We all know that most small businesses don't survive the first few years. Trouble is on the horizon if there is:
- Low market demand—you have too few customers, or they aren't buying
- Under capitalization—you lack money to do things right, and to grow
- Undifferentiated strategy—you don't stand out in a crowded marketplace
- Difficulty reaching target market—there is no easy, low-cost way to influence customers
- Superior competition—other companies offer a better deal (see below)
- Ineffective management—you don't have the right people or business culture
- Weak financial model—your gross margin or profit margin is inadequate
Assuming a business is not over-burdened by the above constraints, the most likely reason for lackluster performance—or even failure—is that the owner has not created effective business systems and processes that successfully carry out the mission, strategy, and goals of the organization.
"Engineer" Your Business Systems
The reality is this: Your primary purpose, Mr. or Ms. Business Owner, is not to sell, manufacture, or provide a service. Your true calling is to be an engineer—a business engineer—"one who plans, constructs, or shrewdly manages an enterprise" (Online Dictionary).
Much of your day should be spent designing, developing, overseeing, monitoring and evaluating all the systems and processes that make your organization run smoothly, create value, and generate a profit—the life blood of your business.
If you want to be an artisan, a sales person, or a technician, you should get a job. Building a business is a completely different matter! If you are not the business-engineer type, I hope you have a partner who is, or the budget to hire one.
Be the "Best Deal"
Customers are always looking for the best deal. They reward companies that serve them well and allow the others to fail. It is how customers feel about your business as a whole that matters most. Everything—including advertising, product selection, return merchandise policy, courtesy and knowledge of employees, location, price, delivery time, cleanliness, etc.—is what they are choosing. Your entire business is your product, and it must shine throughout. When it does, YOU become the best deal!
Creating effective business systems and processes will elevate your organization and keep customers coming back for more. Are you ready to start engineering your business into something remarkable? It's not difficult, but it is vital to your long-term success!