Subscribe to Inc. magazine
STARTUP

10 Guiding Principles for Start-ups

To build the most successful small business in the world, it takes 10 key principles.
Advertisement

Every small business owner wants to succeed. Why put your blood, sweat, and tears into launching a new venture, only to watch it fail? And yet, many of them do. Over the years, I have worked with hundreds of small business owners and I have learned that in order to create a successful small business, your venture has to abide by certain principles.

According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, a principle is "A fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning."

The principles of a business are the driving forces that make it successful. They are the backbone for the organization. In my mind, there are ten such principles that underlie the creation of the most successful small business in the world.

1. Scalability

A business must be scalable for it to be successful. A small business built rightly can grow 10,000 times its current size.

2. Big Ideas

A small business is no more effective than the idea upon which it is built. The entrepreneur's vision is more important to the life of the business than anything else.

3. Systems

You must recognize that a small business is a System in which all parts contribute to the success or failure of the whole. In this system, everything must work together: from employee to president; from equipment to resources.

4. Sustainability

A business must be dynamic--able to thrive through all economic conditions, in all markets, providing meaningful, highly differentiated results to all of its customers. Such differentiation is key to survival.

5. Growth

All businesses need internal growth. A small business is a School in which its employees are students, with the intention, will, and determination to grow.

6. Vision

A small business must manifest the Higher Purpose upon which it was seeded, the vision it was meant to exemplify, the mission it was intended to fulfill.

7. Purpose

A small business is the fruit of a Higher Aim in the mind of the person who conceived it.

8. Autonomy

A business is not part of the owner's life, but is, in fact, its own entity. A small business possesses a life of its own, in the service of God, in whom it finds reason.

9. Profitability

A small business is an economic entity, driving an economic reality, creating an economic certainty for the communities in which it thrives.

10. Standards

A small business creates a Standard against which all small businesses are measured as either successful, or not.  All small businesses should aim to thrive beyond the standards that formerly existed.

So, there you have it, the ten principles upon which to conceive, grow, and expand your business. Each business needs a shape and structure, and these principles will give your company an outline, which is necessary for it to thrive.

IMAGE: daynoir/Flickr
Last updated: Dec 27, 2012

MICHAEL E. GERBER | Columnist | Author of The E-Myth

Michael E. Gerber is a true legend in entrepreneurship, helping transform 70,000+ businesses in 145 countries over the past 25 years. Michael?s New York Times best-selling book, The E-Myth Revisited, has sold over 5,000,000 copies.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



Register on Inc.com today to get full access to:
All articles  |  Magazine archives | Livestream events | Comments
EMAIL
PASSWORD
EMAIL
FIRST NAME
LAST NAME
EMAIL
PASSWORD

Or sign up using: