Being successful in business isn’t easy. But most owners, leaders, and managers however make it far more complex than it needs to be. In its purest form, business is about marketing, sales, service, leadership, and management.
In its simplest structure to start a business, you find a need or a desire in the market place. Then develop a service, product, or information that meets the need, solves the problem, or satisfies a desire for your market. Create opportunity for individuals, groups of people, organizations, or businesses that you can advance or deliver.
Next you need to find a way to articulate the value of what you do, distinguish your product, service, or information from other choices in the market place and find a way to make it visible. You educate the market, your prospects, your clients, and your partners. Make it easy for people to do business with you and for you. All of which is the essence of marketing. Marketing is nothing more than conveying value. It doesn’t have to be catchy, clever, or overly articulate. The message just has to be clear, concise, and effective.
Sales, on the other hand is about conveying trust and confidence in what you say you do, what you will deliver, and doing it better, faster, cheaper, more consistently, or more uniquely than your competitors.
Service is all about delivering the value you convey in your marketing and in your sales process and ensuring the benefits are tangibly delivered before, during, and after the sale.
Management of the process, the company, and your organization is the key to building a sustainable business, a scalable proposition, and a consistent level of quality, service, and deliverability. It’s where most enterprises breakdown—organizationally, operationally, in implementation, and in growth. Without the foundation of effective management, stagnation at best, and collapse at worst is inevitable.
As a leader, manager, or owner…
- Be motivated by a long term vision and direct others and be directed by immediate priorities; don’t just visualize the future—get off your butt and do what needs to be done—NOW. Be the champion of the vision and the leader in ensuring its progressive materialization. Lead by example but expect everyone to take immediate and consistent action in turning vision into reality.
- Understand the immutable interdependence between effective strategy and aligned, well structured tactics. Strategy without tactics is reckless and tactics without a clear strategy is a waste of time, talent, opportunity, resources, and money.
- Align the company mission, vision, values, principles, policies, procedures, and compensation to build a culture of clarity and consistency. Missions are sustained by the daily practices and actions undertaken by everyone in the organization. Alignment brings harmony, effectiveness, and efficiency. Misalignment brings confusion, conflict, and self-centered competition. Competition for an individual to be the best for the good of the whole is healthy. Competition for selfish gain at the expense of the whole is destructive and debilitating to the growth, scalability, and sustainability of the company.
- Leverage the talent, time, energy, of other people by engaging them in and helping them embrace the company vision—for their reasons. Employees, partners, vendors, and clients aren’t motivated by your desire, their reward comes from the fulfillment of their own goals, desires, and aspirations. Understand what motivates your team members and set the rewards for success and establish the consequences for not getting the job done. They need to know how the company vision will benefit them personally for their contribution and commitment to the health, growth, and success of the company.
- Do only what you do best and better than anyone else around you and the things that have the highest impact on your organization and your business. If you love doing it and you’re marginally proficient, either get good at doing it or give it up. If you’re lousy at it, let it go and get someone to do it that knows what they’re doing. You have an obligation to yourself and your stakeholders to instill a "highest and best use" practice and culture.
- Lead people, manage results. Delegate functions, not tasks. If you need to continually tell someone "how, when, where" to do their job you have the wrong people or you’re simply not managing. Assign the function, set the expectation, define the parameters and measure the result—give them the flexibility to get the job down within the bounds of budgets, time frames, company policies but don’t tell your key people what to do, when, how often, how long, or with whom.
- Hire slowly and fire fast. Find the right people with the right skills and don’t shortcut the process. It’s better to take two months to find the "right" person than to hire the wrong person over and over again. If you make a mistake, fix it. You can sometimes train people "up" but if you can’t, you have an obligation to yourself, your clients, and your organization to free the "wrong" person to pursue their bliss somewhere else.
- Communicate often and communicate openly. Communicate the good, the bad, and the ugly. Convey your expectations, your boundaries, your hopes and your concerns. Communicate what you mean, do what you say you will, and honor your commitments. Accountability applies to everyone—including you. As a leader your word is a convent and an example of the values and virtues an organization holds dear.
- Understand the impact of the decisions and demands you make—on your clients, your employees, the marketplace, and all of your stake holders. Give clear, pragmatic direction. Set responsible expectations as to what can be done, should be done, and will be done by everyone inside and outside the organization. There are few things more de-motivating or disabling than setting impossible goals, demanding the impossible, or not having a reasonable expectation of performance. Strong performance, continuing progress, and high proficiency are within the realm of reasonable performance. Perfection is reserved for divine beings that generally don’t work for a living.
- Develop systems for measuring, monitoring and reporting Key Performance Indicators of the business, your employees, key initiatives, innovations, customer activities, and other variables that sustain, grow, or improve your business.
Yours in clarity and simplicity,