Many entrepreneurs are spoken of as people who have ‘built their business’, providing work and opportunities for many others. It’s the cornerstone of public and government support for entrepreneurial schemes, start ups and small business owners. However, there’s not much public understanding of what ‘building a business’ actually entails.
To avoid it becoming an empty catchphrase, let’s take a look at it and inject some meaning so when people talk about Elon Musk or Richard Branson ‘building a multimillion dollar business’ you can judge the effort they’ve actually put in.
Making a Team
One of the most important parts of building a business that’s going to last in the long term is putting together a team that have the skills to carry it forward. Your executive level roles need to be filled by the very best – people who will challenge you, expand your vision for the business and bring skills and points of view you simply don’t have.
Stocking your board with nodding yes men is simply a reassuring way to fail.Using only your personal network to recruit doesn’t get you diverse enough candidates. You need to work with an executive search agency to get the best people who can drive your business forward to success.
Obviously all business is riven by revenue, but the art of the finding good revenue streams is underdeveloped. Start up culture now revolves around successive rounds of investment, but this is far from sustainable. Rather than finding yourself hostage to the goodwill of investors, find reliable revenue streams to stabilise and then expand your business. Whether that’s big clients and private contracts or consumer markets, focusing your business on the people using it will tell you what they value and help you refine your offering to stabilise and maximise your revenue.
Planning for Growth
To truly say you’ve build a business you need to grow beyond your initial launch, and successful growth means planning. You need to tie your plans to the issues we’ve covered above and make sure you’re hiring the right skillsets into your business to handle your growth, as the needs of your business will change a lot as you go from fresh start up to established firm.
You also need to ensure your revenue can scale at the same rate you grow, so your growth doesn’t overbalance you, and leave you out of pocket and having to lose jobs or close locations – the poor planning that leads to that disaster scenario is the opposite of the ‘business building’ that gives entrepreneurs a good reputation and to be avoided!