By Allison Turner Business, Marketing & Sales Consultant I often work with entrepreneurs and startups and while most have great ideas for a business not all have a clue on what it really takes to own and run a business. Often, I am struck by how naïve a prospective business owner is on all it takes to open a new company. Many want to do it with no budget therefore are doing it all themselves. While yes this can be done, you must know exactly the steps for success. I recently ran across the 2015 Sage State of the Startup Survey. What it shows is that, “The top-tier startups are more profitable, growing faster and more aggressively hiring. In fact, 91 percent reported they have met their initial business goals, compared to just 12 percent of the bottom tier.” Here’s what Sage discovered from the successful entrepreneurs: 1. Find a partner. Top-tier startups were 59 percent more likely than the bottom tier to have more than one founder. While BCoSF, Inc. was originally founded by myself and a partner, who has since left the company, I do believe that we built the foundation of our business faster given there were two of us doing it. With that being said, you must find the “right” partner who not only compliments your strengths and weaknesses but is also the best person with whom to achieve your long-term business goals. 2. Don’t skip the business plan. Successful founders were 78 percent more likely than the bottom tier to have created a formal business plan before launching their new business. I stress to businesses all the time that they need a strategic marketing and business plan – not so much one geared towards investors but one that keeps your marketing message and strategy clear and gives you a detailed roadmap on how to grow your business. 3. Recruit professional advisors. The best startups lean on the wisdom and experience of trusted advisors such as accountants and mentors. I am a firm believer in professional advisors whether consultants, accountants, executive coaches or attorneys. In building a business, you want the strong foundation and you want to do everything the right way from the start. 4. Embrace the latest marketing techniques. Today’s top entrepreneurs are masters of websites, social media, forums and the latest marketing tactics. In today’s day and age, you must be up to date on the latest marketing techniques. We live in an online society so if you do not embrace that, you are missing out. 5. Balance! Unexpectedly, the most successful entrepreneurs were 58 percent more likely than the bottom tier to report a “great” balance between work and life. I am a firm believer that your personal life must come first and your business must fit into that life. Balance is essential! So many entrepreneurs put all of their time into their business and let everything else be a distant second. What you will find is that is the best way to burn yourself out and ultimately destroy your life. While there will be sacrifices to make in business, you never sacrifice your happiness. I am clear that not everyone is cut out to be a business owner. Many think about starting a company but don’t realize the time, hard work and sacrifice that it takes. The best advice I can give someone who is thinking about starting a business is be clear on your goals for your personal life first then your business, write a strategic business and marketing plan focusing on the next year or work with a consultant to develop that plan, build a strong foundation for your company by incorporating the right accounting and legal advice, and find the balance between your personal and business life. Ultimately your business will only be as successful as the idea for the business, the team who implements, the marketing / advertising, the plan for growth, and the bottom line. Allison Turner is CEO and cofounder of Business Consultants of South Florida,(BCoSF, Inc.) located at 301 W Atlantic Avenue, Suite 05. She is a resident of Delray Beach as well as active member of the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce. BCoSF is passionate about helping their clients either start or grow a sustainable and profitable business. For more information visit www.BCoSF.com or call 561-276-4422.