Whether you’re buying a franchise, or opening an independent start-up, knowing how to build a sustainable business is vital for success. You need to know how to hire the right leadership and employees, create the perfect brand, connect with your customers, and employ sound decision making.
These elements need to come together productively if you want to be profitable and sustainable in the long run.
The Financial Times Lexicon writes that “business sustainability represents resiliency over time-businesses that can survive shocks because they are intimately connected to healthy economic, social and environmental systems.”
Work on the following elements for a sustainable business:
- Collaboration-In the beginning, it will probably make more sense to try and do everything yourself. Don’t-this could end in disaster. If you’ve got experience in some areas, but zero in others, consider hiring a freelancer to assist. The internet is full of websites that connect you with people who specialize in the areas you need help. You may also already know people who can help. Maybe your sister-in-law has an accounting degree, Aunt Mary has managerial experience, or cousin Paul is a graphic designer. Utilize these people.
- Leadership/employees-Hiring the right people should be one of your top priorities. Your leadership needs to flexible and adaptable to change. They must possess the ability to evolve as the company grows. Your employees need to be heard and feel like their opinions matter making them valued members of the team. When your employees feel neglected by the leadership, they will in turn neglect the company.
- Sound decisions-Make sound decision making an essential part of building your business. Also, utilize a solid standard operating procedure that promotes efficiency and helps your employees perform well.
- Values and purpose-Finding the right values for your company help your employees know what is expected of them and help connect the business to your customers. Every company should have a values statement that is written to reflect your true beliefs and the needs of your business. Your purpose goes along with your values. When your purpose is authentic, it gives the business focus and clarity, enabling your employees to stay on task and stay headed in the right direction. More info? Read our blog on Building a Business Around Your Values.
- Brand-Building a brand can be difficult, and trying to be everything to everyone will end in disaster. Find your target audience and connect with them on an emotional level. They need to have confidence in your product or service and be inspired by the values your business portrays. Also consider your unique selling proposition or USP. Entrepreneur Magazine’s Small Business Encyclopedia defines USP as “the factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition.” Finding and marketing the right USP helps unite your brand with your target audience.
- Customer loyalty-Customer retention is cheaper than attracting new customers, but you need a unique brand, and product or service coupled with stellar customer service to keep customers coming back for more. The success of your business always starts with initial contact with new customers. Make it overwhelmingly positive, and you’ve got a recipe for customer retention.