Having walked through the 4 Pillars, we now turn to the question of how to turn this knowledge into business success to give you the best chance to survive and thrive.
Let’s quickly recap.
There are four foundational pillars that apply from self-employed small businesses to large Fortune 500 companies.
Whether you like it or not, you are a leader when you run your own business. This is obviously important when you lead a team, but your personal leadership is also important as a solo-operator dealing with the multiple challenges of running a business. Developing your leadership skills is essential, and this includes your motivation and organization skills.
Let’s face it! No sales = no business. Consequently, every business is a marketing business.
There are countless examples of someone with a ‘better mousetrap’ not doing anywhere near as well as a business with an inferior product. Why? Because that business was better at marketing and sales.
For your business to survive and thrive, you need effective, consistent marketing to make both potential and existing customers aware, along with effective sales skills to convert those leads into sales.
This is all about doing the business of the business. Effective marketing and sales leads to customer expectations. You must meet and even exceed those expectations for your business to survive and thrive. Consequently, this pillar is all about the systems to ensure a high-quality product and timeframe that delights your customers.
According to Investopedia, “Running out of money is a small business’s biggest risk.” Consequently, managing cash flow, along with the other administration and finance activities are critical to business survival and prosperity. Whether your business is a one person show or a large international company, you must dedicate adequate time and resources to the finance and administration aspects of your business.
The four foundational pillars are all requirements if a business is to survive and thrive. The degree of focus will vary for different businesses but, maybe with the exception of someone who is forced into a sub-contract arrangement with the one employer, all are necessary.
In the ‘Product Delivery’ pillar we talked about Standard Operating Procedures, and in reality, SOPs are useful in the other pillars as well.
But another tool that brings all the pillars together and used extensively by larger businesses is a ‘business plan’.
A business plan is something that is neglected by many self-employed small business owners who either don’t see the need for it or are simply scared by their paradigm of what a business plan requires.
However, it doesn’t have to be the long, formal document. Instead, let the level of detail be determined by how complicated your business is and whether you need outside funding.
There is no question that a business plan will make you more successful.
The first reason is that the process of doing a business plan helps you think about the things you need to know to make you successful. Things such as:
The second reason is that it gives you a blueprint for running your business as you can use it to map out your goals and action plans.
When a business is looking for funding, the business plan will need to be very detailed and comprehensive. However, an effective business plan for a small business does not need to be over-complicated. In fact, there are a number of templates for a 1-page business plan available.
Your plan is the blueprint for building your business, so it only has to be as long as you need to set out your goals, action plans and financial forecasts. It will significantly increase your probabilities for success.
Almost all very successful business owners regularly set business goals and action plans. If your business has been struggling or you are contemplating some changes, developing a business plan will bring clarity and help you make decisions.
Traditionally, most business plans include the following:
When you are looking at starting a business, a business plan helps to give clarity of whether your idea has potential and is financially viable.
For an existng business it helps you to plan out your strategies and goals, and you should revisit regularly. If you’re not getting the results you predicted, or there are changes to market conditions or other external factors, you need to review your plan and make some adjustments. Use your business plan as your road map that you constantly refer to as you work towards your business goals.
Your business plan should be your blueprint for success and it does not matter what type of business you run, you can benefit from creating one.
Of course, if you need to raise money, potential financiers will also want to see a detailed plan.
Let me tell you a story…
When I first started my own business, I used to talk to my brother about the business – the challenges I had – the successes I had. And then one day my wife said to me, “Why do you do that? Can’t you tell he doesn’t understand what you are going through and even feels threatened by the idea of you being successful?”
So, the next time we had a discussion, I paid more attention to our discussion and his body language. And I saw she was right. So, that was the end of those discussions.
But the truth is that this generally applies to all people who run their own business.
Being a self-employed small business owner can be a somewhat lonely existence. Your employees don’t have skin in the game and don’t have the same level of commitment as you. And they get paid whether cash flow is plentiful or tight. And you family members who have regular jobs don’t understand either.
That was a major reason why we commenced the Self Employed Small Business Academy – to give people who take the risk to become self-employed and run their own businesses someone to talk to… someone who really understands.
The other reason we started the Academy is because we have helped so many small business owners over the years and we know we can help you.
We firmly believe in the 4 Pillars and are passionate about helping people who make the decision to become self-employed, to be as successful and they can potentially be.
So we have sourced and created training courses and resources, that you can access to boost your own skills and, as your business grows, the skills of your team members in the pillars of leadership, marketing and sales, product delivery along with administration and finance for a small monthly fee.
But the truth is that action takers have the most success.
Click on the link below to take a trial of the Self Employed Small Business Academy for just $1. Take action now!
The video presentations on this page contain images that were used under a Creative Commons License. Click on the links below to see the full list of images and attributions:
Survive and Thrive in Business
Your Business Plan and Why You Need One
Really? Well, here’s what you’re missing out on…
Supportive Community of Self-Employed Small Business Owners and Experts
Library of Step-by-Step Courses to help you in your business
Cheatsheets and Checklists so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel
Exclusive Resources and Perks