How to start a failproof business
During a recession, it’s common to wonder if it’s smart to start your own business. The answer is often a surprising, “yes!” Companies from Apple and Airbnb to Burger King and Whole Foods began during economic downturns and found massive success. Some of these are in industries known for failproof businesses, but some are not.
Whether you’re starting a business in a down economy or a booming one, the most important thing is to ask yourself the right questions. There are eight things you’ll want to nail down in order to create a business for any economy.
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1. Your vision
Everything starts with your vision. Great leaders and successful entrepreneurs are not in love with their product, they’re in love with their clients and have a strong vision to serve them. And that vision is always powerful. It goes beyond money and status. A failproof business is driven by a strong purpose – to innovate, to help others, to do good in the world. In any economy, before starting a business you must ask yourself: What is my purpose?
2. Your X factor
A failproof business is always about much more than its product – it’s about your X factor. This is the specific niche you fill in your market. It’s what brings customers to you instead of the competition. It’s how you add more value than anyone else – even other companies with the same product. Your X factor will inform your brand identity, or the way that you present yourself to customers and to the world. Are you a challenger and a disruptor? Are you the traditionalist or the innovator?
3. Your competition
You might think entering a market with no competition would be a good strategy to start a business for any economy. With no competition, your organization is sure to thrive, right? Wrong. It could mean that your target market is too narrow or that others have had similar products or ideas and found there was no market at all. Lack of competition can also lead to stagnation – and if you’re not growing, you’re dying. A healthy dose of competition will help make any business failproof.
4. Your market
A failproof business is always run by an owner who has their finger on the pulse of the market. It isn’t as easy as reading industry publications and looking at stock prices. Your market includes your customers as well as your industry – and your customers’ lives are affected by world events, cultural events, technology, changes in life stage and more. Keeping up with all that is why business is a sport for gladiators, not the faint of heart.
5. Your leverage
Leverage in the business world often refers to an investment strategy, but money isn’t your only resource. To start a business for any economy, you don’t need any investment at all. Your other resources include your time, connections, skills and knowledge. Leverage your time wisely and use it to improve your business acumen. Leverage your connections for the benefit of your business. Trade skills or knowledge for something your business needs. Once you understand the power of leverage, you’ll be unstoppable.
6. Your skills
You can use your skills for much more than leverage – but first you need to have a realistic yet optimistic view of what they are. Self-awareness is key to building a failproof business, because it allows you to maximize your time. When you know your strengths and weaknesses, you’re able to properly delegate tasks that aren’t within your skill set to others. You’ll also be able to better develop your leadership skills, adapt your communication style and more.
7. Your own psychology
Your mindset is the most essential piece of your failproof business – because every company is only as strong as the psychology of its leader. Entrepreneurs who are able to successfully start a business when the economy is poor know that obstacles are really just opportunities in disguise. They know that where focus goes, energy flows, so they choose to focus on things that are positive and productive. They have a deep belief in themselves and their purpose. And they are masters of their emotions, never letting anger or frustration cloud their judgment.
8. Your business map
It’s finally time to create your business map. This is different from a business plan. A plan is a way to get from point A to point B. It lists your goals and how to get to them. A business map takes into account all the possibilities. It’s a deeper look at where you are now and where you want to be, looking at everything from your vision down to your workflows. A failproof business doesn’t just happen – it takes energy, knowledge and planning.