Starting a Business and Building it for Success

Author : , Date : March 31, 2015



Over the last decade I have met a lot of business owners and entrepreneurs in all kinds of industries. The overwhelming majority of them no long exist.  Many of them share a common mistake that will set them on the path to failure before they even start.


 “According to Dun & Bradstreet reports, “Businesses with fewer than 20 employees have only a 37% chance of surviving four years (of business) and only a 9% chance of surviving 10 years.” Restaurants only have a 20% chance of surviving 2 years. Of these failed business, only 10% of them close involuntarily due to bankruptcy and the remaining 90% close because the business was not successful, did not provide the level of income desired or was too much work for their efforts. The old adage, “People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan” certainly holds true when it comes to small business success. The failure rate for new businesses seems to be around 70% to 80% in the first year and only about half of those who survive the first year will remain in business the next five years.”

See more data and research on


What is one of the main contributors to this crisis of small business failure?

The truth is that the majority of these businesses have failed before they ever started. They are consumed and focused on the wrong things.

Things like:


  1. Business name
  2. Location
  3. Finances
  4. Product creation
  5. Business plan
  6. Marketing (with a wrong emphasis)


I’m not saying these things are not needed. But what I am saying is if you are going to start a business or you have already started a business you might consider your priorities differently.

Too many businesses start at the five questions above, and what I’m proposing is that it’s the wrong order or prioritization.

When you focus on those things you unintentionally are setting the stage for failure because those things don’t matter. That’s putting the cart before the horse.

What you will do is put yourself in a place of mediocrity. You will be doing what everyone else is doing. You will sound like just like your competitors sound.

There will be lots of pressure to fit in and settle.

Your marketing will be boring, uninspiring and bland.

Your strategies will be non-existent.

And if the averages are right, the probability of your business surviving is very low.


What Process Should a Start-up Company Really Follow for Success?


If you want to stand out, you have to do the hard work of thinking about your business. Here is the approach I take with my coaching clients who are starting businesses:


#1 Create the foundation of your business:



  1. Why do you want to start a business and how will your business change or impact someone’s life?
  2. What business are you “really” in?
  3. What are the tangible values people experience through your product or service?
  4. What “specific” problems are each tangible value solving?
  5. Who are you “specifically” solving them for?
  6. How are your products or services a part of the solution?


Check out the short video below titled “5 Questions That Will Transform Your Content Marketing Overnight”; in it I will lay out the five questions you will need answer to satisfy a strong foundation.



#2 Think through and create the product or service with the customer in mind.



#3 Develop the initial systems and processes for each area of the company. IE.:


  1.  Marketing
  2. Sales
  3. Production/Delivery
  4. Customer Service
  5. Administration


#4 Create the strategies and goals for each area of the company.



#5 Administrative work (much of this happens simultaneously):


  1. Business Name
  2. Letters of Incorporation and set-up Government info (Tax ID number, state and local tax registration, permits, etc)
  3. Website Domain
  4. Hosting
  5. Website Creation
  6. Social Media set-up
  7. Business Plan (Remember, a business plan is basically for a banker and has no relevance if the work above has not been done)
  8. Location (if you’re brick and mortar)


#6 Pre-Launch Campaigns



#7 Launch


The dangers of not following a process like this are real and the evidence supports it. If you get the cart before the horse your business is already failing before you’ve ever even entertained your first prospect.

When starting your business you to figure out what you should do from what you shouldn’t do. You cannot do it all. You have to grow into your business.

You have to start with a foundation. Way too many businesses start with a product. While every business needs a product or service to sell, the foundation is needed even more.

You can’t build a house (ie products) without a proper foundation. If you do, it’s sure to fall.

When you can answer in detail the questions outlined above in #1, it makes product or service creation easier.

Creating the foundation is a function of clarity and that is where the power of your business is at! If you understand your business and are very clear about your purpose, then the focus is easier.

Focus happens at #2 – #5.


Your Foundation is the Cause of Your Success


You might get lucky because you have such a unique and compelling product that it speaks for itself. But this is the exception, not the rule.

For the majority of businesses, the foundation is the real cause of their success. That doesn’t mean there won’t be failures. There will be; but if you know yourself, your business, your customers and prospects and what they need and why they need it… failure is not really failure. It’s just a setback to be overcome.

Just ask Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Donald Trump, or any other highly successful business leader you know. They all experienced failure but they had a purpose and reason for being in business other than the obvious.

There was something that drove them to excel and succeed. I guarantee you that if I asked successful person the foundational questions they could answer each one without hesitation.

Unfortunately, the majority of small business owners cannot answer the questions; or worse yet they don’t value the questions and what they can do for a business when a business owner digs in and uncovers the answers.

Here is a real danger… if you don’t have clarity the minute you go online the technology will expose it.


If you have a question or comment, please leave it below in the comments section and let’s extend the conversation.


Here is my challenge to you; don’t settle for mediocrity and unnecessary failure!

  1. Do you want to be successful or do you want to be another statistic?
  2. Do you want lay the foundation for success and go the distance?


If so, consider looking into two programs I offer.


#1The Foundations of Internet Marketing is a 4-6 week course one-on-one with me. It’s very inexpensive and will help you lay that initial foundation.

#2 – Head to the “Contact” page and message me about how to help you as a start-up company build your plan from steps 1 – 7 above.

In both of these, I will offer you a free 60 minute consultation. There is no obligation or commitment on your part.

I hope to hear from you soon!!!!

~ Don Purdum

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Don Purdum

Don Purdum

Don works with businesses to help them discover who their customers are and what business they are "really" in. He is an award-winning blogger and branding / marketing consultant.
Don Purdum
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14 thoughts on “Starting a Business and Building it for Success

  1. Hey Don,

    Great post here.

    There are a lot of tedious step to starting a business and I think you laid out those steps perfectly.

    I think a lot of people get caught up with the idea of starting their business, that they forget that they’re just one person. Sure, they might be able to do everything themselves at first, but pretty soon, they’ll be swamped with so many tasks they won’t know which way to turn.

    I think after you get through #5 and have already launched, a person should look into whether delegating certain tasks would be beneficial to them. Makes no sense working on something that takes you 4 hours to complete that takes an expert at that particular think 45 minutes. What are your thoughts?

    – Andrew

    1. Hi Andrew,

      Starting a business comes full of details and it certainly can be tedious. But it’s also not a time to cut corners because of that. I know of businesses that in the first year did nothing but plan and prepare. It just shouldn’t be rushed.

      You are so right… I also think a lot of people are afraid of the unknown and therefore instead of giving up control they take more on; and that ends up hurting them worse.

      You know I’m going to agree with you 100%. Business owners need to focus in the areas that make them money. The other things can be delegated out to vendors or staff.

      Have a great day Andrew. Thanks so much for your input!

      ~ Don

  2. Hi Don,

    Love the new look! So true…to build a business one must have a strong foundation. We cannot go out there all willy nilly. It is business as usual. It takes a strong well thought out business plan, and the many steps to build that foundation. Once that is built, we can then “build the building” per se…

    I find that creating our own products/services are the best way to go. From there we do grow and we can sprinkle in different options in our sales funnel like tools we use. But we must never forget to brand

    As I approach #7 all I can say is that it took almost a year in the making to do so. A few more things to go over with my mentor in specific areas and I’ll be done. It is breaking new ground for me, but I’m preparing for that too. One cannot afford to launch something unless things have been tested, checked over with a fine tooth comb, and have other eyes from someone that has done it to look over it for us.

    Great job…you are going like wildfire.


    1. Hi Donna,

      Thank you!!! I have a few small touch up things to complete on the site but nothing major.

      What would a house be without a foundation? Yet, how many businesses are going without a purpose, vision, or strategy?

      That foundation is so important, yet it is so ignored. And by the statistics we can see it’s at their peril.

      I would say it’s the same for bloggers. I’m approaching my 1 year blog anniversary the end of May and I’m shocked at how many people that were blogging when I started are gone from the scene. It’s actually staggering to me.

      I’m looking forward to seeing what you have in store for #7 Donna!!!! I’m waiting with anticipation.

      Have a great week.

      ~ Don

  3. Hi Don,

    Wow, you’ve done some redecorating around here! Love it.

    As always, very enlightening information here. Those numbers at the beginning of your post are a bit scary, but I’m not surprised by them. Starting a business on the right foot is a lot of work and most of all the right strategy as you explained here.

    Get stuff and will share.

    1. Hi Sylviane,

      Yep, even made some more changes since you left your comment. Thank you for the kind word!

      It really is a frightening set of statistics. Yet, most people starting businesses either don’t know them or they ignore them believing the worse will never happen to them.

      Unfortunately, the odds are way stacked against them. I sincerely believe if a business owner does their due diligence as I explained in the article, it will decrease the risk significantly.

      Thank you for sharing Sylviane!!!

      ~ Don

  4. Hi Don,

    I agree with you 100%. Starting up a business includes a
    lot of hassles and headache. Thus it is very important that you have a
    solid reason behind starting it.

    Otherwise there is high chance that
    you’ll get frustrated and leave the plan eventually. One most important
    aspect that many do not pay enough attention to is the administrative

    Getting your papers all ready is one most important step to avoid
    any legal problem in the future.

    Thanks for the great post. I found it interesting and helpful 🙂 Have a great week ahead!

    1. Hi Nisha,

      Building a business is not for the faint of heart; is it?

      It’s a lot of work and it requires a lot of patience. Unfortunately, a lot of business owners get the cart before the horse.

      I appreciate your comment and thank you for sharing!

      ~ Don

  5. Hi Don

    Fully agree with you. Starting a business is not heck of the task. Continuing it to the ultimate success is the real thing that is not everyone’s cup of tea.

    The typical approach of starting a business now does not work as successfully as the digital approach work which first evaluate what people want and what unique could be produced to serve their needs.

    Earlier most of the assessment before starting a business was done on guesstimates but now we have more than several tools as assess what is trending, what is in high demand and what is yet to be introduced for the solution of most common problems of the people.

    Thanks a lot for sharing a very step by step guide to start a business with objective of making it successful with focused activities.

    1. Hi Mi,

      Anyone can start a business, that’s for sure. But as you said, not everyone can finish what they start. According to those stats, over 80% will not finish in a very fast period of time.

      I’m so glad you found the post beneficial Mi!!!

      ~ Don

  6. Hi Don,

    The WHY question screams at me.

    Loving this post!

    If you know why, you’ll have the right driver in place. I am blogging to free me and to free my audience.

    That driver gives me intense clarity in all that I do, so the confusion and chaos that used to muddle my mind doesn’t any longer.

    Same chaos that led to me not asking all those spot on questions you’ve shared with us.

    Hey Don, congrats on that podcast too! Really good stuff. Making moves over there 😉

    Tweeting from Bali.


    1. Hi Ryan,

      That pesky “why” question is always getting in the way… isn’t it? lol…

      It’s a real challenge for many businesses because in our world we trained in logic… in school the emphasis is on math, science and english.

      But it’s not focused on the critical thinking skills that come with the ability to think through and answer the emotional questions or connect the left and right brain together.

      It’s fun to watch the clarity you have gotten over the last six months. You’re rocking it my friend!!!!

      ~ Don

  7. Hi Don,

    More excellent advice here. Yes, we must have clarity first. Sometimes it is difficult, but I find that when writing things down of what you want to achieve…you know that big long list on a paper… one can find some clarity there. It’s inside of us and we may have ideas and all the to do’s in our mind, we have to set up a clear and focused strategy in order for a business to grow.

    Of course we are going to fall down and scrape our knees along the way, but these are our lessons and we need to value them.

    If someone goes into business blindly and not dig deep inside to see what “exactly” they want to achieve, they are going to waste time, and time is money.

    So dig deep, visualize what goal you want your business to achieve and how you are going to grow with it. Yes..there will be growing pains lol. But it will always be a work in progress, and we have to understand that.

    If we get “lucky” and something grows quicker than expected, we sure need to have our ducks in a row in case of that too. While I myself don’t have a staff, I do know that If and when I strike gold, I have a list of go-to people that will pick up the slack. All my friends like YOU…who I can refer people to.

    OK I’ll get off my soap box because I can go on and on…


    1. Hi Donna,

      I totally understand how businesses start without clarity; and that as they go they get more clear. However, why not get as clear in the beginning as one can?

      It will save a lot of time, frustration, hurt, money… if we do it right in the beginning instead of waiting until we are wondering what is happening or until it’s too late.

      Growing pains are good, healthy and very needed! We all go through them. I’m going through some right now and outside of not feeling too well today; I’M LOVING IT!!!!

      You just keep on that soapbox! When you get on a roll it’s fun to just sit back, grab a cup of coffee and learn!

      Have a great week Donna!

      ~ Don

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