- Sermons & Media
- Sermons & Media
Every month at BocaLead, we talk about one of three main areas – leading yourself, leading a team, or leading a larger organization. In this BocaLead session, we’re doing something a little different. We’ll be taking a 10,000 foot view of some of the basic principles we should all follow to be successful in our businesses and nonprofit organizations, no matter our industry.
There are three sides to any business or organization: external, fiscal, and human, as seen in the triangle graph below. On the bottom is the external, which represents the public-facing foundation of your business: what you do, and who you do it for. The top two sides – the fiscal and human – represent the internal workings of your company. Let’s dive into what each of these means, and the questions to ask yourself to make sure your organization is healthy and ready for the future.
The external side of your organization includes your market, customers and clients, competitors, and substitutes. As you look at these areas of your business, consider the questions we’ve included underneath each one, answer them thoughtfully, and talk them over with your team.
What market(s) are you in now? Are you in the right market(s) for your business? Should you enter some and/or exit others? What are the forces shaping your market? Which of your markets are you growing, and which are stagnating?
Who are they? Why do they come to you and not someone else? Who are the potential customers you haven’t yet reached? Are there any problems and if so, what are they?
Who are your direct competitors? How are their products and services in comparison to yours? In what ways are you better, worse, ahead, or behind them? What kind of relationship do you have with them?
Who are your indirect competitors, in other words, the alternatives potential clients or customers can choose instead of choosing you, or one of your direct competitors? (Example: When someone chooses a DIY method over hiring you or someone to do it for them). Do substitutes threaten your business? Are there any opportunities to expand or acquire any of these substitutes?
What are the technological game changers in your industry (like automation vs. manual labor)? How is your industry changing? Are the buying habits of your customers changing? Will your business or industry survive disruption and change? Are you losing customers or valued employees to these disruptions?
Each of these questions may seem basic, but it’s often the basic, foundational questions that can determine who you are as a company, and where you’re going. By looking at the current state of your market and where it’s headed, you can see how you may need to change as a business. By identifying WHY your customers and clients come to you, you will understand how to serve them better and keep them coming back for more. By knowing and having a good relationship with your competitors, you can recognize what they’re doing better than you, and use that information to improve your own business. You can also help each other out by sending each other clients that need the specific service you provide that may be different than the others. And by knowing potential substitutes and disruptors, you can get a glance into the future, helping you see areas you may need to expand or completely change in order to stay relevant for years to come.
Now that we’ve gone over the external side of business, let’s take a look at the internal, starting with your company’s fiscal condition, and the questions you should ask yourself to ensure your company is financially strong.
What finances and capital are necessary to running your business? Do you have the ability to acquire more capital? What financial guardrails have you set up to protect your business?
What type of budget(s) do you have? Where are your funds allocated? What is your cost of doing business? Are there any opportunities to save? What does your accounts payable department/service look like?
What product(s) or service(s) do your produce? Are you competitive in your industry? Are your products/services up to date? Are there any changes needed to stay relevant? What is the quality of your products/services?
What responsibilities do you and your employees and team members have? Where are you strongest organizationally? Do you have any additional building space needs? Do you need any equipment upgrades? Are any of your team members/employees working from home? Are you performing essential activities using obsolete methods?
What is your response time to customers and vendors? Are you competitive in relation to new or changing expectations from customers and clients?
Fiscal responsibility is crucial to the health of every business and organization. Can you pay your bills (including payroll) on time? Do you have any debts? It’s in answering these questions that you begin to see the true state of your company and its potential for longevity. If you’re in the red more than you are in the black, analyzing each of these areas – capital, costs, systems, processes and speed – will help you see ways in which you can diversify to bring in more streams of revenue, cut costs, and work more efficiently by getting rid of unnecessary expenditures as well as increasing your ability to produce (products and/or services).
Although a company cannot run without having a deep understanding of its external and fiscal workings, here at BocaLead, we believe the human assets of your company – your leaders, team members, and employees – are your company’s most crucial pieces for success. As you consider the questions below, use them to identify ways in which you can improve your team, the way team members relate to one another, and how to move forward together, better. We’ve covered some of these concepts in previous BocaLead sessions, but have included the essential points below. If you’d like to learn more about the concepts below, click here for the BocaLead TakeAway on Heart, Smarts, Spine, Soul Part 1.
Is character consistent throughout the organization (and are you as a leader modeling it well)? Do your customers and investors trust you? Do your employees, team members, and vendors trust you? Is there individual and organizational character, competence, and vision?
Do your team members take time for preparation and reflection? Do you and your team have the ability to see where you need to head and take people with you? Does your team have the technical abilities needed for the job?
Do you have a capable, experienced, team in which members have synergy with one another? Are the right people in your organization? Are they, as author Jim Collins says, in “the right seats on the bus?” Do you and your team have discernment, understanding, and confidence?
Is your work culture:
Is there mutual respect and purpose? Is your team growing and creative, and does it deal well with conflict?
Do your workers see the work as repetitive, purposeless, and draining? Do they regularly ask, “Why do we do what we do?” Do you have a team that avoids conflict?
Do team members have a cut-throat attitude, low morale, no appreciation, and show no growth? When conflict occurs, is it destructive?
As we wrap up this BocaLead session, we want you to ask yourself one question: What is your company’s story? In other words, what is your reputation? Are others telling your story, and what are they saying? A good indicator of your reputation is your level of repeat business. We at BocaLead believe you can stand up and shout about your company and what you do all day long, but when others go out and shout about it to their friends, family, and neighbors, that’s when your business grows.
We are entering a world where it’s necessary for us to understand that we don’t know what we don’t know. To not only survive, but thrive in our businesses and organizations, we must gather people around us who are smarter and more capable than us and work together with them to grow and move forward cautiously, carefully, and wisely. We hope that by learning and understanding the “10,000 foot view” of what it takes to succeed strategically in your businesses and organizations, you will be able to move your company forward in meaningful impactful ways for the long term, not only for your employees, but for the community around you.
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