Believe it or not, building a business is the easy part. Sure, you need a bit of sales savvy and business acumen to be decisive and make good judgement calls, but for the most part it’s just time dependant. But to propel your business from planet Earth into the stratosphere, you need a vision – to focus your resources into the right areas.
In today’s blog, we’re discussing the 5 Ways to Turn Your Good Business into A Great One.
1 – THE HEDGEHOG CONCEPT:
An odd name, but arguably the most important step in the journey from good – to great. The Hedgehog Concept is an exercise meant to trim away the fat, and bring the focus back to core values.
The idea comes from an old Greek proverb: “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing”. In Layman’s terms, that hedgehog knows that all it has to do to thwart the wily fox is to roll into a ball of spikes, no matter which way it chooses to attack.
There are 3 simple questions you have to ask yourself:
What are your strong points as a business?
What is your business passionate about?
Are these two values intersecting to drive your economic engine?
More expansively, you need to really hone in on those products or services that your company offers that not only give the customer the best experience and value, but also turn a tidy profit at the same time.
Diversity and expanding into other markets are great and all, but don’t lose sight of what your company does really well. If you can be the best in the world at doing something, never sacrifice it for the sake of variety.
A long-term strategy investing the lion’s share of resources into just one thing has a good chance of weathering the storm of competition and will more often than not ensure the survival of a company.
2 – DON’T IMITATE, INNOVATE:
So, you’ve identified what sets you apart from other businesses, your “One Thing”. A smart businessperson would then look to the titans of their industry, and research how they amounted to such success. What products and services are they offering, what is their customer service like, how do they resource and staff their departments etc.
The temptation here is to mimic processes to replicate success, but that’s not what we’re advocating here. Look to the market leaders, and use their blueprint as a comparison to your own business. What are they doing that you’re not?
Competition is steep in the modern world, the ultimate winner of the war between value and price being the happy consumer. The market is filled to the brim of varying versions of the same offering, and while the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” may be a fine way to accomplish short to medium term goals, ultimately your competitors will leave you in the dust if they choose to break the mould.
The path of least resistance is the safe route, but what you need to do is innovate to set yourself apart from the other merchants in your sector. Revolutions in technology are happening more and more frequently, and the hot ticket item would be to take an already established product or service and adapt it to either suit an additional purpose, or change it slightly to expand into other markets.
After all, it’s no secret that the iPhone saved Apple’s bacon.
3 – BE PATIENT:
Making the leap from good to great doesn’t just happen overnight. Flash in the pan companies that increase their stock value tenfold in a short period of time come and go, monumental success is rarely sustainable due to insufficient processes in place to support such growth.
The path to greatness is made with small, incremental baby steps. By focusing on milestone goals, and making minor improvements, what seem to be very small accomplishments cumulatively add up to success in a most exponential way.
Taking Formula One racing as an example. Teams strive to accomplish small 1% improvements in their operations, and these are celebrated as huge triumphs – for good reason. In a race that can be decided by a split second, a single advancement in technology or refinement of how the team functions can mean the difference between standing on the winner’s podium or applauding from the sidelines.
This could be anything from pulling a little bit more power from the engine, a small speed increase in how fast a tyre is changed, or slightly altering the way a driver takes a corner to reduce wear and tear.
The race car is a working prototype that has a thousand changes made to it per week, and it’s fair to say 999 of those won’t make the cut. So what? Innovation is driven by a no blame culture that encourages outside of the box thinking.
Now imagine your business is the race car – how will you make your 1% gains?
4 – SOLUTIONS DO NOT EQUAL SUCCESS:
This may seem like a crazy statement, but nevertheless, solutionism can be a double-edged sword. Adopting technology as a way to streamline operations, cut down on overheads, and increase the quality of your offerings can only be a good thing so long as you’re not jampacking your business with technology just for the sake of it.
Sure, moving into the digital or online space is a good thing, but don’t let it detract from what your company does well. The company wide integration of new software to increase productivity and the accuracy of reporting and forecasting is definitely a move in the right direction in 2022. The flipside is having the support there for staff or customers to fully utilise the system for maximum benefit.
Technology can be a powerful tool for accelerating growth within a business, but it can also muddy the waters. Looking for solutions to current processes must be done as an accessory to the current business model. Adopting an “out with the old, in the with new” mindset may actually have a negative effect.
Such a cosmic shift in how your business functions may see your company go backwards in the short to mid-term – something that you may just not be able to recover from. Shiny new tech toys can sometimes be just that.
5 – LOOK TO YOUR LEADERS:
The secret ingredient to making the switch from good to great isn’t your decision to hit the go button – it’s putting the right people in the right places. There is perhaps no more important factor to sustainable growth than good leadership. So, what does this leadership dream team look like in your business?
Unsurprisingly, these are extremely self-driven and laser focused individuals. Their leadership style is dedicated solely towards the ambition of the company, and the results required from making those small improvements across the board that are required for progress.
The real catalyst here is not only ensuring that every position in your business is filled by an employee suited to that role, but having a group of leaders in place that work together with a singular focus and aim in mind that aligns with the business plan and core values.
The real kicker here is that by simply placing the right people in the right jobs, you may actually generate a good result – even without great leadership or clear direction from upper management. Changing your mindset from how much you’re willing to pay for a position, to who you will pay to fill that position, is very important for something so subtle.
Having proper leaders in place though, will almost guarantee that hiring the wrong person for the job will be a very seldom occurrence, if at all. Building on that, the correct play may be at times to hire the right person for the company – even if there isn’t a role for them to fill just yet.
So, there you have it, some sound advice for those running a business for quite some time already, and also for those looking to start out on their corporate adventure. It pays to stick to these five core concepts to both minimise risks, while maximising rewards when you do decide to take the plunge and really elevate your business to the next level. These are valuable lessons that many have learnt the hard way!
That’s all we have time for in today’s blog, “5 Ways to Turn Your Good Business into a Great One”.
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