A Complete Business Development Machine
..Where there is no vision, the people perish…
Before Diving Into This Next Section
A few Words About Words
“When definitions of terms get jumbled, mischief results.”
I’ve selected several terms that express ideas that I believe are foundational to the development of a business. These words are: Vision, Mission, Core Value, Strategy, and Tactics. I place a great deal of emphasis on these words and have created specific definitions for them to provide clarity of communication within the context of my working with small business owners.
In addition to the five terms above, I’ve selected several more words that I will attempt to define for use in the discussion of business development. The first three, have to do with office, as well as the attributes of a person who may hold an elevated office within an organization, such as President, Vice President, Director, Manager, or Supervisor. These words are: Leadership, Leader and Lead. Two more: Knowledge and Wisdom, have more to do with the attributes of a Leader. A business, regardless of entity type, must have a Leader who has a Vision, the courage to be held accountable, and accept the responsibility of the welfare of the business and all of its components (employees, customers, vendors, equipment, etc).
A note regarding these words:
Knowledge, Wisdom, and Leadership are attributes or qualities integral to the process of business development. The extent to which they exist will, to a large degree, determine the measure of the success of the organization and the individuals within it. The last improves naturally, as do the first two.
A note regarding Knowledge:
The awareness and retention of things, such as data and information, along with the ability to access and recall them; the ability to see these elements within a broader context, then link and analyze them (this feeds the next concept: Wisdom).
A note regarding Wisdom:
The ability to use Knowledge in a meaningful manner and exercise sound judgment; attempting to do things rightly and with a good outcome; the ability to discern inner qualities and relationships: insight, good sense, judgment, and the proper application of Knowledge.
A useful measure of Wisdom may be “the distance into the future which a thought can be cast”, and then, of course, the extent to which actions align with the thought.” The farther into the future we are able to see accurately (with our mind’s eye, so to speak), the wiser we may be, and our leadership may improve as a result.
A note regarding Leadership:
The quality within an individual which causes them to have a clear Vision (see next section); select the right team and guide them, by working together, to the realization of this (the leader’s) Vision; and simultaneously help each individual to develop and move toward realizing their own vision. Again, the extent to which this is done, the better the organization (in every respect). Though sometimes difficult, leadership can, and should, be enjoyable!
Two more words:
Training (this has to do with the How things are done).
Education (this has to do with the Why they are done).
A couple of things to bear in mind:
“The best leaders produce leaders who produces leaders.”
“For a boss, you will do what you have to do; for a leader, you’ll do all that you can.”
Section 1. Vision, the Goal that you seek:
I realize that I have a section with the same name as the chapter. That is because I tuck all five of the terms, I use in this chapter under the heading of the first, Vision, the other four exist to bring about the realization of the Vision.
I once read a story about Tom Watson, the founder of IBM. Asked to what he attributed the phenomenal success of IBM, he is said to have answered:
“IBM is what it is today for three special reasons.
The first reason is that, at the very beginning, I had a very clear picture of what the company would look like when it was finally done. You might say I had a model in my mind of what it would look like when the dream—my vision—was in place.
The second reason was that once I had that picture, I then asked myself how a company which looked like that would have to act. I then created a picture of how IBM would act when it was finally done.
The third reason IBM has been so successful was that once I had a picture of how IBM would look when the dream was in place and how such a company would have to act, I then realized that, unless we began to act that way from the very beginning, we would never get there. In other words, I realized that for IBM to become a great company it would have to act like a great company long before it ever became one. From the very outset, IBM was fashioned after the template of my vision. And each and every day we attempted to model the company after that template. At the end of each day, we asked ourselves how well we did, discovered the disparity between where we were and where we had committed ourselves to be, and, at the start of the following day, set out to make up for the difference. Every day at IBM was a day devoted to business development, not doing business. We didn’t do business at IBM, we built one.“
It has been my experience that one of hardest things for a small business owner to do is create, articulate, and reduce to writing, a Vision.
A Thing to Consider
About the Picture Above
As simple as the graphic is, I believe the concept is rarely seriously considered, but note:
- If we are truly passionate about what we do, it will help get us through tough times; if we are not, we may become discouraged and quit too soon. Passion provides fuel for creativity and stamina.
- If we can make a profit, our business will last and grow, but if not, it will fade away. It is the profit that feeds the business, its employees, vendors, and all those who serve your customers and clients.
- If we are good enough to stand out above the crowd, it will protect us from becoming a commodity, a thing that is purchased because it is the cheapest. We do not want to be the cheapest, but the best!
The extent to which we can say “Yes” to all three largely determines our chances of building a business.
A deficiency in one or more may provide a hobby but not a business.
A working definition of a basic Vision. At a minimum, it must contain the following:
- The Goal. What do you, the owner(s), see the organization being at some date /time in the future? This should be specific and measurable:
- Date the Vision is realized.
- Sales, Gross and Net profit, a Pro-Forma Profit and Loss Statement, one as of today and one for the realization date
- Balance Sheet, today and realization date
- Business value (amount and method of valuation)
- Organizational charts, today and realization date
- These things reveal the gap between where you are and your destination and begin the thought process of closing it.
- A descriptive narrative of the business today and the realization date
You should be able to know when your Vision is realized. It may change very little or not at all. In a perfect world, it would not change but would simply be realized by the completion of a well-designed Mission and all that follows it (see below).
Purpose: Provide Clarity and Focus. First, in your own mind and then bring clarity and focus to all those you would lead (or otherwise include in a leadership position). You may also share this with key employees, lenders, and investors. There may be sensitive components of your Vision that are shared on a selective basis.
Action: Review annually or as often as required and revise as needed.
The end of all your thoughts and actions regarding your business should be the realization of your Vision.
It has been my observation that the majority of small business owners have no real Vision but are on a Mission, intentional or subconscious, of “moment-by-moment” self-gratification with very little, if any, thoughts cast too far into the future.
Section 2. Mission, the thing that you are on to realize your Vision:
Mission: What you must accomplish to realize your Vision. We, “Go on a Mission”.
Purpose: Provide “The Message” to Communicate. The Mission communicates what you are doing, and will do, for team members, customers, and clients along with how you do it. It should be crisp and clear, not just an accumulation of words for the sake of appearance; it articulates what is intentionally put into action every day.
Action: Print it. Review it with each person in your organization. Post it where all can see it. Put it on your website. Make it as public and as visible as possible.
Section 3. Core Values
This topic is presented primarily within the context of building a team, but can/should be kept in mind in the determination and development of all relationships. The team, in this case, being employees and key vendors (especially those subcontractors that may have close contact with your customers and clients).
These core values should represent the values that are “truly” at the core of the Owner of the company.
Purpose: Provide a Guide to the Selection and Management of People. The closer the match in the core values of people, the better are the chances for a strong and lasting relationship. We may attempt to make this match subconsciously in many cases, but in the case of organizational team building, when the emphasis is done consciously, deliberately, and formally, the entire organization benefits along with each of its members. This will be explored more in the Team Members portion of this scribbling.
Bear these things in mind, “Skills can be taught Core Values can not.”, and it is always best when we (ourselves) live up to our core values.
Action: As the leader, give the topic sufficient thought, determine your core values, and put them in writing.
My Core Value is integrity. Our success is measured by the degree to which each party’s interests are served. A transaction properly executed, and a system properly implemented ensures that each individual’s position is improved, relationships are strengthened and certainty that the right decisions were made increases with the passage of time. is integrity. Our success is measured by the degree to which each party’s interests are served. A transaction properly executed, and a system properly implemented ensures that each individual’s position is improved, relationships are strengthened and certainty that the right decisions were made increases with the passage of time.
Section 4. Strategy
Keeping These Things In Mind
The Machine that brings the proper potential customers to the point of making a buy decision.
The machine that understands that potential customer’s wants and needs and matches the company’s products/services to those wants and needs and makes a sale.
The machine that manages all the components that produce the products and services provided to the customers.
The synchronization of the three machines into one ensures the health and growth of the business and its value.
…………….Three Merged into One…………….
Links to Tools:
What is Strategy?
Strategy is the overall plan that guides the execution of the Mission, providing the link from the Vision to the Tactics and the realization of the Vision. It is the tool that links and synchronizes the organization’s competencies, resources, and opportunities.
Some Components of a Strategy Include:
- Product/Services (See Mission)
- The Scope and definition of the market, the share believed to ber attainable, monetized by percent of the total market along with a annual dollar volume.
- The Distinctive and unique competencies and the value they bring to the market defined above.
- The Competitive advantages.
- The Method of ensuring a successful Mission, via: System(s), which include people, equipment, tools, products and services.
Section 5. Business Plan
A book with two chapters that you write for yourself:
In clear and simple language, explanation of your Vision and how you intend to realize it.
It must include your:
- Core Values
- Your Metrics, the ones by which you will measure yourself.
It must also include appropriate explanation and detail regarding your Business Development Machine:
This book, as stated above is first and foremost for you. It must be comprehensive, strategically and tactically balanced, sufficiently detailed to force out of you (and into you) something pragmatic, a plan that can be implemented and carried out. It need not be, a long book, it must simply be, “a good book”. It will not be perfect; it will, along with the variability of life, change, but short of major unforeseen circumstances that would make it impractical, or simply wrong, it will remain, with the adjustments necessary, a course to follow.
It will also be the source of information to share with a variety of people:
- Your leadership team
What you share with any individual or group should be carefully considered, information can be very powerful. It can be encouraging and useful or destructive, wisdom, and a good deal of careful consideration must be used. You must ask yourself why you are sharing it, will doing so benefit everyone concerned, and how will it do so?
Depending on the audience, it can be paraphrased, abbreviated, or rearranged to fit the need, but it shou NEVER be a different story. The Business Plan is a data-base from which all pertinent information should originate and to which all the activity in the business should be held accountable. Multiple versions of the plan will, intentionally or unintentionally, surely wreak havoc.