Building a Successful Business Ithaca NY

If you were to go to your local bookstore and stroll up and down the aisle that contains all of the business books, you may be surprised by the amount of construction language that you see in the titles.

Cortland County Satellite
(607) 756-2814
37 Church Street
Cortland, NY
Rensselaer Chamber of Commerce
(518) 485-1647
572 South Salina Street
Syracuse, NY
(315) 386-7312
Wicks Hall, Room 023, 34 Cornell Drive
Canton, NY
SUNY at Cobleskill
(518) 485-1647
State Route 7
Cobleskill, NY
Fishkill Satellite
(845) 897-3945
2350 Broadhollow Road
Farmingdale, NY
Dunkirk Satellite
(800) 522-7232
37 Church Street
Cortland, NY
Rome Satellite
(315) 337-6360
103 Rich Hall
Oswego, NY
SUNY Stony Brook SBDC
(631) 632-9070
920 Albany Street
Schenectady, NY
Geneseo Outreach
(585) 245-5429
1 College Circle, South Hall Room 111
Geneseo, NY
Elizabethtown Satellite
(518) 564-2042
7566 Court Street
Elizabethtown, NY

Building a Successful Business

If you were to go to your local bookstore and stroll up and down the aisle that contains all of the business books, you may be surprised by the amount of construction language that you see in the titles. Successful business owners have discovered that the key steps to owning and operating their own businesses are similar to the key steps of building a house.

Before you jump into the process of building your own business, it may be a good idea to look at the process of building a house to understand the best way to have a long-lasting, successful business. Keep in mind that you may have to roll up your sleeves and get your fingers dirty in the process.

Building Plans

No one starts construction on a house without a blueprint. You must have a structured plan in place in order to build a house that will look right and will last. A good plan also helps you to make sure that you don’t forget any details while you're under construction or helps you think of things you might have missed when you put your ideas to paper.

Likewise, when you are building a business, a good plan is essential. Having a good concept isn't enough to start a business that will last. You must also know where you are now, where you want to go, and how you will get there. Not only will there be countless details to keep track of, but a good plan will help you monitor your goals and track your growth and success.

Start by deciding your vision of what you want your business to be in five years. That period is a realistic and reasonable goal for any business owner. Next, set down where you are right now, and this is probably at the beginning. If you were building a house, you'd be standing on a piece of untouched land, dreaming of your final home.

Finally, figure out the steps you need to take to get from here, a fresh lot, to there, a finished home (or in this case, a business). Decide major points of each building phase, and then break things down even further into smaller steps. Any project is much easier to handle when everything is broken into small, manageable chunks.

Startup Capital

Every house to be built has expenses and costs from the beginning. Land, building materials, and labor are all expenses paid up front. The same is true of any business, and having start-up capital that not only covers your expenses to build your business and get it operating, but also allows a cushion for unexpected fees or payments is important.

Try to determine what your business needs and costs will be. Research numbers, compare pricing, and shop around. Then, once those figures are added up to a total, find the startup capital to cover not only that amount, but also enough to cover the same amount for a few months. Running a business hand to mouth with no guarantees of income is a touchy situation. At best, you'll make money from day one, and your startup capital can be set aside for a rainy day.

A Solid Foundation and a good Frame

Before the first nail drives into a house, a lot of work goes on below ground level. Building a strong foundation ensures that your house isn’t going to blow away the first time it storms. Likewise, your business must have a firm foundation, or else it may collapse the first time you encounter a shaky situation or have some kind of crisis. Your business may look pretty on the outside or have many rooms, but without deep roots firmly set on one basic idea, your business will remain


The foundation of your company needs to be based in what you want to accomplish and the long-term goals that you have set. Spreading yourself out thin from the start creates a house of cards that can easily be blown apart. Develop a deep conviction about who you are, what your business does, and what you stand for.

Don't build too fast. When adding rooms to your house (or areas of service to your business) make sure the framing is solid and will stand against winds. Competition will blow at a business and try to knock it down, but a solid foundation and strong framing will stand the test of the elements and time.

A Building Schedule

Houses can be built within a few short weeks, and you can build your business the same way, if you'd like. But if you'll notice, those rush-job houses all look the same, aren't well constructed, and they may not have space to expand. They certainly don't seem like they'll still be around in a century, unlike well-built strong stone heritage houses or solid churches.

Don't rush to slap together a cheap business – if you want your business to last a long time, build slowly and carefully, measuring progress as you go and adding on a room at a time. Make sure that the business fits you well and that you're comfortable in it, much like making sure that you like living in your home. Taking the time to pay attention to solid construction and small details that make all the difference will pay off in the long run. Also, by working at building your business slowly, you can make it stand out from the rest.

Renovations and Remodeling

Sometimes in the process of building a house, you may find that you want to change the design or you need an extra room added on. The same is true for your growing business. If you are in the process of building your company, it’s okay to change your plans and make changes. In fact, if you can't make changes or add services on as you grow, your business will be limited in its potential, much like a small house that doesn't suit a growing family.

Make sure that you aren't limiting yourself too much. Build small and well, but be prepared to be flexible to the market and client needs, adapting your design to be one that fits both you and your customers. Allow for growth, and have some idea of what that growth might be so that you can plan where you'll eventually add it on to your business design.

About the Author:

Jean Bartlett editor of newsletter for Women Entrepreneurs which shares helpful news and information with women entrepreneurs around the world designed to keep the business women in touch with key events, relevant research and, most importantly, each other!

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