5 C’s

for Build­ing a Suc­cess­ful Business

Focus of SWFL - - Home & More - By Mar­sha Friedman

Small busi­nesses have made a huge re­cov­ery since the eco­nomic crash in 2008 and that’s good news for all of us. Since we ac­count for 63 per­cent of new jobs, our suc­cess puts peo­ple back to work. That, in turn, helps us even more – peo­ple with pay­checks buy stuff! And here’s more good news: The num­ber of new busi­nesses launch­ing has grown each year since hit­ting a low in 2009. One re­port put it at 540,000 new busi­nesses a month this year. In hopes of con­tribut­ing in my own small way, I thought I’d share my 5 C’s for build­ing a business. Th­ese are the guid­ing prin­ci­ples I’ve learned in the 24 years since I founded EMSI Pub­lic Re­la­tions. Through the ups and downs and all the mis­takes, I’ve found that if I keep my com­pass set on the 5 C’s, we al­ways make it through to smoother wa­ters.

What are the C’s?


It starts with car­ing enough about your­self and your dreams to stay com­mit­ted to achiev­ing your goals. (Giv­ing up is never a good op­tion!) You have to care enough about your­self to firmly be­lieve that you de­serve suc­cess and the good things that come with it. Just as im­por­tant is car­ing about your staff and cre­at­ing a pos­i­tive work en­vi­ron­ment for them. Pro­tect their san­ity from the clients who want to chew them up and from new hires who don’t fit in and hurt morale. Be sup­port­ive when stress­ful sit­u­a­tions arise in their lives out­side of work. And en­sure ev­ery­one has the knowl­edge and tools they need to be suc­cess­ful. None of us gets far at all if we don’t care about our cus­tomers. Give them the best ex­change pos­si­ble for their money; de­fine ex­pec­ta­tions so that they un­der­stand the end prod­uct you are de­liv­er­ing and for which they are pay­ing. Be will­ing to lis­ten to their con­cerns, take re­spon­si­bil­ity for mis­takes, and cor­rect them.


Thirty years ago, I prob­a­bly would never have said it takes courage to lead a small business, but with­out it, I as­sure you, you’ll fail. There are dragons and quick­sand and dark woods all around. You’ll find them in the day­to­day prob­lems, the ob­sta­cles you didn’t see ly­ing in wait, the risks you must take, and the stresses in­volved with hon­or­ing your obli­ga­tions to ev­ery­one work­ing with and for you. Trust me, your courage will grow ev­ery time you push your fear be­hind you and deal with what fright­ens you. Which will also help you build con­fi­dence.


Think of the many chal­lenges you’ve faced in your life, and the many times you’ve over­come them. Bring that con­fi­dence to your business. Be­liev­ing that you can reach for and achieve your short­and long­term goals is es­sen­tial to get­ting you there.


Com­pe­tence comes from knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence. Hone it by stay­ing up on the trends and dis­rup­tions in your in­dus­try. One of the most im­por­tant roles a CEO plays is as the vi­sion­ary for his or her company. That means you can’t, and shouldn’t, take on jobs within your company for which you’re not qual­i­fied. You’ll make your­self mis­er­able and your business will suf­fer. Hire an ac­coun­tant to han­dle the fi­nan­cials. Get mar­ket­ing help if that’s not your thing. As for em­ploy­ees, take the time to hire com­pe­tent peo­ple who you’ll trust in their jobs – and then trust them!


Stay ded­i­cated to your goals no mat­ter how dif­fi­cult that be­comes. That may mean tak­ing painful mea­sures, as it did for me after the 9/11 ter­ror­ist at­tacks put the brakes on the econ­omy. There came a point for my business when all hope looked lost. I had to make dras­tic cuts, in­clud­ing let­ting go beloved em­ploy­ees. For more than a year, I ramped up mar­ket­ing ef­forts, di­ver­si­fied our ser­vices, and took other steps to get the business out of the red. In 2005, I suc­ceeded – and it has been up­ward and on­ward ever since. Build­ing my business has been one of the most re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ences in my life. I get a lot of plea­sure from help­ing our clients meet their goals. I en­joy com­ing to work and spend­ing time with the team I’m blessed to call part of the fam­ily. We laugh loudly and of­ten! If you’ve re­cently launched a new business, know that you’ll en­counter chal­lenges. Don’t panic! Re­mem­ber the 5 C’s and forge ahead with car­ing, courage, con­fi­dence, com­pe­tence and com­mit­ment.

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