Recently, I wanted to buy a brand of bread which had been my favourite for several years. Unfortunately, there was none at the usual spot where I bought it before. When I asked the vendor about my favourite bread, he informed me that the owner of the bakery was dead. The way he said it, it seemed like it was normal for the bakery to pack up just because the owner had died. However, it should not be so. What happened to the bakery is not an exception. It is the usual scenario with businesses in this country. They die, either before their founders die or along with them. For once this experience must change with our generation.
When a business dies like that, it usually suggests that it was personality driven. Several things can drive business, but the most important driving force is a definite purpose. The lifespan of a people-oriented purpose is much longer than that of a human being.
When you look at the labels on shirts and cufflinks made by the British fashion designers, TM Lewin, you will see written on them, “Established 1898.” That is quite impressive. An outfit founded by a tailor 107 years ago is still alive and growing stronger every year. It is our turn to build businesses like that, even better ones.
Purpose of Business
To build a business that will last, you must define the purpose of your business. It must be beyond keeping body and soul together. If it is focused on meeting your own needs only, there will be no substantial reason for it to exist beyond your lifetime.
The purpose of your business must be focused on people, and it must be out to solve a problem that you feel personally about. I will suggest that you pray. The world had been planned before man was created and all we must do is to find out God’s plan for us and our business. When your business runs on divine purpose and seeks to achieve divinely set goals, you have access to a higher level of knowledge and power to help you.
When you are certain you have got the idea for your purpose, state it in one sentence. Then develop your vision, which is what your business will look like by the time you have achieved your purpose. A vision is a picture.
Build a System
To build a business that will last, you must develop a system for your business. Many young businesses die because the owners are not sensitive enough to recognise the point at which the needs of the businesses exceed the own resources. Some that do not die, remain small because the owners recognised their need to expand their resources but refused to expand due to insecurity.
An organisation functions like the human body. It grows by division and multiplication, and it runs on systems. In the human body, we have the respiratory, excretory, digestive, reproductive and nervous systems. When the function well, the body is healthy. When there is health, there will be growth.
In the same vein, you must design systems for your business. Split the organisation into departments or divisions to take care of various aspects of the job like administration, production, sales, marketing and so on, depending on your area of business.
Go on to build an organogram. Create positions under each department that will be occupied by skilled people as your organisation grows. You see, as you do that, your business will begin to grow on paper, and in your mind. And it’s a law that what you think is what you become.
A friend of mine did this and suddenly realised that though he was the CEO of his company, he was also the purchasing officer, accountant, secretary and driver. His company had grown but he was doing more than one person should handle. He was suffering from stress. He developed systems, employed and trained staff and can now afford to go on vacation.
After God created man, he said it is not good for man to be alone. All of us need some help. Don’t run your business alone forever.
You will succeed!