The art and science of business building: 5 practical tips you can’t afford to ignore

Karl R. LaPan, President & CEO, The NIIC

There is no secret recipe or silver bullet for building a business. It can be the most satisfying and most terrifying thing you will ever do. Your resilience, patience, and stick-to-ittiveness will be tested the same way as if you were climbing Mt. Everest.

As I prepare to publish my 200th LinkedIn blog post next week, I thought it was an opportune time to revisit some timeless advice and truths I’ve shared over the years. So, I have curated ten of my most important tips for you to reflect on over the next couple of weeks.

1. Perfect your story (aka pitch) – ABP.

I am not just talking about a pitch for a competition, but your business purpose and why. A great pitch can attract the right kind of attention, early adoption by customers and lead to partnerships that come with even more valuable financial incentives. Everyone wants to craft a winning presentation that captivates their audience’s attention. However, how? See my pitch post to gain some practical tips for flawless execution. ABP stands for Always Be Pitching – vision casting, engaging your audience, storytelling, and finding emotional connections are essential to a successful launch and growth of your ideas and your company.

I was disturbed by a recent Harvard Business School article that reminds us “IN SPITE OF ALL OF THE EMPHASIS ON GROWTH, IN FACT MOST FIRMS DON’T GROW MUCH AT ALL.” Their research findings seemed to observe that sustaining growth and achieving consistency over a long-period of time, is more important to long-term success. In fact, persistence may be a better measure than growth itself over the long haul.

2. Self-care is as important as a business model.

Mental health is still stigmatized even in 2019, which means many suffer in silence and especially entrepreneurs and business builders who might suffer at higher rates than the general public. This isn’t healthy or sustainable for our society, community or a business builder’s family. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. In this post, I unpack a few best practices that some of the most high-powered people lean on regularly to protect their peace—and thrive!

3. Invest in an agility-focused culture.

An adaptive and agile learning culture can be a differentiator in today’s marketplace. LinkedIn’s 2019 Workforce Learning Report makes a strong case for investing in employee development at a corporate level. In the report, 94 percent of employees said that they would stay at a company longer if it merely spent in helping them learn and develop professionally. So how can companies empower employees to do so? This post explores ways to integrate professional development into your everyday work environment. By doing so, you can create more intentional culture, grow your organization’s capacity for adaptive leadership and potentially higher levels of employee engagement.

4. Creativity can take you and your organization to new levels.

Creativity is not something relegated to artists types. Business builders across any discipline can benefit from harnessing the power of creative thinking at work and beyond. After all, without creativity and problem solving most companies would not exist or continue to flourish. This post offers insight into how you can integrate creativity into your organizational culture. Non-linear and design thinking skills can help you reimagine your business in ways you might typically not considered.

5. Adopt an attitude of gratitude.

So much of success hinges on attitude. A grateful attitude matters and can reap positive things in both business and personal relationships. In a way, gratitude begets success. Taking time to slow down and acknowledge the good things in your life can help you seek out more wins, and help you feel more positive about the future. This post covers gratefulness—and especially expression of it to others—is associated with increased energy, optimism, and empathy. Do you view your resources through a scarcity (preventing problems) or abundance (promoting the future) mindset? Check out the Stre.me post distinguishing between these two mindsets. As Stre.me’s Founder Jack Patton shared with me, “In short, the reason to grow with an abundance mindset is to play, be purposeful, and fulfill potential with greater ease. Build the positive assets to proactively cope and grow through adversity.”

Hungry for more? You’ll want to check back next week for my 200th post with additional reflections and a special offer.


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