Claiming that building a new company from the ground up is a difficult task would be an understatement. Successfully starting a company takes talent, knowledge, luck and a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears. I’ve seen this first-hand in the company that I currently work for, AccessEasyFunds. AccessEasyFunds is a business that provides advances on the commissions earned by Canadian real estate agents. I was fortunate enough to begin working at AccessEasyFunds at its very inception, and I’ve helped and watched it grow year in and year out until it’s reached its current level of success. In doing so, I’ve learned quite a bit about what it takes to successfully start a company. This is why I thought I would share some of my big take-aways as far as what I think a business must have when it sets out on the road to success.
The client is king.
We all know that in business the client is king. But, this can be especially said for those companies that are just starting out. Companies that are well-established have a luxury in the fact that, well, they are established. They’ve already developed a name for themselves and, in most cases, a clientele that trusts and respects them. As I learned in the early days with AccessEasyFunds, newly-established companies do not have that luxury – they have to earn it. And they have to be willing to go the extra mile and bend over backwards to lure clients away from competitors and side with them. That’s what AccessEasyFunds did and it was a key to the company’s growth.
Make sure that everyone’s duties and responsibilities are clearly described and understood by all members of the team.
Okay, so client has to be king. But, treating the client like royalty is not the only thing that must happen when a company first opens its door. Here’s the thing, in a business that is just starting out, the business is not the only thing that is fresh and new – the company’s staff and team members will probably also be new. So, the questions is, how does this affect the potential success of the company? It turns out it affects quite a bit. In order for a company to succeed, its team members must work well and cohesively with one another. But, having staff members that are all relatively new to each other can make cohesiveness very difficult. Therefore, it must be made sure that each team member knows their own duties and responsibilities, as well as those of his fellow colleagues.
Network, Network, Network. And just for good measure, we’ll say it again: Network.
Like in most aspects of business, networking is critical. But, it’s even more critical for new businesses. Why is that? Because not only do new businesses need to get new clients, they also need to get their business name out there in the industry as a whole. When AccessEasyFunds first began, yes, it was understood that we needed to meet new clients (i.e. new real estate agents); but, it was also understood that we needed to network and spread our name to other parties in the real estate market, to people like brokers and mortgage companies and underwriters. Similarly, we needed to spread our name and business idea to those outside the real estate world, to such parties as bankers, lenders and financial analysts. All to say, for a new business, there is no such thing as too much networking.
Make sure that your new business has a set of clear and achievable goals or benchmarks as part of its business plan.
Goal setting is incredibly crucial for new business. Not only does it help direct the company forward, it also helps to focus the company’s team members on achieving clearly-defined, attainable goals. But, here’s the catch: these goals need to be just that – clearly-defined and attainable. It does no good to set goals that are next to impossible to achieve. Nor does it do any good to set goals that are not understood. Every member of the company’s core team must understand and be on board with these proposed benchmarks. It will help morale tremendously.