As I let the feedback from Eight Lunches incubate, and I noodle on the direction of the next draft, I’ve thought a lot about business.
I think about it as if I really were someone’s business coach.
I think it as it pertains to my own business.
I think about it as if I were speaking to a group of 100 wannabe entrepreneurs.
Lately I was thinking about starting and sustaining a successful business. I’m sure people have thought about this a gazillion times, so perhaps there’s nothing new to this, but I’ve been trying to whittle down a model/system, so I could communicate it efficiently.
I came up with 5 steps or stages or components of this system… a system to create and maintain a sustainable business:
- Idea. It all starts with an idea, whether it is NEW (the better mouse trap) or old (a pasta restaurant).
- Execution. Not to use an ambiguous word that could be used in each of these five steps… but the idea here is to take the IDEA from step one and make it happen. This is, create the widget, open the restaurant, etc. This is take the idea off of paper and make it happen. And then wait for the build it and they will come/buy, thing, right?
- WRONG. Sales. This is key. This is the make-it-or-break-it thing. Whether you sell licensing to your brilliant thing or sell widgets at 4 cents profit or sell one thing every year for a million bucks profit, you gotta sell. Even non-salespeople have to sell – the brand, and the company.
- Delivery. Once you sell your job isn’t done… you have to deliver on what you sold. If it is a widget you put it in the mail (assuming it’s already been manufactured). If it is a custom quilt you have to sew it, if it is a consulting package or writing gig you have to schedule time to deliver on what you sold.
- EVOLVE. I thought steps 1-4 was good but in the last four years I’ve found that there is this tricky little thing I call business evolution… my business has evolved dramatically from what I thought it would be (and what you would read in my business plan from 4 years ago) to what it is today. Having said that I feel like I’m in the most torrential part of business evolution… based on technology changes, competition, opportunities, economy and market, etc. If you don’t evolve you might not live long.
Five simple steps… books can be (have been) written on each of these things… but what do you think… am I missing something (that can’t be put in one of the 5 above)? Is there a list like this somewhere else that you like?