The World Trade Center and Your Business

Most of us know that there was a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. And most likely you know that the area and buildings are in various stages of being rebuilt or have opened.  If you look at how the new One World Trade Center building was put together you’ll see they built down to a 20 story bomb-resistant base then set 70-ton shafts of steel and pilings and sunk 200 ft into the earth. The subterranean structure supports 48,000 tons of steel.

I’m not saying you need to build a 20 story foundation before you move your business to next level but realize by skimping on the foundations of your business you run the risk of it falling apart. If you follow the natural course of your business cycle and work through the various stages, your business will be around a long time.

I recently met a business owner that grew the business quickly over the course of a few years. At the end of the best year for the business the owner realized the business had lost a lot of money. At this point there were only two decisions to make, either contract the business or shut it down. They decided to scale it down. Why did these things happen? The owner did not set the foundation within the people, process and profits areas.

People – sure it’s about getting the right people on the bus AND making sure they are in the right seat from the start. When your business is starting out you need to ensure you have the right sales people to help expand sales and the right administrative people on the inside. As the business grows you will want to formalize job roles and descriptions. You’ll want to ensure you are hiring quality staff by implementing pre-hire tools to determine who quality staff is for your organization and cut turnover before it starts.

  •     The business owner in this case kept on people that did not have the right skills for the role they were in. He eventually moved or removed them but not before the business hit a rough patch.

Process – as much as you would like to skip over putting any kind of processes in place, I encourage you to get each person doing a job within your company to write out what they do on a daily basis. If someone needs to step in at least they will know what to do and you’ll have the start of a job description if you need to hire for the role in the future. As your business grows you will want to formalize the process of developing your process.

  • The business owner in this case was focused on sales and not setting internal operational process to support the business. He has since hired a full time COO that will be helping set the internal process foundations to support the business as it grows.

Profits – businesses need money to operate and someone needs to keep an eye on the money. Things such as sales, cash flow, capital to grow and a solid profit model will ensure your business is around for the long term.

  • The business owner in the this case has asked the new COO to help keep an eye on cash flow and set internal profit foundations and process to support the business.

Building a business can be exciting, fun and scary at the same time. I encourage you to set the foundations early in the beginning stages of building your business. If the workers on One WTC can take the time to dig twenty stories below ground to build a solid sky scraper on top, the least you can do is stop and take stock of how your business foundation is set for success.