What type of foundation does your business have? Is it one that fortifies it against the ongoing shifting current now and in the future? You might have heard about businesses that thrive in and through the calm or storm do so because they are built on a foundation with these five pillars.
——>It was March of 2020<——
Trees were ripped from their roots as the gushing torrents roared.
Roofs toppled onto the road and mailboxes flew like papers in the wind.
Yet this house stood. Debris from surrounding homes came close to burying it –
Yet, this house stood intact.
Not just any kind of foundation for the sake of having a foundation.
But one that is solid. And you may wonder – “but what does a solid foundation have to do with it?”
Everything there is for your business’s long-term survival and success.
There are many meanings to the word foundation. But the one that best describes the focus of this post is: “Foundation is the basis or groundwork of anything” – Dictionary.com
So then, what is a solid foundation when it comes to your business?
A solid foundation is both the movable and unmovable groundwork your business is built on.
Here’s an example: Fujifilm
Fujifilm, founded in 1934 had a 70%+ market share in Japan for several decades with producing film for traditional cameras. Then in the 1980s, a shift began to take place – digital photography became a credible threat.
And demand for camera film plunged.
Fuji struggled. It weighed the pros and cons of the shifting and decided not to fight against the tide, but to embrace the change it brought.
Today, Fujifilm is still standing and its overall annual revenues are around 21.4 billion…Not bad for a company almost buried under the sea of irrelevance.
So, what do long-lasting successful businesses do in an ever-changing environment?
So, what do long-lasting successful businesses do in an ever-changing environment.
And that drilling down calls for their having a solid foundation upon which these five pillars are built.
Which Builder Are You?
The story is told of two builders in the New Testament book of Matthew. One is said to have built his house on the sand and the other built his house on the rocks. So, when the rain came down as (cats and dogs) – The house built on the rock, though shaken, stood its ground and was not swept away; but the house built on sand was washed away in a twinkle of an eye.
Let’s imagine for a moment that the builder who built his house on the rocks had to dig deeper to lay the foundation for such a house to stand in the first place. He might have taken a long high look at what he had to deal with, maybe even facing the fact that the actual building would not be up within a week or a month, or even a year.
He might have been tempted to have his house completed quicker if he built on the sand because after all, he had seen some fabulous houses that were built on the sand. Why should he take the high road that would entail planning, strategizing, and setting a goal? He wondered.
Before looking at the five Pillars, let’s briefly look at what a business is.
What is a Business?
Business Dictionary defines business this way: “An organization or economic system where goods or services are exchanged for another or for money.”
And I like how Rich Schefren of Strategic Profits puts it, “As an entrepreneur, you’re building something that has value in addition to what’s provided by your individual efforts. You create an entity that takes on a life of its own. A living, breathing, and growing organism that brings in money while you’re not there, allowing you to take vacations, go to your children’s school and sports activities, or spend time with your spouse. So, you can spend time working on tasks that make your business better, because you don’t have to work on the activities your business does (day-to-day), like working on your website, getting links, creating content, or developing products.”
Now, let’s take a look at the 5 Pillars:
PILLAR 1: Vision
Let’s say you are an online entrepreneur…Do you have what it takes to build a profitable online business that generates sustainable income for you for the foreseeable future? Can you see clearly where you are now and where you are heading? How do you see your business’s profitability for the next 5, 10, or 15-plus years from now?
- Visioning is the process of creating a picture in your mind of what you want for your life in the now and the future – And having that picture framed or written down as a guide.
- Visioning gives you the clarity to take the steps that will help project your tomorrow while heading towards it today.
- Visioning helps you plan, strategize and set goals for what your business is to achieve for you.
- Visioning sets you up to always have your eyes on the end goal.
Create a Powerful Vision by framing your business’s end goal around what your market needs and wants – and then your passion.
PILLAR 2: Marketing Plan
Marketing: The Catch-22 Word for The Online Entrepreneur
To do or not to do? This is the predicament faced by many online entrepreneurs trying to build and grow profitable online businesses when it comes to marketing.
It All Starts With A Marketing Plan
Your marketing plan is the document that outlines the marketing strategy for your business and its products.
Now, why is a Marketing Plan critical in helping you overcome marginal results and overwhelm to build an online business that generates for you sustainable cash flow?
Because your business will rise or fall with it. And you will end up paying a high price for success that never comes. Bear in mind that your marketing plan must be aligned with your vision – One that incorporates your content and digital marketing strategy.
Since visioning is projecting your tomorrow and heading toward it today, ask yourself this question – “Will my marketing plan make it possible to achieve my end goal? If your vision is to build a profitable business that creates sustainable cash flow for you for the foreseeable future, then your marketing plan is one you cannot do without.
“Marketing plan is not a long-term plan, it’s a long-term direction.” – (Al Reis and Jack Trout)
Even if you had all the passion and determination in the world to build a business with sustainable cash flow, your business’s long-term profitability will stall and leave you with nothing to show for it, without your marketing plan. Your marketing plan serves as a map to give you direction for where you’re starting, where you want to go, when you’re going to get there, and how you will get there.
Create a Marketing Plan that’s Relevant to you and your Target Market – And let it be one that’s continually set-in-motion to drive your marketing with specific outcomes for your clients and real results for you.
PILLAR 3: Money to Move Things Along in Your Business
While having money is essential to your creating a profitable business, most coaches and gurus that teach how-to steps on building and growing an online business, leave out the part about what having money could do for your business’ profitability now and in the future. It appears to be the taboo of the times that no one wants to touch, but it seems to control every aspect of the process among business owners, clients, and prospects.
When I say, have money to move things along, I mean without money, no matter how grandiose your ideas are for building and growing a profitable online business; or starting a business, those ideas will remain stagnant and could just remain as ideas. Money will give you the leverage to combine your ideas with execution – thus enabling you to achieve your desired results.
“Money is important. Money does a lot of things. (One of the most important is to create choices.)” – Steve Jobs
A word of caution: Don’t fall into the trap of using other people’s money to build and grow your business – Because you may find yourself deeper in debt to others than when you started. I have been there – So take caution. And even if you borrow money to grow your business, be intentional to pay such money back before being satisfied with having a profitable business.
Dave Ramsey sums it up this way – “You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.”
It’s not to suggest you have to have $50.00 or $50, 000,000.00 to move things. It simply means you cannot own a profitable online business without spending money. “Money is not the only answer, but it makes a difference.” – Barack Obama
Why is it critical in having money to move things along in a business that generates multiple streams of income?
Because such a business could remain on life support without it.
For you, an entrepreneur to build a profitable business and make it one that generates sustainable cash flow over time, you must make ongoing marketing your number one priority; and without money to market consistently and continually, your owning a business that’s profitable will remain a wishful fantasy.
PILLAR 4: System
“For a business to thrive, 100% of all the systems must be functioning and accountable. For example, An airplane is a system of systems. If an airplane takes off and the fuel system fails, there often is a crash. The same things happen in business. It’s not the systems that you know about that cause the problems – it’s the systems you are not aware of that cause you to crash.” – The Cashflow quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki
What is a system?
Now looking back at what a business is, let’s then look at what a system is –
“A system is any collection of things that interact together to produce some sort of behavior of the whole.” – (www.systemsandus.com)
If you want an online business that generates multiple streams of income, creating for you cash flow that’s lasting and sustainable, then design it as a system.
Why Design Your Business As A System?
Because your generating sustainable steady cash flow depends on it.
A system is the structure around which all the activities taking place in your business are interconnected and interdependent. And all of the essential parts are framed to produce the desired result of the whole (like an airplane as mentioned before, operates on systems) to achieve its landing which is the desired result of its passengers.
There would be chaos, lack of direction, disillusionment, overwhelm, and busy work but accomplishing nothing, without a system. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), only 20% of franchises fail within the first five years as compared to 80% of new businesses. Why the difference or disparity? Because most franchises are system-driven whilst most businesses are people-driven.
PILLAR 5: Your Irresistible Offer
Your Offer is what makes your business or breaks your business.
What is an Irresistible Offer?
But first what it is not. An irresistible offer is not your website, USP, special offer, or benefit. It is not even your services/products or your brand.
An “Irresistible Offer is the core imperative of business.” – The Irresistible Offer by Mark Joyner. Your Offer becomes irresistible when it meets the deepest longings of your clients and potential clients.
Here’s an example:
As in the case of Dominos: “Pizza in 30 minutes or It’s Free.” Your business does not get off until you make the offer. Let’s look at Domino’s Pizza briefly —
Tom Monaghan purchased the first store in 1960, and by 2004, there were 7,000 Dominos Pizzerias and their gross in sales annually was $4,000,000,000. But this did not happen overnight. Domino’s Pizza experienced some challenges and was nearing bankruptcy. And then something happened! They came up with the “30 minutes or less . . . or it’s free.” This offer took them to the top of the pizza world. They became the number-one pizza delivery in the entire United States until 1993.
How About You? How Do You Craft Your Irresistible Offer For Your Market?
Let’s say you create your Offer, and let’s say this Offer is to wealth-building consultants — And since we now live in the Outcome Era over Information Era, all your marketing messages should therefore show how your clients will get the outcome they so desire, as in the case of Domino’s “Get your pizza in 30 minutes or less…or it’s free.”
Want a successful long-lasting business?
Then your business’s five pillars, built on a solid foundation are the way to go.
This gives you the upper hand – helping you to remain standing in the midst of what you cannot control. A solid foundation has at its core pliability for facing an ever-shifting business environment.
These five pillars, when built on a solid foundation:
- Allow you to prepare for the worst during the calm and reimagine the future.
- Allow you to reinvent your business and explore new forms of value for your audience.
- Allow you to embrace change and see it as an opportunity – not a threat.
So, what other ways a solid foundation could help your business’s long-term survival and success?