There are lots of factors to consider when building a house to make sure it’s safe and strong. Even the best home builders will tell you that nothing is more important to ensure a lasting structure than a firm and steady foundation. This is equally true in business, no matter the type or size. Essentials like your business plan, marketing strategy, budgeting and accounting, and processes and work flow for time management must be unyielding and durable. This is critical to the success of your business from the day you “open doors” to the day you sell it, shutter it, or sign it over.
Know Your Soil
We had some experience in the tech world when we started Aisle Planner. At that time, however, there was nothing we could compare our vision to. Even though we had built up years of our own experience, we needed to build a broader perspective. This would help us vet the kind of brand we wanted to be and the types of products we wanted to make. We “tested the soil” with our peers across the industry and researched other brands and other segments. We listed the things we loved and wanted to emulate, and the things we wanted to avoid. Having the most up-to-date perspective of what your market looks like will help you construct the strongest foundation for your business essentials.
Good foundations are laid only after a surveyor has evaluated the land and set the corners. We embraced every perspective from our peers. We also respected the fact that they, like ours, were coming from a single altitude and angle. Outside points of view from higher up were going to be necessary to getting it right. We consulted friends and colleagues from other industries who could provide us with that all-important “thirty thousand foot” broad view. This valuable insight proved our vision. It also challenged us to consider things we hadn’t or couldn’t have seen from our limited view point. Consult people you trust who can provide you with an outside vantage point and expert guidance at different scales of business.
Grab Your Shovel
There’s a saying we continually remind ourselves of: “The pursuit of perfection is just another form of procrastination.” For as much preparation as you’ve done, at some point you simply have to grab your shovel and start digging. That’s what we did when we launched. We weren’t 100% content with what we delivered. We were 100% driven by our vision, confident in our foundation, and willing to learn and adapt along the way. A successful venture, at any age, requires the boldness to act in the face of the unknown. Start building your business essentials and accept that the need will arise to reassess, enhance, or completely reconstruct them on an ongoing basis as you grow and the market shifts.
This is where the rubber meets the road. Or, in foundation terms, where the concrete hits the dirt. Constructed of wood or simply formed by the soil around it, well-cast, solid footings ensure a strong, stable foundation. The footings are the foundation’s anchors to the solid ground below and, therefore, the anchors to the entire structure. Likewise, your essentials are the anchors to the mission and operation of your business. Composed with clear outlines and objectives, your business essentials will provide legible, practical guidance for easier decision making. It’s important to maintain the same level of definition to any revisions you make. Even in times of a shift to accommodate changes in market or trends, you’re always in alignment with your goals.
Over the next month, we’ll be focused on the all-important essentials to any business, big or small. We hope you’ll glean a nugget or two that inspires you to create the first round or revisit your own business basics. Ultimately, we want to see you flourish in this industry we call home. That’s what’s central to every one of our business essentials at Aisle Planner.