How can you successfully start a business or help a failing business survive? Business is the process of overcoming challenges on the pathway toward progress, and that is what makes business exciting, interesting, and rewarding. Starting a new company or trying to turn around a failed company is a big challenge.
As with any start-up, there is something metaphysical about taking a concept, turning it into reality, and creating a great new enterprise. The huge challenge you will face is selling a new capability, gaining credibility, and building a substantial user/customer base. You must have the willingness to run a marathon.
You need to always remember to focus on whether or not your company can stay in the race because you will likely have only one chance to create a world-class business. Globalization is always a challenge. You are dealing with different languages and different cultures, as well as different laws in every country. As the company becomes more global, more people of diverse nationalities will join the company. This means you have to become more flexible.
You have to understand the diversity of lifestyles each employee is experiencing. You have to understand the differences in language, culture, traditions, and mentality. In order to succeed, you have to have the ability to manage all these complexities within the organization. The key to success is to try to understand all these differences and give every employee the opportunity to integrate his or her own culture into the company’s culture.
I have learned that the skills it takes to start a company are not the same skills it takes to keep a company going. In the beginning, we needed to inspire a small team of people to meet deadlines and deliver results. We needed to provide a lot of guidance, focus, and direction. It may have seemed to others that we tried to retain too much control. I was constantly telling people to stop just talking about it and instead take action (i.e., start doing).
My philosophy was to lead, follow, or get out of my way. I will tell you that with this as your philosophy, you may not be everyone’s best friend. However, I realized we could not move fast if we planned slow. We needed people who were flexible, people with the ability to make a decision on the fly. We needed people who could adjust to a constantly changing situation. But I found that flexibility is not easy to teach. You cannot train people to be flexible. In certain companies, you need fewer people but people with multifunctional abilities.
To build a company, you have to find great people who operate at the top of their profession and who share the same passion for building that new company. And never forget people like to have fun, so make your workplace a fun place to work. Operate with a flat organizational structure so you can build a harmonious team.
You also have to find great investors, who are going to help and support you in building the company. You should look for people that are networked and will generate good ideas. Do not build a business with the aim of selling it, build a company and the exit will follow. Also, make certain you never run out of cash. That means you have to plan ahead and raise more capital than you need. This will help build security and the ability to stay in the game during difficult times.
You have to get in front of customers or the end user and reply quickly to realistic business ideas. Do not ignore market shifts. The advantage of a small business lies in its ability to adapt to the needs of users ahead of its rivals. And the last and most important rule for all new business success stories is, be transparent with all stakeholders.”
Written by Dr. Maky Zanganeh.
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