When you own a business, you likely have a good idea of what makes it great. It is a culmination of your own ingenuity, innovation and determination, and it provides a unique product or service that improves the lives of customers. But in order to take your company to the next level of success, you will have to dive further into the advanced concepts that help a company grow.
This guide is designed to go into those advanced elements of marketing and business development in order to help entrepreneurs understand the next level. You may already have an in-depth understanding of your specific product, service and industry, but this is only the first step to successful management. You have to put structures in place that will put your company in the best position to succeed.
What Makes Your Company Great
You should never get so caught up in the technical aspects of management that you forget the basic elements that make your company a great. In order to fully grasp the needs of any growing business, you must consider the life-cycle of a business, as it begins in the embryonic state of an idea all the way to full maturity. Early on, thinking of your company as your growing baby is a good perspective to maintain throughout the life of the company.
Another idea is to think of it like a tree. You plant the first seeds of innovation and water it with determination and strategic development. As it grows, you must continue to nurture and care for it, fertilizing and nurturing it with further ideas of improvement and growth.
But if either of these metaphors are difficult to maintain, just remember the people involved in your company. They will always be the most important aspect of any company, and everything you do should be with them in mind. This includes your employees, partners, investors, clients and customers, and without any of them, your business would not exist as it does. The people who invest their time, money and belief in your company will always be what makes your business great.
With all of that being said, you need to develop the structure of your company from a technical and relatively impersonal viewpoint. This is the one element of business that you must create with the idea of simple development and structural integrity, and it should not be influenced by anything other than the ideas that will help maintain the structure.
Your management structure is essentially a set of standards and strategies that define your company. It includes your values and goals, but it is more the techniques to reach those goals and maintain those values. Basically, these are the ideas that will make up your employee handbook. This structure is based on concrete concepts and definitive guidelines, and it is primarily results-oriented. All of this should align with your basic business goals, and it should always be geared at improving the company.
If you run a law firm or your own independent practice, your business structures would include elements of client outreach, staffing requirements and other systems that are put in place to support you and other attorneys in the firm. If you own a restaurant, these structures would include the basic elements that define how the business runs, menu developmental procedures and anything that would go in an employee handbook.
While your management structure is geared at the technical, impersonal elements of the business structure, it must be combined with an essential people structure in order to be successful. This is the part of the structure that takes into account the personal aspect of your company, and it is based on the happiness of your employees and the satisfaction of your customers.
Customer satisfaction should always be one of the top three concerns of your business at all times. Your products, sales, marketing and every other part of the company should be designed to make your customers happy and ensure that they get the service and products that they expect. Customer satisfaction begins at the very first contact and it should last well after the sale is made.
While all companies put a premium on the satisfaction of their customers, employee satisfaction can be an element that is easier to forget. However, you should never overlook the importance of maintaining a pleasant, motivating and rewarding environment for your employees. They should not think of the business as just a paycheck; they should be heavily involved in the growth of your company and be excited to participate.
Going back to the example of a law firm, the people structures would include every attorney on staff, paralegals, client outreach teams, reception and any other departments. But it also involves how these employees and departments work together. You could have certain groups focusing on health care fraud information gathering, others that work specifically on personal injury litigation, another that deals in digital marketing and outreach, and procedures for how these departments combine to form a fully-functioning whole.
Also, a few suggestions for basic structures to create productive, positive employee environments include:
- Performance incentive programs
- Employee of the month awards
- Contests and competitions for performance
- Bonuses for enthusiastic participation and ideas
- Special promotions for interdepartmental cooperation