Every piece of your business has its own purpose. Your business is unique and not the same as other entrepreneurs or business owners. While lots of processes and formulas will work for you, even the smallest template needs to be a custom fit for your business so it reflects who you serve.
The question of how to build a strong business foundation is usually met with two main answers:
1) Research your industry, so you can adopt what has worked for your competitors.
2) Get a mentor — someone who has built a successful business and can show you the ropes.
These are great answers, but they're not specific enough.
You'll want to customize your business right down to the tools you use, so it reflects who you serve. In other words, strengthen your business foundation by matching your tools, processes, and systems to the unique organizational structure of your business.
It's valuable to go through each piece of your business and make sure that it has your DNA encoded into it. The heart of your business is a positive mindset, your audience, and your value. Your foundation on the other hand undergirds the core of what you do and keeps everything stable as you build your business. These are some essential pieces of your foundation.
Lining up your mission and vision with your actual client
This step is vital. Sometimes when we start our business, we “know” our clients and how they want to be served. The disconnect comes when we think we know but we don’t really know. The easiest way to close that gap is to ask them. One of the goals I set for myself is to talk to women about where they struggle the most in their business. I do have a survey, but I really wanted to speak with them face-to-face. The insight I gained was powerful. Set a goal to talk to at least 10 women who are your ideal client. Repeat this exercise at least once a year or when you feel like you are not hitting your target market.
Building Systems and Processes that Work
Business systems are your guide on how to get things done in an orderly and speedy fashion because you have tried them until you land on what works best. The problem with most systems is that we learn about someone else’s system, and then we try to adopt what they are doing word for word. Unless we figure out how it works for you and adjust it, it will become a source of frustration. Apply the Keep It Simple philosophy and always take the most direct approach. Write down what you do. When and how. Then adjust for efficiency effectiveness or delegation. Always ask yourself Does this make sense? What seems clear to you may not be clear to someone else and then adjust again for clarity.
Expanding Your network
Try one of these three things every month (or a couple of months) until you have a healthy blend of the three.
Networking events and trade shows (live and virtual). These can include Giveaways, appearing in a panel, or just shaking hands.
Professional organizations or Masterminds. Over the last year, one-third of my income has been from this type of connection.
Referral partners. These are businesses that are already connected to your audience. They can be a great shortcut! Nothing is better than getting a referral from a trusted partner and can tie in the other two.
Brainstorm these questions for ideas. What services or products does your audience already use? What programs, organizations, or groups are they already connected to? What other interests do they have and what businesses would they be interacting with?
Knowing where you're at
If you track and analyze the activities in your business, you can pinpoint issues as they arise and make corrections quickly. Simple things like looking at an interaction on your social media posts or your newsletter opens are easy to do regularly. Also, tracking your networking activities daily (i.e.,– how many people you talked to, the results of those conversations), can help you as well. Analysis should be your best friend in your business! Do more of what works; do less of what doesn’t!