Within our business advisory firm, the single greatest “request” we get is about sales growth or income generation. There are lots of quick-fix remedies to tweak sales. There are marketing strategies, too, that can position the business for improved selling opportunities. Business strategy examples can only take you so far. Be specific. Worse, you’re selling your business short of specificity when you copy what others do. Your business is unique, so the business strategy and model need to capture that.
What you need is a universal tool to address your unique needs — that’s The Service Model (below). Here you have both a tool to create and build business strategy as well as analyze and improve what exists. Regardless of whether you are the CEO of a major corporation or a commissioned salesperson with a territory, you have a Service Model by either default or by design.
At On-Purpose Partners we help our clients assess the underlying strategies, structures, and systems — the foundations of an organization found at the bottom of the Service Model (Purpose and Plan). Slight misdirection here only gets amplified throughout every line item on the P&L and the corporate culture through the People, Processes, and Performance.
Most clients call because they have a “Performance” level problem — such as not enough revenue. So they’ll do the quick fixes to performance or dig a bit deeper into the Process area (Marketing). Or, they’ll gin up the sales team with incentives to meet current objectives at the risk of sustaining the relationship.
In other words, they start where the problem appears and try to fix it there. There’s merit to this, but if there are persistent problems, then this doesn’t address the root cause. In fact, it tends to create a frenzy of latest gimmicks. It becomes almost addicting activity.
Addressing Process matters such as Marketing or Training looks at systems for solutions. This is a smart move because if the system has flaws then the Performance will suffer. I’ll venture a guess that 98% of most consulting work is hired in the Process and Performance level.
The challenge, however, is that the Purpose, Plan, and People levels are too often neglected or assumed to be properly working. Here’s why. The responsibility for these levels falls to the leadership and management of the organization. It is hard to self-assess. Much like a fish doesn’t realize it is swimming in water until it is out of the water, leaders and managers rarely have the perspective to see their own context.
What To Do:
Define your Target Audience (Customer). Then, remodel your business by starting at the bottom of the Service Model and work your way to the top one level at a time.
Call it business alignment or getting everyone pointed in the same direction; the bottom line business objective is sales growth and profits. When the people and business strategy are confused on the inside, the customer or client experience is diminished. Losses mount in profits and people. It can get ugly!
Here’s how to create a better result for your organization. Know that alignment works but it stops short. Start with your goal or a vision, pare to the core, create alignment, and continue working on the business and with your team until all are more fully integrated.
Step 1: Setting the goal or writing the vision is typically the easy part. It may take time and some thinking and noodling with your brain to clarify it in writing, but get it done in writing.
Step 2: Alignment comes in many forms. Here are a few:
- The On-Purpose Principle: This is the purpose of the person aligned with the purpose of the organization. If this alignment doesn’t exist, then everything else is manipulation or feels like manipulation. Work must be a meaningful expression of one’s life.
- Strategic alignment within the business means, for example, that the business strategy informs the marketing strategy which informs the sales strategy and provides for tactical direction. Social media in particular needs to align or it is just a waste of time. Use the Service Model to guide you.
- Customer alignment means the business is highly designed, built, and oriented to serve the customer while uplifting the team.
- Project alignment means that the team players seek a common outcome or objective.
Alignment is an important and solid step but it falls short of what is needed. Business process engineering or re-engineering efforts are directed toward business alignment. When a business is missing its core strategy then there is no cornerstone for aligning and building.
As a business advisor, I consistently see money poured into tactical execution (Performance) when the strategy is deeply flawed. The waste of money and effort is monumental. Worse, I see good money chasing bad business designs time and again.
Websites provide a great example. So you’ve finally gotten your website launched and you’re waiting for the visitors to start finding you thanks to your investment in SEO (Search Engine Optimization and Google AdWords). It isn’t happening, so you invest even more money in your SEO and AdWords campaign. But what if the website, itself, isn’t welcoming or fails to present a call to action? Much of the investment in SEO and advertising dollars is wasted or hopelessly inefficient.
“Getting the business aligned” is often heralded as the cure for what ails the business. It is important, but it stops far short of what is really needed.
Step 3: Now that the goal is set and the strategy and structure are in place, turn to the relationships. Does your team understand the purpose of your organization? Have you clarified and communicated the purpose? Do they have a sense of call and contribution that allows them to get beyond the inevitable personality and preferential differences? Do they see their individual and collective contribution as so important that they can work as a team toward the greater good?
The higher level concept is integration. Strategically, purpose is the point of integration. Alignment deals with tangibles and direction. Integration deals with the people plus the intangibles and tangibles to create a wholeness to the organization. It provides a fabric to the culture and brand of the business that translates to the customer experience being extraordinary.
Work on alignment, yet remember to go the next step to create integration of the business beginning with the purpose, plan, people, process, and performance. Integration gets you to the gestalt of business where it works effectively and efficiently.
Do you need some one-on-one work on your business? Do you want me to help you create the path to being on-purpose? Contact the office to arrange an advisory relationship. Small Business Advisory Packages are available for one-on-one help with me (Kevin). Need more information? Call: 407.657.6000 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.