In 2020, Nina Barbero at SWFL Inc. reached out to me and asked if I would be willing to share any insights that I could share with our membership with respect to conceptualizing and building a business and then continuing to grow that business.
While I am very humbled to be asked this, I thought that this could be very beneficial for both start-up and existing businesses and I could show what we have learned over the past 30 years in the glass industry with MY Shower Door and D3 Glass. So here goes…
The first one on my list is the core people in your organization (or potential organization). While I have been blessed with a supportive and energetic wife, we have two, very dependable sons who can now take on the day-to-day roles of management. Even if you don’t have family involved, it is important to assemble a great core team who each have separate skills and are committed or financially invested in the operation.
No matter what business you are in, you must get your name out to the public. Even if you think that you have saturated the market… you haven’t. These days with Social Media and the Internet, people are constantly searching for their goods and services. Be a “trusted” source so that consumers will have confidence in purchasing from you. Build a great website and contribute as an “authority” on other blogs and group pages within your expertise.
Always be looking for new opportunities. This could mean growing geographically or vertically by selling more products to your existing customer base or by manufacturing your product and distributing it to your own companies or, even, competitive companies.
Get a good accounting staff or outsource to a very reputable firm that can help you with financial decision-making. Watching your cash and managing your decisions in investments is a big reason how some businesses survive recessions or make acquisitions. We chose to grow organically but there are many other options for growth.
Build relationships… this is critical. Every relationship is vital in business as every interaction with someone could lead to another great relationship. This could be with customers, the media, vendors and social groups, etc.
As important as your customers are, your staff is as important, if not more important. Richard Branson once said, “If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers, it’s that simple. He also said, “Train your employees so they can leave, treat them so they don’t want to.”
Be involved in community giving, either your time or financially as consumers want to do business with genuine people who care about the community that they serve. Create a culture where people want to come to work and be part of your growth.
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