Whether we are ready to admit it or not; the way we do business today is different than it was 10, 5, even just 3 years ago.
- Buyers either seem to care about different things or care about things in a different degree.
- There are more competitors offering highly similar products and services.
- Consumers have an almost insatiable desire for information.
Rather than hopping from one fad to the next, merely chasing the latest ‘breakthrough technique’; there is a way to build both stability AND a flexibility for growth.
The construction industry offers a simple analogy in a foundation. For centuries, we have understood that digging into the solid earth or rock was the way to build bigger, taller, more massive structures that can stand the test of time.
To thrive and grow in today’s marketplace; businesses need to dig down below the surface until they find a stable, consistent, supportive foundation that will allow them to build higher than ever before.
The foundation for business should consist of purpose, vision, and culture.
The purpose of your business must be simple and compelling. Not just to customers, but also to employees, partners, and strategic vendors. Today’s consumers respond less to manipulations and gimmicks like “New and Improved”. They want to know what your company represents, what you deliver, and how your company or products will improve their lives.
Your purpose does not, however, have anything to do with your customers or competitors (how you serve, innovate products, or otherwise out-perform). It must be substantial enough to stand on its own.
Once refined; your purpose will connect deeply with people on an emotional level and will literally become a beacon that attracts passionate customers, top talent, and even enthusiastic funding sources to your organization.
The vision of your company is not just a plaque on the wall (no one reads it anyway). It is a clear and inspiring description of a specific point in the future that your company is headed – a beautiful destination or bold accomplishment.
This vision is to be shared openly and often so that everyone associated with the organization knows exactly where it is heading, if it is on-track, and how to help us get there. While the purpose is a beacon that attracts; vision is a specific direction to which all the attracted energies will be directed.
Culture is about aligning internal communications, systems, leadership, etc. to support the claims we make in the marketplace. There is a plethora of review sites where employees, former employees, and consumers can publically rate a company and share their insights/experiences about how consistent a company is.
No longer can companies rely on slick sales materials or catchy campaign slogans to persuade consumers to buy. Potential customers and employees alike consider these highly valuable; putting incredible pressures on company culture. Consumers want products that actually make their lives easier. Employees want trustworthy partners that truly respect and appreciate their talents.
How stable is your business foundation? Will it crumble or shift under the weight of your future growth?