As I write this, Oroville Dam in northern California is still in crisis mode, but hasn’t been breached. Hopefully it will not . . . and prayers go out to all in the potential path of destruction. As I’ve been watching the news and catching updates on my favorite feeds the last few days, it’s become quickly apparent that without a solid foundation, you really don’t have much of anything.
- You can build the biggest, most beautiful house, but if its footings are infirm, it will collapse.
- You can boast the perfect marriage or relationship, but if it’s not built on mutual respect and love, it’s not likely to persevere.
- You can launch the perfect start-up, with the best business idea ever, but if you don’t have a plan and a vision, you’ll most likely tread water . . . or worse.
What each one of these examples suffers from is lack of a solid foundation: a house with a crumbling foundation caves in; a marriage without love and respect fails; a business without a plan isn’t viable; and in the case of the aforementioned Oroville Dam, a damn without solid underpinnings isn’t much of a dam.
Faulty foundations can come about in a couple of ways:
- Poor planning and execution lead to a poor foundation in the first place, or
- A once solid foundation falls into disrepair out of neglect.
Completed in 1968, at 770 feet high, the Oroville Dam is tallest dam in the United States. Sounds impressive, and it’s foundation certainly has passed the test of time—until now—and that’s the thing about foundations, they need reinforcing every now and then.
- Relationships require renewed commitment and, dare I say, romance from time-to-time. (You all remembered Valentine’s Day yesterday, didn’t you, my fellow monkeyz?)
- Houses, buildings, bridges, and all sorts of infrastructure need their foundations repaired and shored up.
- Businesses need their foundations repaired, tweaked, and reinvigorated, too, from time-to-time just like everything else—even careers.
When is the last time you took a look at the various foundations in your life?
Let’s consider your business foundations. Do you have a business plan? Do you have a marketing plan? If you had either at start-up, what have you done since then to maintain that foundation by adapting to changes in the marketplace?
Here’s a quick look at several key components of successful business foundations:
- Business Plan—this part of your foundation consists of articulating the vision and mission of your business, along with setting objectives, measurable actions, and a financial roadmap to profitability.
- Marketing Plan—your business foundation needs to identify your target audience, why your audience wants to buy your product or service, and how you will communicate your brand story to this audience to generate awareness, sales, and brand loyalty.
- Hiring/Retention Plan—whether it’s in-house staffing or outsourcing, your foundation needs to contain a plan for who will provide the work and productivity you need now and in the future in order to provide customers with your product, service, and excellent customer service.
- Competitive & Marketplace Analyses—Any strong foundation must be able to react to outside forces that can erode or damage the foundation in some way. In business, these outside forces consist of your competitors and the marketplace as a whole. What are your competitors up to? How will their actions affect you? Similarly, what trends are occurring in the marketplace? How will these trends affect your product/service offerings now and in the future? How will you react? How must you react?
Looking at your career, are you where you want it to be? Do you have the education, experience, and connections necessary to get there? If not, do you have a plan?
Are your relationships what you want them to be? Do you invest the time and effort with your spouse, children, significant other, friends, etc., necessary to keep them alive and well?
While Barrel O’Monkeyz can help with a lot of business-related foundation building, we’ll leave the relationship and infrastructure building to the experts in those areas. In the meantime, give the Barrel O’Monkeyz jungle chain a pull and we’ll help you explore ways to help you keep your business foundations healthy and strong.
Paul June is King Monkey of BARREL O'MONKEYZ, a San Diego-based strategic marketing agency specializing in Sports and Active Lifestyle markets. We serve as a seasoned, outsourced marketing team for companies looking to ramp up sales and launch new products. Our barrel is full of talent and creative arms ready to prove we don’t just monkey around!