COMMON BUsiness CHallenges
Business DNA Problem
Lack of employee drive
People love to be on a winning team that’s well organized and where they feel a part of things. We all want to belong and feel heard which is why we appreciate when we’re kept informed, when we’re asked our opinion, when we know the overall goal and gameplan and when we’re kept informed of progress. It’s easy to do and it pays big time.
Employee recognition helps a lot too. Catch people doing things right, big and small, and tell them – frequently. When we are praised for good behavior we naturally feel good and we strive to continue that behavior. So find the good, reward it with a kind word and watch the smiles grow and the good behaviors increase.
The solution to handling tough price competition is much like what’s needed to get out of a tough competitive market. It’s all about strategy. Some businesses experience a lot of price pressure; especially commodity businesses where there is little opportunity to differentiate. But in most industries, companies are able to carve out a niche where they stand apart and can become a preferred supplier to their smaller audience and earn good margins.
Most customers are buying value and they understand that different vendors have different value propositions whether it be in the actual product/service or speed of delivery or innovation or ease of doing business, etc.
When the value your company provides to your niche market exceeds the value of your competitors, your clients and customers will gladly stick with you even if you charge more – because their return on investment (price paid) is higher.
If you’re familiar with Blue Ocean Strategy you know the metaphor of swimming in bloody waters where the competitive battle is intense versus swimming out in the blue waters where there is no competition. A good strategy gets you out into the blue, or mostly blue, waters.
It usually requires that you narrow your market to a niche where your company offers something different and/or better than the competition. For example, if your company is (or can be) especially good at providing small customized batches of your product then find all the customers for whom small customer batches are important and make that your niche. Being different and/or better is the way to go. Find your niche and dig in.
Business DNA Problem
Three of the biggest contributors to chronic unproductive behaviors are 1) lack of established and enforced values, aka code of conduct, 2) lack of defined job duties and processes and 3) weak players..
A company has a culture one way or the other whether it’s designed and deliberate or it just happens. A lot of unproductive behaviors fall by the wayside when you define acceptable and unacceptable behaviors in a Values Statement, and then enforce those behaviors.
Many times we bring out the worst in our employees when we don’t have defined job roles and processes. This leads to overlapping responsibilities, missed handoffs and people stepping on toes. To get a grip on these deficiencies ask the following when someone “misbehaves”: How is role definition and/or lack of defined processes contributing to the problem?” Start there.
And of course it’s frustrating to be working with people who are sub par, people who are not trained properly, people who are in the wrong jobs and therefore underperforming. Train and upgrade your team to A players and leave behavioral problems behind.
The Big Six Cure
Define your business DNA
Create an exciting Vision of the future that describes what your company will look like and have accomplished in 3 to 5 years. Clarify your company’s compelling Mission or purpose (or “why”).
Be clear about how it makes the world a better place. Define your company Values or culture; what’s important to you in regard to how people think and behave. And by all means, come up with a winning Strategy, that explains exactly how you compete and win in your chosen market segment.(s). And then ingrain all of the above in each and every employee with consistent Communication.