Foundation Building--Beyond the Business Card
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have [sufficient] to finish [it]? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish [it], all that behold [it] begin to mock him, saying, this man began to build, and was not able to finish.
In my observations of many people who desire to have businesses, I have seen the tendency for them to get a business idea, get some things in place, get a business card and then announce, “I’m in business”. That is not enough to sustain a business. And if that is all that is done, then as in the many cases I have observed, after a few months or a year, there is no business or the business has not grown or developed. So, this month I want to present the areas that need attention in order to have a business foundation for growth, development and legacy.
You have been blessed by God, educated, trained, mentored and coached. You are ready to sell your product or provide your service. However, what about the business management (business) of the business? There are two sides to your business—the “operations” side which involves selling the product or providing the service and the “business management” side, which includes the executive and administrative structure that supports the operations of the business.
This is what I call the business of the business—the foundation of the business. It may be easy to work in the business but to build a business to last you must also work on the business as well. No doubt you have a gift, talent, interest or skill set that can generate money. However, it is important to lay the foundation for the business before rushing into the providing the product or service.
Many of you have been or are in private, corporate industry or government as employees. You may not have been exposed to the business management of these entities. If this is the case, then it is much different working for someone else because it is their responsibility to create and maintain the business foundation. However, as the business owner, the responsibility shifts directly to you. You must address the business management of your business. If you don’t, then you set yourself up to waddling in shallow waters rather than moving out into the deep.
Yes, the less expertise you bring into the business, the more you will have to learn in the business--on-the-job training or incremental learning are positive terms for this process. In addition, you must have team members and alliances that bring expertise to the table.
The team and alliances may be, include or evolve into a Board of Advisors, Directors, or Trustees. Read, research, attend seminars and classes in order to gain general knowledge of what is required in each area and then develop a team and alliances for implementation. You may need to include in the team or alliances a mentor or a coach to work/walk with you individually or with other members of your team or alliance.
Do not try to do everything yourself or ignore what needs to be done because you are comfortable in doing certain tasks. You will only go so far doing everything yourself or not doing all that needs to be done, because you will not be looking and dealing with the big picture. If you ignore this counsel, something important and critical to the growth and development of the business will be delayed or won’t be done. (God showed me that even He operates in 3s--God, The Father; God, The Son; and God, The Holy Spirit.)
At a minimum, these areas need attention; you alone can’t do them all; and you cannot ignore them:
- Operations-the entire cycle involved in the sale of products or services; (I prefer to refer to sharing versus selling)
- General Management & Governance-business structure; legal compliance; general policies and procedures; automate and systematize processes; evaluation and adjustment mechanisms
- Accounting & Finance-$ In and Out; recordkeeping, reporting, review and analysis; tax and other compliance issues
- Marketing & Public Relations-How to get clients and customers--identifying your target market; Who are and Where are they; market research and feasibility; advertising and other awareness campaigns; plan of action
- Human Resources-employees and employee Benefits policies and procedures
- Information Technology-Implementation of automation and systemizing processes with computer and other technology
The Business Plan--the term that turns many potential business owners off.
I look at the Business Plan as a document presenting the vision and mission of the business by stating the strategy, goals and intentions with projected timelines and associated income and expenses. It can be one page to multiple pages depending upon the user of the Business Plan. Included in the Business Plan should be either a vision statement or a mission statement or both.
- Vision-- I associate vision with the visionary; someone who sees
the big picture--the end from the beginning; (Habakkuk 2:2--And the LORD
answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make [it] plain upon tables,
that he may
run that readeth it.)
- Mission--I associate mission with the missionary; someone who is on a divine assignment/commission/task to be carried out; how will the vision be achieved?
Perhaps in later articles we can address each area in more detail.
Wherever you are in your business--start up, growth or development--I encourage
you to be an eternal student, seeker of the truth, collaborator and seeker
Next month, in anticipation of the holiday season and the New Year, 2005, I will be presenting an article concerning generating money entitled, Why Multiple Income Streams?
Copyright© 2004 by Bonita M.W. Shelby, Used by permission, BlackandChristian.com
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Bonita M.W. Shelby is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Business
Manager. A graduate of Howard University, Ms. Shelby is a member of Jericho
City of Praise and a Breast Cancer survivor. She helped establish the Howard
University Hospital Breast Cancer Support Group. Ms. Shelby is the principal
and business life coach of Kingdom Business, Inc. Responses are encouraged
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