How to Build a Business in 3 Years

The other night I went to a birthday party. It wasn’t a party for a person. It was a 3rd birthday party for a business. Our future daughter-in-law, Emily, started the jewelry business three years ago with an idea and a web site. She threw such a beautiful party. I wish you could have been there. If you want to build a business you could do worse than follow the trajectory of this Nashville-based shop.


Even the birthday party itself was a savvy marketing tool. The first 25 people to come to the party received a free gift, including a tote bag and a ring. There was a steady stream of people coming through the shop. They checked out all the new products and sampled some snacks and drinks. People purchased jewelry and got a sneak preview of new lines that are coming soon.

Emily built a business that now has a large studio, a retail storefront, and even her own employees. Her jewelry is sold at retail outlets and by wholesale. She sells on her web site and at craft fairs all over the country. The proceeds from the business are enough to provide Emily’s only income.

As I’ve watched Emily from afar, I have observed her keys to building a successful business:

  1. She has a vision. From the very start Emily had in her mind a vision to build a business. You see it in the jewelry she made from the very beginning. Emily would go to the local flea market, find interesting pieces, and turn them into jewelry. Re-purposed pieces became her brand which then evolved into a very simply eclectic line today. The vision also included mercy and giving. Ten percent of the proceeds of the business go toward helping Honduran women start jewelry businesses of their own to support their families.
  2. She has persistence. Emily doesn’t give up. Even when their are unhappy customers or the setback of financial loss she fiercely moves forward and uses the difficult times as a lesson to build her business in the future. Her persistence has moved her from her home, to a primitive studio, and now to a beautiful space for making jewelry with a retail store in the front.
  3. She has foresight. Emily is always two steps ahead of the game. She knows enough to be planning lines of jewelry for the future. When she plans ahead it gives her team the opportunity to get ready for marketing, future orders, and opportunities for more creativity.
  4. She has a positive attitude. Don’t think for a minute that Emily hasn’t had setbacks. They have come from time to time. But what I love about Emily’s attitude is that she never seems to pessimistic or down when she encounters a cranky customer or makes a business mistake. She literally shrugs these things off and takes another step forward. There is always something to learn when you build a business…
  5. She has a hunger to learn. Emily listens to business podcasts and reads the books that feed her desire to learn. When you walk into her studio you will see a stack of books that any respectable business person should be reading. Emily knows that any business owner should never ever think they know it all. She should continue to be a student each and every day.

Want to build a business or any kind of organization? Follow these five steps and you will be well on your way to success. Before you know it you’ll be throwing your own birthday parties.

What would you add to this list?

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