Since the financial crunch which led to the foreclosure of corporations and people getting fired from their regular jobs, everyone is finally embracing the idea of starting their own businesses. But the unfortunate research proved that 90% of start-ups will go bankrupt or go out of business before their third year because most of the aspiring entrepreneurs will probably not put in place the basic keys to growing their businesses.

If you are thinking of starting a business or you already have one, here are the 7 keys to building a successful business.

Write a business plan.  You cannot sail a ship on the Atlantic without a compass. Or else, you will be lost like Odyssey and his crew. When you are starting a business and you don’t have a business plan, then you may go out of business sooner than you think. A business plan is like your road map, it will tell you where your business will be at every stage or phase. Business plan do not only assist you to get loans from banks or angel investors, it will help you navigate your business in the right direction.

Is your Business Registered? Hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs run their businesses without registering with the Corporate Affair Commission. Good for them. Although you might succeed doing business without registration, you will be limiting the growth of your business. In fact, you are not yet in business until you have done the part of registering it.

Find Capital: Whoever told you that you don’t need capital to run a business is a washout consultant. For you to set-up your business, you need a substantial capital. Maybe the salary from your daily job can help you get started or you can round up a small loan from family and friends.  Whatever you do, find what we call seed capital.

Get an Office: Yes, you can run your business from your garage like Bill Gate did when he started Microsoft. In fact you can even run it from the trunk of your car, but you will end up with the wrong clients. Find an office space that can represent your business and you are sure of the right kind of clients.

Get a Banker & Book Keeper: The secret of every successful business is having a banker and a book keeper. First, you banker needs to see your business growing steadily and would probably make loan available to you in the nearest future. And your book keeper will help you keep your record straight and neat. Both will also give advice and assist you on how to manage your money and will also educate you on how best you can get more money to run your business.

Build a system: If you are planning to build a successful business, then you need to create a system. A system is a way of making your business run without you in the picture. That is, if there is need for you to be away on vacation for one week or two, your business will still be generating income. How do you do this? Simply employ the right set of people.

Find your clients. If you have a great product or service to offer, don’t wait for clients to knock on your door, rather find them. Make the loudest noise through every media available to you. Make sure people around you go deaf by hearing about your business. That way you will keep yourself in business.

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Alfred Ade-Ijimakinwa is Africa’s #1 Small Business Expert. He has interviewed dozens of CEOs for his magazine, BusinessIQ and has mentored over a thousand entrepreneurs who have gone on to begin their own successful businesses. This he can do for you as well. Email: alfred@businessiqonline.com