The road to success as an independent businessperson is exactly that—a road, fraught with hazards and blessed with help along the way.
Most importantly, it is a road of your own making, which requires the three Ps—planning, preparation and patience—anticipating detours and praying for revelations.
As part of a recent panel at the Chase Women’s Symposia at the George W. Bush Institute, I likened it to creating your own Rand McNally, a business road map.
Literally, it means drawing out a route on a piece of paper—complete with mile markers—to gain a point A-to-point B perspective.
In doing so, here are a few points to consider:
1. Determine your destination. Obvious? It should be. Many businesses go astray, get distracted and sidetracked from success because of no focus of where to go from the get-go. So draw a line, literally, marking your route—starting from “you are here” to where “you want to be.”
2. Track to a timeline. Once you decide “where,” the next question is: “When?” You cannot gain ground or gauge success if you don’t first have a timeline to track it against. Work needs to be road-mapped. A set schedule brings rigor and routine. IF you follow a process, you will achieve measurable progress.
3. Stay one step ahead of the hazards. With a sightline and a schedule in hand, next identify the obstacles and opportunities ahead. Along the route, follow the signs to help make good judgment calls to ensure you taking the most efficient and quickest route to success. Make certain everything is in plain sight to size up. You can’t solve or savor what you can’t see.
4. Select progressive partners. Bad company makes for a bad company. Building any business is a journey. Choose partners you trust and “get” your business. Working Solutions pitched eight to nine bankers before finding one that “got it” and understood its virtual services business model.
5. Plan for the unexpected. You have a business map. Great. Now, act fast—there’s an accident up ahead, or worse, a bridge is out. Translated: Your building floods. A supplier goes bankrupt. It is always best to build in business continuity. Don’t let a hiccup turn into a Heimlich. Always back up the backup.