. Anticipate challenges and competition.
Goldman and Nalebuff share 10 must-follow rules on how to start and build an equally impressive empire (you can find these rules in the back of their book; ‘Mission In A Bottle’):
- “Build something you believe in — because that’s the first step to building a great brand.”
Just like Goldman and Nalebuff, I learned a powerful lesson in tenacious passion from 30 plus years of entrepreneurship. When you’re all alone, sitting in a dark room wondering why your business is failing, there is only one true thing to power you forward — you believe in your purpose.
- “Don’t aim for 10% improvement. Make it radically better and different.”
Yes — in today’s society we collectively create amazing products, services and companies through entrepreneurship. World changing at times and Honest Tea was radically different when first introduced. But, if you look around, we also live in the land of ‘me-too’ businesses. Don’t fall for it. Dig deep and decide right now to build something radically different and radically better.
- “Prepare to be copied. Don’t start unless you’ll survive imitation.”
If your idea is truly radical and takes off, you can count the minutes before the copy-cats arrive. How will you survive competition from the big 800-pound gorillas on the block? Or even from the upstart little guys? Your key is a system of ‘continuous innovation’. Although you could also take the road of Honest Tea — make friends with one of the gorillas and let them buy you out. (Coca-Cola Company acquired Honest Tea in 2011.)
Recommended by Forbes
- “Build up reserves of money and energy for bad luck and mistakes.”
Great advice — but sometimes extremely difficult to do. What startup or growth company has reserves of cash sitting around? But Goldman and Nalebuff make a good point — run as lean as you possibly can and do not waste money or energy. You will endure mistakes and bad luck along the way, so having a good war chest full of capital and energy can help handle it.
- “Never, ever give up control — until you sell.”
Some high-impact entrepreneurs will readily give up control in exchange for the lure of high-growth through venture capital — but I am not one of them. Relinquish control and you risk losing the culture and vision of the company you set out to build. Even though Honest Tea raised investment capital from the beginning, the co-founders always remained in the driver’s seat. (And yes — Goldman can still drive his vision as CEO of Honest Tea, but his boss at Coca-Cola can say ‘no’ at anytime. Thus, true control is forever gone.)
- “Don’t compromise on the big things — compromise on everything else.”
Vision. Purpose. Core values. Write these things in stone and never budge. But flexibility in the value propositions, products and services you build to execute your purpose is vastly important. Many entrepreneurs I see fail to ‘bend to the market’ by adapting to what their customer’s are telling them.
Success is achieved by creating a successful brand this means focusing on one particular product and goal. There is a need to have a partner that you can count on.
While the wildly successful tech businesses are the most celebrated ones (and what I’m admittedly working on right now), the reality is that most businesses, successful or not, are smaller, service businesses. Here are 10 simple steps I took to build our first company, a marketing agency, and a blueprint you can use to build your own business:
- Find a Trustworthy Partner
In my early 20s, I was working in sales at Radio Disney. I was the No. 1 sales person in the country until this woman came into my office and dropped me to No. 2 in just four months. I was shocked and stunned by her talent and I realized two things: a) I needed to marry her and b) I needed to go into business with her.
- Create a Strategy and Singular Focus
If you asked me what we did early on in our first business, I’d have told you, ‘What do you need done?” And if you’d asked me how much we charged, I’d have said, “What’s your budget?” While this may have worked early on to help generate revenue, it wasn’t sustainable. Ultimately, too many businesses fail because they don’t have a sound strategy and focus.
I’ve been using Verne Harnish’s one-page strategic plan for both of our businesses. Our management teams meet quarterly to plan the strategy, and believe it or not, thanks to Verne’s tool, we summarize the entire business plan and strategy on just one sheet of paper.
- Say No to What’s Off Focus
It’s easier to create and plan a strategy and focus than it is to stick to it. But if you’re going to be successful, it’s not just important to say “Yes” to the right things, it’s important to say “No” to the wrong things.
- Find Peer Support
It’s lonely at the top. Seriously, running a business is one of the loneliest jobs out there, even if you have a great partner. Nobody really understands what you’re going though. A huge part of our going from $1 million in revenue to $5 million in revenue in three years was my joining Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) in 2010. EO is the world’s largest peer-to-peer network of CEOs, and its most important element is monthly meetings with a small group of fellow entrepreneurs called Forum. My Forum of six people has become one of the most important resources in my business and life, my closest friends, and a great support system.
- Form a Board of Advisors
You can’t possibly know it all, and even with a great partner and great peers, you can use help in growing your business. While it’s great to have friends and mentors who can help you, I recommend you codify your mentors through the creation of a Board of Advisors.
In 2012, we asked longtime friends and mentors with a wide variety of experience and talent across various focus areas: finance, law, marketing, brand management, and sales. We formed the Likeable Advisory Board and instantly had a group of 11 advisors who we could call on anytime and who met with us formally four times a year to help us grow our business.
- Hire Slow. Fire Fast.
“Dave,” said my erstwhile employee of a sales manager I once had, “I don’t care if the guy is putting up big numbers. The guy is doing cocaine in the bathroom with his team.”
When I think back to the biggest mistakes I’ve made as an entrepreneur, they all revolve around hiring the wrong people, or worse yet, keeping the wrong people for longer than they should be around. The employee in the example above, I let go just after that conversation–but it was probably two months after the point at which I should have let him go.
- Build Great Values and Culture
You and your employees spend more awake time at work than you spend anywhere else, including at home and with your family. So the core values you have and the culture you cultivate at work is absolutely essential to your success and happiness.
- Build Your Brand
The world of the mobile internet and social media has made it easier than ever before for a small business to “act and look big.” One of our first decisions in business seven years ago was to publish a daily blog. A couple of years later, we had one the most well-read blogs in social media marketing–and that blog didn’t just build our brand–it kept generating lots of leads!