Today I’d like to talk about the three really important ingredients in your business development foundation and I want to suggest that in addition to having at least a solid understanding and a modicum of strength in each of these areas that also you make one of these a handmade keystone to your business development strategy. The recipe for your bricks’ mortar is:
As I said, I personally believe that you want to choose just one of these as something you do insanely well. Feel free to change your mind as you, or your team or your company evolve but do not lose sight of these OR try to be amazing at all three at once. Until you get really big, you can’t and if you get really big the way popular American corporations get really big, you can’t either. But that is a whole ‘nother conversation.
Let’s talk about each one of these ingredients for just a minute and then I challenge you to consider what you and your teams are currently best at if that’s how you want to keep it, and what you will do to become THE BEST EVER at doing it!
Innovation should not be confused with creativity, which is the expression of ideas. Innovation is taking these ideas and putting them into action, executing them. This is where you’ll want a large amount of your focus at the beginning of your business, which likely seems obvious. But, much like your grandfather who’s still trying to send a fax instead of an email, if your company does not always have a future-facing awareness, your company will lose relevance.
You always want to have allotted time, energy and resources devoted to innovation. Companies with strong entrepreneur types and pacesetting leaders, often excel with innovation at their forefront.
Keep in mind that innovation need not be in the production of what you do. It could be in the delivery of your product – look at Wal-Mart. It could be in the marketing of your product – look at BMW. It could be in your asset model – look at how McDonald’s grew into the franchise it is Real Estate acquisition) today. It could be in the technology you employ to track your data, making your response times to errors and breakdowns above anyone else in your industry. Remember to always lean into your strengths, your teams’ strengths, and consequently your company’s strengths when determining how to get things done.
The bottom line is that innovation is about being at the forefront of your industry in some way or another. If nothing else, keeping up with trends and technology.
This, of course, refers to the numbers. We are talking about the value of your innovation! But not just, “what percentage of people give you an 8/10 or above.” What does every single person who interacts with your company think of that experience? Who likes it? Who doesn’t like it? Which clients would you rather keep around is a great next question, but I get ahead of myself? What else do they like? What’s missing? Do you see how we could go on and on with this? You must constantly be looking for feedback from as many people who interact with you as possible. In fact, when you get really good at this you can become less good at R&D and innovation if you so choose. Your customers will tell you what’s new and exciting out in your marketplace.
The best and fastest (or potentially worst and slowest) way to gauge how your product is being received is by your customer response. Look to your positive responses for what you are doing right and keep doing it, do more of it in fact. Look to your negative responses to find out what you’re doing wrong and fix it. All information is good information. Personally, I find negative responses even more impactful. They offer the opportunity to learn even more about how to make a customer happy, truly happy.
Constantly seeking your clients’ input will enable you to keep growing and progressing with the needs of your customers and the business climate in your industry and neighboring industries, which can be supportive or, competitive. The company with strong data management, solid bean counters, an inclination toward structure and tidiness will do well to focus on this as a strategy for excellence in their industry.
Put some energy into the how on this one. When was the last time you said yes to a phone survey request? Filled out a census? Went online and completed a survey based on a request on a receipt? Not always easy getting you to talk, right? Do not be afraid to spend money, time and energy in this department. The information you receive is invaluable, literally priceless.
Once you’ve had a chance to find what is and isn’t working, you can narrow down your focus and efforts to those areas you have deemed important and worth focusing your high energy on. You can concentrate on making them amazing stand-out solutions. To place your focus here is to get the most out of the operational functionality of some or all of your teams. It could be in any department.
It’s about streamlining, systems, and team focus in action. Goal setting with gamification is especially advantageous in this area; helping your team to stay aware that the objective is to meet the needs of your customers in direct response to feedback. And affiliative or coach style leader often excels with orchestration as a keystone. Excelling here is about excelling with people. They will want to find some “manager” types for support. Or you could flip it!
So now I ask:
Which of these areas:
Are you and your teams currently best at?
Is that what you want to continue to keep as one of your keystone BD Strategies?
If not, what else?
Do you have at least stable footing in each of these areas? Are you at least proficient?
If not, what do you want to do about it?
What will you do to become THE BEST EVER at using the strategy you’ve chosen as your Keystone?
What is one thing you could do to be one step closer to becoming THE BEST EVER at using the strategy you’ve chosen?
Consider that after the production of your “widget”, gaining proficiency in each of these areas is your priority.
As usual, we can help.
In the next few lessons, we are going to take a look at some more specific areas you want to consider in your franchise prototype process. We’re going to break this down in the next article as I’m going to suggest something rather radical and I want to give it it’s own space to be considered.
Closing today with a great quote!
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they have been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact, it’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration, it’s a dare. Impossible is potential waiting to happen. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing but a word.” ~ Muhammad Ali
…and a song