Businesses start with an idea.
Big business, small business or middle-size, we all launched our enterprises with an idea.
I had an idea so I quit a good job in July 1994 to launch Communication Concepts. Mom's all-purpose advice was ringing in my ears: “Well, just look at it as an adventure.” That's mom's bottom line advice for all occasions, everything from the first day of kindergarten to getting married, even to pursuing a dream and throwing caution to the winds to jump into the deep end of the business pool.
Nineteen years later the dream is still lives. The founding idea has been revised and redefined many times. The journey continues. Here are some things learned thus far.
Ideas that started our businesses take us on diverse journeys. Depending on the content and intensity of our business dreams we take different paths, some less traveled. We make different decisions to achieve different goals.
We make different choices to accommodate different conditions. Still, those who transform their business ideas into economic realities have many things in common.
It starts with acknowledging the difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is accepting tomatoes as fruit. Wisdom is not putting tomatoes in fruit salad. Applying that to business, knowledge is putting planning and strategies behind your ideas. Wisdom is implementing the planning and strategies to reach target audiences.
Products, services and customer/client interactions are at the core of business success. So, too, are marketing, public relations and advertising. Products offered two decades ago aren't the same today. They're new and improved. Services have been expanded beyond what could be imagined back in the day. Customer/client interactions are increasingly interactive in cyberspace and social media. Marketing, public relations and advertising are ever-changing to remain cutting edge.
Trends come and go but solid fundamentals never change. There is no substitution for a story well told. Effective communication skills are everything. Networking opens new horizons. Checking in with clients and customers keeps them checking in with you. Keeping planning and business strategies ahead of the curve keeps your business ahead of the competition. Education is endless and on-going. It is a vital component to staying fresh. A day without a new revelation, insight, questions or understanding is a wasted business day.
Businesses well along on their journey to success focus on what they are doing, but they keep an eye on others. They learn from their own mistakes and triumphs. They profit from those of their competitors. They incorporate outside expertise, focus groups, surveys and customer/client feedback to expand sales and tap into new target audiences. They know that loyalty is two-way. It never goes out of style. They remember those who made them what they are today. At the same time, they are reaching out to new generations of customers and clients, those who will take their businesses to the new levels.
Growing a successful business is not solely about doing. It's also about believing. It's about having core values and doing business by them. It's about maintaining personal and professional principles. It's about building your community, giving employees time and encouragement to be involved civilly and socially, putting your expertise and resources into making our community the best of all places to work, live and do business.
For most of us, the business journeys that started with an idea are continuing. We have little certainty about what's around the next turn. When roads diverge and choices have to be made, it won't hurt to toss mom's advice into the equation:
"Just look at it as an adventure."
Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising.
Visit www.comm-concepts.com or call 303-651-6612.