When you want to use this model:
Whatever it is you need to review or change, it is always good to look at your business as whole. At the end, when thinking about making changes, you want to stay true to your company, you want your changes to be anchored throughout your organization and you want them to stick!
There are multiple ways of looking at the business aspects, the web is full of definitions and models. I like to work with simple guidelines, and I am strong believer of understanding your business, covering all aspects of it, by asking a few key questions. This model has helped me more then once when I got pulled into the details, in times I got lost in complex business issues, I even used it as a “sanity check” when defining new opportunities or designing new improvements.
When you go through all of those 4 questions and your business aspects are defined, no area of your business will be missing.
How to use this model when looking at your business
These questions will support you in identifying gaps or weak spots in your business. The questions you ask are:
How to use this model when making changes / initiating projects
In short - it helps you to identify all aspects that will be affected by new change. The questions you ask are:
Naturally not all business aspects will be applicable to all of your projects, but it is always a good habit to go through all of them as a checklist, it will spare you a few unpleasant surprises later.
Now you know how to use this model, so let me share a few details about what is behind these business aspects.
WHY? Value, Vision & Purpose
Knowing Why your business exists, what is the sole purpose of its existence and what it stands for is the crucial part that connects all the other business aspects and drives decisions you and your team will make related to them.
Equaly important is knowing what your business is not willing to do, what your business will not do.
If we look at improvements and changes, it is important to know WHY you want to make this change, and make sure it is aligned with Value, Vision and Purpose of your company.
WHAT? Product & Geography
Your business already has a product or service defined, your comany is established and you know where your customers are. We all know that products, services and geographic locations of your customers and sometimes your production is subject to change, it is not written in stone.
If your company is the same as most on the market, you probably want to grow. But whether you are adding new products or you are redefining your product and/or market, it is important to keep your WHY in check. Once you define your new product, service or geographical location of your company or customers, please do not forget to review the impact on Who and How. More likely than not, you will need to make some adjustments there.
WHO? Team & Partners
Team Who is doing what, who is responsible for what. Creating an organizational chart is vital even if you have outsourced part(-s) of your operations, or if you have part timers or interns.
When placing and working with employees, it is always a good idea to emphasize their talents and passions. Forget coaching weaknesses, focus on leveraging their strengths, you will get better results with so much less effort!
When setting expectations and accountability, do not forget to check and align those with your WHY!
Partners Who are your partners and who in your company is engaging with them? You want to have an united approach and message to your sponsors, investors, vendors, customers..
HOW? Business Model, Processes, Systems & Conversations
Business Model How is your business set up to generate revenue and be profitable? And how “future-proof” your business is by assessing the risk management area. Not the most popular topic, but we all know these are important.
Processes Getting this aspect lean, mean and clean will provide you with extra revenue and you can start small. Think about the future, do not over complicate your processes, keep them simple and easy to adjust when needed.
It is good practice to document your processes, it avoids miscommunication and saves time onboarding people, nobody likes to repeatadly train their team from scratch every time a new person is hired.
Do not forget to keep WHO and HOW connected for this business aspect. If you have an employee, more likely than not he/she is executing part of your processes, your team needs to know how to efficiently operate your business.
Systems For every process there is technology to help you automate it. It has been measured that over 70% of the time and resources in an organization without automation is spent planning and defining business processes.
Again, try to keep it simple, identify areas of your business that would benefit from automation, keep contact with your customer the way you set your business up.
Some areas good for automation are: incoming calls & messaging, customer relationship management (CRM), marketing, social media
Conversations What is your voice, what is your style? Is it aligned with your business value and vision?
All of those are important when having conversations with your customer, vendors, partners, employees.
Are you curious about how your business can benefit from this approach?
Do you need some help identifying gaps in your company?
Do you need a help planning your next improvement program?