Building Blocks for Success

It is not hard to become an entrepreneur.

Some do it because there are no other viable options at a point in time:  we don’t want to move, we were “right-sized” out of a job, or our employer closed. Others are fortunate enough to develop or find an incredible product -- or identify a needed service.  

It can be very hard to become a successful entrepreneur.

Many of us have a skill or talent that is in demand, but don’t know how to turn that into a business with the potential to succeed. Thankfully, even in tough economic times, entrepreneurship can offer tremendous opportunity. Opportunity, however, does not mean that success is easy, simple, quick – or guaranteed.  

What are the building blocks of a viable business?

  • A product or service that is needed and/or wanted.
  • A good price/quality ratio:  A fair price for the quality offered.
  • Accessibility. The target audience can buy or get it conveniently. In Retail, this is known as “Location, Location, Location!”
  • Cost-effective marketing.  
  • Leadership from a passionate advocate of the business.
  • Sound management: common sense, knowledge, experience.

What elements of work will make our business more likely to be successful?

Plan

Written plans save time and headaches in the long run. They don’t have to be complicated to be helpful. A financial plan, covering three to five years, should be included. That way, we can project what will happen if we follow a particular business path – and tweak it as needed.

Market

Even the best products need cost-effective and appropriate marketing. Or, they will not sell. For instance, it would be wasteful for a consulting firm with no local clients to put up billboards or advertise in the local yellow pages. A hands-on service provider (e.g., hair salon, plumber or physician) should be in the local directory -- that is where new residents are likely to look for resources.

Produce

Quality, cost and convenience are key components of a viable product. How can we make our product better? If we produce a product, can we make a profit while selling it in smaller quantities, or do we need to mass produce it to get the price low enough to entice buyers? Is it easy for the people who want our products to get them?  

Analyze

Knowing where you’ve been, and where you are, is necessary to define where you are going. Progress should be analyzed each month. Be sure to take a look back at the end of each quarter and year. Trends will become more obvious over time. Decide if changes to the written plan are required based on results and evolving needs.

How much time do you spend on these four elements? Where do you need to invest some resources?

Until we meet again,
The Entrepreneur’s Friend

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The Entrepreneur’s Friend® is a registered trademark of Wheaton Consulting Group LLC.   Photo credits: All photos were taken by Cynthia Wheaton and owned by Wheaton Consulting Group LLC except as noted. Coffee cup art by Jim Wheaton.   Author support: Fellow authors from The Wrinklings and Light of Carolina Christian Writers Group.

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