Many who are in sales and marketing or own small businesses are too busy trying to earn an income to worry about their long-term business model. Unfortunately if you want to build consistent income and long-term success, the business model becomes a very essential part of the equation. There are many aspects to a successful business model, but we would like to point out a few that should serve as the foundation for building your business

Look at the long-term. Yes, it is important to earn a living each and every day. But the myopic view we experience by living day-to-day can cause us to move in the wrong direction in the long-run. When this happens we can be blindsided by industry and market changes and miss golden opportunities.

Were you prepared for the last industry slump? Are you ready for the next big change in the industry? There is no better example than the end of the real estate boom. No doubt many investors, homeowners, real estate agents and mortgage personnel were completely caught off-guard. Many of these people would have made different decisions and helped their clients make different decisions if they were looking at the long-term consequences of their actions.

The question you must ask yourself is–where do you want to be three/five/ten years from now with regard to your business? How does this differ from today and what plan must you put into effect to make this happen? The issue here is prioritization. You must identify the most important actions which will help you reach these long-term goals.

Invest in your business. Your long-term business model needs to determine what it will take in order for you to achieve the success you are seeking. In other words–what do you need to invest in terms of money, time and energy? Businesses that are short on monetary and human capital are sure to flounder.

It is important to note that we are talking about all aspects of investment. Usually when a person hears the term “investment,” he/she is thinking in terms of money. Yes, the investment of money is important. But if you invest the money but not the time or energy, the business is bound to fail. Remember the last time you bought a software program and then did not learn how to use it effectively? This is an example of investing the money, but not the time or energy. The money was wasted because you did not complete the investment.

Energy will not make up for a complete lack of capital and vice-versa. What must you invest in? Education, technology, marketing and more. You may have to invest in an office, an assistant, a computer program or the education to help you better serve your clients.

Select and elevate the right vendors to partners. Too many times we select our vendors in a way that we would not want to be selected as a service provider. For example, perhaps we don’t want our clients selecting us for having the lowest price. But we select our vendors because they have the lowest price or they take us out to lunch.

We want vendors who are going to help us succeed. First we have to show them loyalty. When things get busy and you need high-priority service, is the vendor going to give your client that priority? Do you deserve that level of priority?

The vendors have to help you succeed. Not only by providing excellent service at a good price, they also need to help you achieve your business model. This help may include the development of new business sources or perhaps if you are an owner or a manager, the recruitment of sales or operations personnel. Vendors will not step up to the level of partnership unless–

• You specify that you require this level of relationship and exactly the help you would like;

• You will be the type of customer of theirs that will benefit them greatly because they are helping you. They certainly should know that when you grow and prosper, they will also benefit directly.

A long-term view. Investment in your business. Integration of vendors as partners. We could not think of three more important aspects of a long-term business model. What changes do you need to make in order to make these happen?