Building your startup business on a strong foundation.
Ask any architect and they will tell you the most important aspect of building design is not the structure but its foundation. If you’re going to create a business/brand that endures, you’ll have to build its value on a solid foundation.
Foundations aren’t as glamorous as the stunning design of the architecture itself, but they are critical to supporting not only the weight of the structure, but essential to withstand the constant movement of the earth and the erosion of the soil around it.
Like any great structure, nothing is more fundamental to the enduring success of your early business building initiatives than a strong foundation on which your bigger future will rest upon.
The foundation you create will determine the stability and scaleability of your business going forward.
Strong foundations are the beginning of business success. If you don’t have a solid foundation firmly in place, it’ll be next to impossible to withstand the winds of eroding attention spans, clutter, competition and the unpredictable forces of marketplace change.
When entrepreneurs are visioning their future, the first action they must undertake is finding the right soil for building their dream on. Excellent builders start at the ground level…in the dirt building a foundation worthy of their highest ideals and biggest vision!
For entrepreneurs bringing new value to the marketplace, here are a few ideas to consider before you break ground on your next big business idea:
Build your foundation on good ground.
Don’t build your castles in the sand is a timeless cliché you’ve heard time and again. It’s also timeless advice many entrepreneurs fail to heed. In the mad rush to build awareness, trial and purchase, some like to take shortcuts and go right into advertising and promotion. Your “philosophy” is the “good ground” on which to build. The good ground of your philosophy will include its purpose, its true north, its values, its character and integrity. Does the philosophy of your business support the successful design of its future? Is your business philosophy solid as bedrock or liquid as sand?
The foundation must fit naturally into the landscape that surrounds it.
In architecture it’s called site planning. In business and brand building it’s called strategic planning. Your foundation has to fit naturally and beautifully into the lay of the land otherwise known as the marketplace. How you position your foundation relative to other players in the category landscape is critical in defining your unique value to customers. You must know the lay of the land, your customer’s desires, hopes, aspirations and needs. Where does your value proposition fit within the mind of the target customer? Who does your business serve?
Strong foundations go deep into the ground.
If you have an Empire State Building size vision for your business/brand, you’ll have to build your foundation deep into the ground. This means you must focus all your creative energy on a deep and narrow value proposition. What is the “one thing” that makes your proposition highly valued and distinctive among all other choices? Develop deep knowledge in the one thing customers love … don’t generalize–specialize! Big ideas require deep and narrow foundations!
Strong foundations are well designed and engineered.
How your products, services and customer experiences are designed is a critical element in the foundation of your brand building. How you create and deliver value requires smart engineering and elegant design…everything in the customer’s experience of engagement must be well thought out and properly executed. This is foundational to the make-up of extraordinary brands and leading businesses. Design matters and determines competitive advantage. Make your strong and enduring brand foundation beautiful!
Strong foundations are made of quality materials.
If your business/brand is to grow and stand the test of time, it must be comprised of the highest quality materials. Build your brand foundation in association with high quality partners, collaborators, employees and suppliers. Brands are created in an ecosystem of diverse talents of people whose passion for excellence and success is equal and greater to your own. A foundation is only as strong as the quality of the materials used. Trusted relationships are what bond enduring brands with those that are the makers and the users.
A strong foundation will protect your long term marketing investments.
If you’re planning to put something remarkable and extraordinary on top of your foundation, you will need to invest a great deal of time, energy and money. The quality of your foundation must support and protect the marketing investment you make in your brand’s future. Building the early foundations is not as glamorous as creating sexy marketing campaigns. Remember just because most of your foundation is below ground and not seen by your customers, doesn’t mean you can compromise any aspect of its integrity.
The lasting value of your business/brand depends upon creating the foundation right from day one. Persuasion and promotion is far less important than the strategic work of laying a solid foundation on good ground– a foundation that fits naturally into the landscape of the marketplace, is well designed and comprised of quality material.
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