Home » Business » Building a Business Requires Solid Foundation

Often those dreaming of being business owners have this idea that magic will happen and they will end up with an instantly successful company that runs itself and makes you enough money to afford a new Mercedes within the first month.

New entrepreneurs who set up a business to create and sell an idea they have may severely underestimate the time and effort it takes to build a company. Building requires energy. It is a process.

Just like building a house, building a business requires a solid foundation and while you may be able to build a house from scratch on your own it is far easier if you get reliable help.

The foundation will be a clear vision and the ability to cast direction for others. There is a small but significant difference between vision and planning.

Vision allows you to plan. Plans shift on top of the blueprint of vision. The vision is what you are building, the end product or desired outcome.

“We provide affordable telecommunications to rural Zimbabweans”, “We provide simple yet effective payroll solutions for small businesses”, or “We make your information easy to handle” are examples of condensed vision.

The plan is based on that. Plans can change, vision will probably not. I started a business on the cusp of the hyperinflation era that characterised the later part for the 2000 decade.

Investors wanted a five-year cash flow projection and a plan. So I popped one out for them. We all know how that ended up.

Within a year I had to seriously revise any plans and projections frequently as inflation blew any ideas out the water. The vision though stayed the same throughout the period.

Regardless of your vision there is a point where you have to outsource or hire for skills. I would suggest that a great time to start is when you have to begin dealing with ZIMRA because even if you can do it on your own you really do not want to get your taxes wrong.

Outsourcing avoids the costly overheads of a salary. You pay per project or per unit time to get a job done and only use the person when you need them.

It avoids office space, company cars and packages. In the long term though you will probably have to employ your own team.

There are trust issues that outsourcing may not fully resolve. Jack Cator, the creator of HMA, a web service that provides virtual proxy addresses, was profiled by the BBC recently. He recently sold his company for £40 million. He started off outsourcing, but made the switch to hiring when a contractor tried to steal his idea and start a rival company.

When he began getting people on board he had the fantastic benefit of being able to pull in his freelancers as full time staff.

Because he had worked alongside them and knew what they were capable of, he avoided the whole murky interview process that is involved when hiring.

You know exactly what you are getting when you bring someone on board using this approach.

Cold hiring is a whole other board game. You have to get the interview process right. It is worth a trial period with the successful candidate for the same reason that converting a freelancer into staff succeeds.

If you get it wrong you are saddled with someone you may regret for a long time.

The other option is to head hunt-to recruit other people who already have a job they are happy with and make them a better offer (not just financially but in the work and experience they will have) that they are willing to jump ship to join you.

Letting go can be hard, especially when you let someone else take some of the bigger roles.

You need to balance between operating as a dictatorship micro managing everything or being so hands off that you wake up to a company flying without a pilot.

Decide which areas you need to hold onto that will give the greatest growth and impact for the organisation and hand over the others.

Clearly define expectations. Paint the vision and its accompanying values in a manner that they can be run with. Inspect the work being done, call things to account.

At the same time allow the flexibility for employees to achieve the goals that are set in a creative manner and the freedom to bring ideas to the table.

The process of building may vary in the length of time it takes. Take the time and effort to make it work. Do not cut corners on it or in the long term the roof may fall off the “house” you are creating.

Source : The Herald

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