There are four fundamental must-haves for business success if you want to be assured of your long-term success. They must be present in the life of your business. There is no way around not having them IF your company is to survive in the long-term, and to grow proportionately to the time your company has been in business. While there may be a few exceptions (none that I can think of right now), it is highly unlikely that those companies without these four fundamental necessities will ever grow to a place of national, let alone global recognition.
The four fundamental must-haves for business success are a part of every successful business that I have seen or worked with in my career as a business consultant and coach. And with the business environment of our global economy as it is today, these four fundamental must-haves for business success are especially important in the 21st century. See how your business backbone measures up to this litmus test of success essentials for a thriving business:
1) You must have a business plan
A business plan is a must-have road map that quides you on the road to your success. For any oceanic boaters reading this, it is the navigational charts for your company's long-term success in navigating the sometimes stormy seas of a very competitive marketplace. Business plans are not hard to develop; however, there is seldom a business that succeeds in the long-term without one. If you are not certain how to go about developing one - even if your business is already in operation - it will be worth every dollar you spend to develop one.
2) You must have a marketing plan
A marketing plan is a strategic directive for your business that produces the marketing muscle necessary to compete in the marketplace. In the 21st century, marketing plans must include flexibility that includes the ability to change with new paradigms in technology and consumer buying trends. A marketing plan gives you the competitive edge over your competition, allowing you to seize the opportunity before it even presents itself, because it is anticipated, and thus able to be capitalized on much more quickly. This is the same for every industry, from restaurants to construction to technology.
3) You must have a public relations strategy
Notwithstanding the essential nature of overcoming 'bad publicity' you or your company receives as a result of impropriety or the misdeeds of those associated with your company through a public relations initiative, having a public relations strategy reaches far beyond just damage control. Today, consumers (your potential customers as well as your existing customers) are more conscious than ever about how a company conducts itself in the affairs of the world.
A public relations strategy frames corporate responsibility around highly visible social issues and causes that the masses identify with and see as important in their lives and to their families. The company that takes the incentive to get involved in these things stands to benefit in both the short-term and long-term as their reputation for 'caring' becomes well-known by the general public.
Another imperative within a public relations strategy is an initiative to build the "KNOW, LIKE, TRUST Factor" between the buying public and your company is an essential. The more people get to KNOW you, the better the potential there is for them to LIKE you. The more they LIKE you, the more potential you have for them to TRUST you. The more they TRUST you, the greater the likelihood there will be for them to be willing to buy from you when the time comes to purchase what your company offers. Both of these imperatives are essential in a public relations strategy.
4) You must have good advisers
The cost is almost inconsequential when you consider the importance of having wisdom and business acumen at your fingertips. You don't know what you don't know. No matter what the cost, having skilled, wise, and dependable advisers is an absolute must. While in some circumstances specialized counsel and adviser may be required, the foundational advisers are obvious, and most every business owner already has the innate sense of their importance in the success of their company.
Accounting expertise provides the must-have skills for tax and regulatory compliance; analysis, planning, budgeting, and auditing.
Legal expertise is without a doubt a must have when it comes to limiting your legal exposure in the course of business operations. It is seldom that a business success story is every absent of sound legal expertise. Legal counsel provides ongoing oversight for a wide range of personal and business needs - regulatory compliance, general business activities, contracts and agreements governing relationships with vendors and customers, the ability to limit potential claims or litigation that come as a result of missteps or oversight. All of these legal needs are inevitably a part of a business, whether it is thriving or not, and having timely legal advice is an essential need PRIOR TO an action or activity that opens you or your company up to liability. Without any doubt, the old adage, "An ounce of prevention is far better than a pound of cure," is best illustrated in the legal needs of your business.
Competition in the business world has never been more fierce. Having the right advice at the right time is an absolute essential in today's volatile and highly competitive expanding marketplace. Business advisers are those who offer specialized business advice where you lack the expertise or business acumen to know what is the better direction to go with your business activities or in the management of your staff and its resources.
Business advisers, i.e. business consultants or business coaches provide important insight, OBJECTIVE input, and guidance based upon sound business, marketing, human relations, and public relations principles. Business advisers can be retained on an as need basis or placed on retainer so that you can have ongoing feedback in order to help you make better, wiser, and more informed decisions to help ensure your business success.
This is one of the most cost effective and most valuable means by which to avoid most of those setbacks that ultimately cripple the success of you or your business. It is time to at least get a business coach if you find that you continually procrastinate in the execution of your personal or business goals, or drag your feet on making important decisions that can ultimately leave you and your business in jeopardy of being shipwrecked either by changing paradigms, technology, or economic changes (just to mention few).
The reason that so few small businesses last more than five years is that they lack these fundamental necessities in their arsenal of business tools. Do you have the fundamentals covered that you need to be successful?