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Business Growth
Oct 1, 2014

Define Your Way of Doing Business

Sponsored Content provided by Dallas Romanowski - Managing Partner, Cornerstone Business Advisors

As I’ve discussed in earlier Insights articles, the Performance Culture System™ is about producing results by giving your team an idea worth working for and a clear understanding of what needs to be done. In other articles I’ve described how to develop an idea worth working for by firmly integrating the purpose of your business into your company culture. This article focuses on “How to Do It” in a meaningful way. 

Many people start a business based on expertise they have and a desire for more control over their careers. Michael Gerber describes this person as a Technician in his book eMyth. A fatal assumption made by most Technicians is that if they understand the technical work of a business, they also understand how to build and maintain a profitable company. Unfortunately this causes many businesses to fail or never reach their full potential. 

If you are a Technician, the process element of the Performance Culture System™ helps you overcome this common challenge by defining your way of doing business using the Value Chain approach. Your Value Chain describes your way of acquiring customers and delivering value through products or services. This approach has been very successful because it enables entrepreneurs to build a scalable business that can grow without the founder’s day-to-day operational involvement. One of Wilmington’s fastest growing companies, N2 Publishing, has mastered this principle by defining core processes that can be deployed in any city. While N2 Publishing was started in Wilmington, it now serves hundreds of cities with its neighborhood publications.

The first step to build your Value Chain begins by defining the key activities to acquire customers. For example, most businesses begin with Lead Generation and describe the most effective ways to generate qualified prospects. The businesses will then define their sales process to convert prospects into customers. 

The second step of the Value Chain is to define how the company will deliver on the promises made to its customers. The activities will include:

  1. How assets are resourced (for example, raw materials, billable employees, et cetera)
     
  2. How value is created from these assets
     
  3. How the end product or service is delivered to the customer.
     
  4. How customer service is delivered

Key activities will be very different from one company to another based on the industry served. For example, a manufacturing company will produce value much differently than a professional services firm. 

Each section of your value chain should also include Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Your KPIs are financial and operational metrics that measure your company’s performance. These metrics will help you identify potential issues and challenges before real problems arise. Leaders also make better decisions in the long run by using data versus hunches. KPIs are often referred to as a Scorecard or Executive Dashboard (We will discuss this in more detail in our next article). 

After you have finished defining your Value Chain, it’s helpful to summarize into a simple graphic that everyone can comprehend. 

Exhibit A: Value Chain Info Graphic for a Professional Services Firm.



This chart gives you the information you need, in one place and in a format that’s visual, to help you make important management and resource decisions moving forward.  It’s also the first step to grow a business that relieves the owner from day-to-day operational activities and empower employees to take on more responsibility.
 
The Cornerstone team includes former C-Level executives, successful entrepreneurs and advisors who offer unmatched experience in delivering advanced, custom-tailored, results-oriented solutions for business leaders. Cornerstone has worked with hundreds of companies that range from fast-growth start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations. It developed the Performance Culture System™ to help clients implement best practices and drive high performance throughout their organization. For more information, visit www.launchgrowexit.com, call 910-681-1420, or email [email protected].

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