Rome was built over night. Why should we think that if we hang a digital placard (your website) that your business will take off? The truth is very few businesses are like that. We don’t see the failed pitches, the disappointing website traffic, and the endless networking. It’s not likely to happen over night. So what are we to expect? I want to cover a few things I am learning through the business startup process.

1. Plan, Plan, Plan. If we were to go for a trip somewhere it isn’t likely for most of us to throw some stuff in the trunk and just drive. We often have a destination that we are aiming for. There is likely stops along the way and things to look at. Our trip also has some things like gas, food, and lodging. The car might need an oil change before we go or potentially new tires. Likewise a successful business needs to start with a plan. What are our products and services? How much are we going to charge? How are people going to find us? Building a road map like a marketing plan can help increase the odds of your business succeeding.

2. Build Discipline and Routine. After we have a plan a routine is good to have. This will save you in your moments of desperation or depression. Because a business takes work if we don’t have certain amount of routine and discipline we are likely to throw in the towel. Edison wrote 40,000 pages of notes and tested over 1,600 different materials before he came up with a filament light bulb that could last for more than 40 hours. I think that his success was his on going willingness to try and try again.

3. Defend your money. Cash is what makes your business run. In fact, in accounting classes they teach you that cash is king. We would think of this as stupid advise but I have heard of even well funded startups fail because they didn’t defend the cash flow. If you are a restaurant know what your costs are for food and labor. If you are a products company know what the sales are, your inventory, and forecast your demand. When you want to buy something for the business try to determine if the purchase a need or want. Being objective will help you make a good decision.

Succeeding in business is difficult. These are three things that I have found to be important. Are there some things you have learned as a business owner that help you to succeed?