Businesses can be built overnight – some even materialize in just a few hours! But more often than not, businesses like these don’t last for a long time. They’d probably be profitable for a few months, but once problems start happening as they often do during the early stages of a business, then they’d fold up, surrender, and disappear.
I’m sure you don’t want that to happen to your business. If you want your business to stand the test of time, then you need to think it through very carefully.
You need to build a solid foundation before you even start offering your evergreen product or services to your target audience.
Let’s use a skyscraper analogy. If you want to build a skyscraper, or any building for that matter, you need to build a solid foundation first. You’d need to dig deep into the earth until you find a more stable subsoil or bedrock, put steel and other hard materials on it, and then pour concrete over everything.
Of course, a lot more work goes into building a skyscraper’s foundation, but that’s about the gist of it. When the foundation’s dried up, only then can you start working on your skyscraper – the building above ground.
No one really sees all the hard work that goes into building a foundation, but its importance cannot be downplayed. Without a solid foundation, your skyscraper is going to fall down either on its own or the next time an earthquake strikes your city.
Likewise, if you want your evergreen business to last, then you’re going to have to put in a lot of work and map out your road to success. No matter how small your business is, you still need a roadmap, so you don’t veer off into unwanted directions, particularly bankruptcy.
You need to answer a lot of if-then scenarios and put it all down on paper – “if this happens, then this is what I’m going to do.” Put safeguards in place. If you have a business partner, you need to brainstorm and plan out every detail of your business.
But what if you’ve already started your business? Is it too late to build a foundation?
Well, the answer depends on where you are in your business. If you haven’t reached the point of no return – and only you know where that point is – you can still make adjustments and map out a foundation to turn your business around and give it new life.
The Checklist To Building A Solid Foundation For Your Business
If you want to build a solid foundation for your evergreen business, you should be able to tick off most items on the list. Let’s begin!
Make It A Goal To Help As Many People As Possible
Identifying your business goals right off the bat is important. I know making a profit is the ultimate goal but don’t stop at money. I’m not saying money isn’t important – it is. But it’s not the end goal.
Your ultimate goal should be to help other people. As the great salesman Zig Ziglar famously said, “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”
If you’re only doing your business for money, then people are going to know about it soon enough. They’re going to stop buying from you, and they’re going to tell their friends to stay away from you. Greed is not going to get you very far in life.
Look at what happens to so-called gurus – they’d be profitable for a few months but once word gets out that they’re not really in the business of helping, then But if you follow Mr. Ziglar’s advice, and do your best to help people, then you’ll have more money than you know what to do with!
For example, if you want to create evergreen products, make sure that those products are actually helping people solve their problems. Don’t sell for the sake of selling. If you focus on helping people, then you’ll have loyal customers coming to buy your products over and over again.
They’ll refer you to their family and friends, and if you continue to provide the same level of service, then they’ll be your loyal customers, too. And before you know it, you’ll have plenty of money in the bank than you know what to do with!
Having other business goals is perfectly fine. Just remember to always put your customers first. After all, they’re the reason you’re in business. All the other points in this checklist should also tie in with your overall goal of helping people.
Having concrete plans and solid systems in place mean nothing if you can’t deliver what your customers need help with. They are the lifeblood of your business so take good care of them. When you do this, you will no longer need to think of money constantly as people will give it to you willingly!
Have A Business Plan In Place
Some first-time entrepreneurs may say having a business plan for a small business is overkill. But if you want your business to grow and scale eventually, then it’s best to have a business plan in place. It’s not too late to write one so if you haven’t got a plan yet, then take the time to write it up and see where your business is going to be in the future.
One of the advantages of creating a business plan, before you even start working on your business, is that you can determine right away if your idea is feasible or not. You could, of course, just wing it and go right out and implement your business idea.
But if you value your time and money, then this may not be the best route for you to follow.
A business plan has a section on competitive analysis or market analysis. At this stage, you should be able to assess if your idea is a good one or not. Just imagine how much resources you would have wasted if you decided to try out your idea in the real world only for it to fail miserably!
Investing in the time to work on your business plan will help ensure a smoother startup period, and you’ll know what problems to expect. Yes, you’ll still run into some unforeseen problems here and there, but if you did your business plan correctly, then you should already have mapped out solutions to most problems.
For instance, you would have an idea of how much money you need to invest so you can start or scale your business. If you fly by the seat of your pants, you may not get very far. Unforeseen expenses could come into play even before you break even and you may be forced to quit your fledgling business.
Your business plan is like your crystal ball – if you believe in that stuff – as it allows you to practically get a glimpse of your future. If the future looks bleak for your idea, then scrap that and move on to the next one.
However, if the future looks bright then, by all means, go ahead and build your business right away. Your business plan has already foretold good tidings, the next thing for you to do is further solidify your foundation by moving on to the actual business building part!
Separate Your Personal Life From Your Business
Most entrepreneurs start by being a one-person team. You do everything in your business – you create your product, you market it, you do customer service and after-sales support, and so much more. You’re going to be a jack of all trades literally.
In the beginning, it’s going to be hard to separate your personal life from your business life. You might not have boundaries for your business and personal expenses, and that’s fine. But if you’re serious about growing your business, then you need to find a way to separate your two lives.
If you work out of your bedroom, or any other room in your house, as plenty of new entrepreneurs do, then you most certainly need to have rules in place.
You’ll need to have a designated workspace where you focus a hundred percent on doing the tasks for the day. Make your family or roommate understand work time is for working, not playing. Put a “do not disturb” sign outside your door if you have to. Lock the door or put on a good pair of headphones, so you don’t get bothered by the outside world.
To successfully separate your personal and business lives, you’d need to have self-discipline. I mean, how easy is it to walk over to the couch and watch Netflix the whole day instead of answering emails from your customers?
You’re probably thinking you can bring your laptop over to the couch and multi-task. But do you think you’re really going to be productive that way? I don’t think so.
If you can’t keep your two lives separate, then you’re not going to have a very solid foundation for your evergreen business. Even if you do work at home, or in an office, or even at the beach, you need to draw the line between fun and work so your business will succeed in the long run.
Have Systems In Place
Having a good business plan in place means you’ve already got some basic systems in place. But when it comes to streamlining your business and making the most of your resources, you need to have highly effective and efficient systems in place.
When you’re just starting, your systems may not be as defined. Sure, you can plan ahead, but the nitty-gritty is not going to materialize until you finally start working on your business. You may need to adjust your plans as you go along because working off of theory and practice are two different things.
When you’re working off of theory alone, you’re not in touch with the practical side of things. Some systems may look good on paper, but when it actually comes to following those systems, they’re not going to be as efficient and may cost you a lot of time and money.
So, you need to adjust accordingly and tweak your system to be as efficient as possible. Don’t set your systems in stone, you need to be flexible and adapt as needed.
Building working systems are essential to solidifying your business foundation. For example, identifying your marketing and product delivery systems is essential to your success.
You may need to undergo some trial and error first to find the best system that works for you, but once that’s out of the way, you now have a winning system in place. You can then use that system over and over again as you move forward with your business.
Don’t forget to document your systems. You may think you’re working all alone, so you don’t need to document everything. But what about when you finally gain some traction, and you need to hire new people to help you out?
Without documentation, you’d need to retrace your steps, and because you’re under time pressure, you might miss out on a few key steps. However, if you’re proactive with documenting your processes and your systems, then you can start training your new team as soon as you hire them!
Are You Ready To Start Building Your Foundation?
Building a solid foundation for your business will take time. If you’re in a hurry and you decide to jump the gun without having a solid plan in place, then you may end up regretting your decision. If you want your business to last for years and years, then investing in a solid foundation is the best thing for you to do.
Now the common misconception for business foundations is that it’s irrevocable and final. Fortunately, it’s not. You can adjust and recalibrate your plans if you need to. A solid foundation will allow you to do just that.
Many companies who failed to adjust and adapt to changing times and technologies have disappeared. If you’re in the business of helping people – and not just making plenty of money – then you’ve got the most solid foundation right there.