Contrary to what Obama thinks, building a business is hard work.
When President Obama arrogantly said "you didn't build that" during one of his many speeches, businessmen and businesswomen all over America were offended and outraged. It was crystal clear at that point that the president of the United States of America was clueless as to how a business is started and how a business survives.
The principles for start-up and survival are essentially the same in business. Some Democrats don't know these principles, and many others simply ignore the principles in their quest to win votes, because they know a lot of voters are uninformed and others are gullible.
For example, since the president and the Democrats forced ObamaCare down the throats of the American people based on lies and a severely flawed understanding of health care, businesses and families have been the ones suffering the negative consequences. Democrats and the mainstream media choose to just not talk about that. They believe that many uninformed and gullible voters will forget about the topic and the lies by Election Day.
Or, when government mandates an increase in the minimum wage, some businesses are pushed over the edge and people lose their jobs. Uninformed voters think businesses resist the mandated increase because business people are just greedy. No, they are trying to save jobs and operate their businesses wisely.
But successful businesses, as well as start-up businesses that survive these attacks by the force of law have at least three major things in common.
First, they have a good idea!
The basic concept of a business "finding a need and filling it" is timeless. People don't need a product or service they already have. You may be able to carve out a small amount of success by offering a better price for the same product or service, but price alone will not allow you to succeed long term. Of course there are exceptions such as Walmart, which has consistently achieved a good balance between price and quality.
So one of the first things to do in starting or growing a business is to analyze the market and the competition to assess the potential opportunity. The more competitors there are already in that product space, the more difficult it will be to get some long-term traction.
This does not mean hiring an expensive market analysis firm like many well established large companies will do. It means doing as much homework as you can on the Internet, on foot, or even on premise of a future competitor.
My favorite example is when someone asks me what they should do to open a new restaurant concept. My answer is to go and work in a restaurant and learn what to do and what not to do while getting paid to learn. The restaurant industry is a mature industry, which means the successful survivors have refined their "recipe" for success.
Secondly, stay focused!
Too many people try to do too much, too fast, with too little resources. That was the problem with Godfather's Pizza, Inc. when I became its president in 1986 as it was spiraling into bankruptcy. We refocused the company on the original product quality, simplified the operations, and emphasized service at a much higher level. It is still around today in parts of the country even though I moved on in 1996 to other challenges. In other words, do what you do best first, before you tinker with other stuff.
Staying focused also means that is where you direct and spend most of your time and talent. I've always put family first, but beware of distractions from other people and other things that do not contribute to the success of your business. Helping others is fine, and I have often done it, but you can't help everybody, especially if you are struggling to survive or start a business.
Thirdly, plan for the unexpected!
For many businesses this means accumulating enough capital (cash) to withstand a business "slow start" or "slow down". Failing to do this is often called under-capitalization. Some people may be able to start or grow a business on a shoestring budget, but that's the rare exception rather than the rule.
You should also plan on some mistakes in hiring people. Some people can sound good and look good, but they can't deliver results or consistently do their job. As the well-known management "guru" Peter Drucker once said, when you realize you have made a people mistake, fix it quickly. Don't make a knee-jerk decision, but carefully analyze that person's performance. Remember, you are not in the career rehabilitation business.
There are obviously a lot more specifics to starting or growing a business, and a lot more to the specifics of a particular business. That's why it is also advisable to develop a detailed business plan to help measure success and systematically make changes as needed, and there will be changes, so try to make sure they are smart changes.
But from 50,000 feet (some call it a strategic perspective), if you fail to consider one or all of these principles, then don't expect a soft landing. It will be painful and costly.
And when you do succeed, you took the risks! You made the investment of time and money, and you turned sweat equity into success!
Yes! You built that!