Focus on what you have to, in order to reach your objectives and fulfil your dreams!
The idea is simple: your focus, as the owner of the business, moves from ‘Sales’ to ‘Stuff’ to ‘Systems’, as your company grows. This is the best business growth strategy. Focusing on one part of the business does not mean that you only deal with that part. It means that you allocate half of your time to it, while the other half is split between anything else you would normally deal with. Above all, you, as the business owner, must focus on what needs your focus, even if it is not necessarily what you like doing.
Let’s talk about each area of a business:
1. Focus on Sales when you are at the beginning with your business, or when you launch a new product or open a new location. ‘Sales’ is split into two parts:
(i) selling your product or service;
(ii) selling your idea.
Selling your idea to current employees, potential employees, partners, suppliers, banks and any other person that is necessary to run the business smoothly is equally important as selling your product. You cannot create a business on your own. To achieve your objectives, you need people around you. And those people don’t join just because you think they should. It is tempting to believe they see and understand as you do, but they don’t. You have to give them reasons to opt in, just as you give reasons to your customers to buy your product.
During this stage, you have only a Scope. You know where you want to get to, but it is still vague. You need the market reaction and partners’ feedback in order to ensure you have the right product, the right offering, both for your customers and for your partners
2. Focus on resourceS once your product or service sells by itself; in other words, when customers buy your product or service without you having to convince each of them individually. By ‘resourceS’ I mean everything that enables you to deliver to your customer. That is your overall infrastructure: production facility, office space, logistics, as well as your employees and money to buy raw materials and invest in further growth. No point selling if you can’t deliver, right?
When you have gotten to this phase, you have a Strategy in place. Now that you know what and how you sell, and for how much, you can create specific objectives and a clear path to achieving them.
3. Focus on Systems when you are confident that you have a product that sells and that you can deliver and satisfy your customer. By ‘Systems’, I mean organizational charts, job descriptions, processes, procedures, policies, IT system, and potentially CRM/ERP. In the phase you consolidate what you have; you organize things internally and clean up your mess. By this stage, you and your staff have tried various ways of producing and delivering value and you now know who does what in your company, and how. It is therefore time to document everything that is happening in your company, to put order in place. This helps you and your current employees to better understand how things are being done in your company and to become more efficient. Having these Systems in place also makes for an easier and more efficient process when you bring new people into your organization. You have ‘machinery’ that works, effectively and efficiently.
What you care about now is becoming a Superstar company. By ‘Superstar’, I mean being the best in your niche. If you think of your industry as a pyramid, there is only one company on top, a few on the second layer, then the third, and so on… until the bottom, where you find plenty of companies. Your objective is to get as close as possible to the top. Why? Because if anything destructive happens in the economy or in your industry, or if anything happens that can adversely affect your business, you hardly feel it if you are on top. The crisis resulted in so many companies going bankrupt or being close to bankrupt – this is because they were at the bottom of the pyramid in their niche. If a tsunami comes, or the state does construction on the road in front of your shop or office, you need to be in such a strong position that your business does not suffer. This is being a Superstar Company.
After Systems are in place, you need to focus on Innovation if you want to take your company to the next level, in which case you go back to Sales in another growth cycle. Alternatively, you retire or sell your company. Or you leave it as is and continue to manage ‘in the business’, which will eventually go downhill.