Nimble, newer businesses have been thriving across the globe by thinking differently, always innovating and bringing the best customer experience possible. Yet, many businesses constantly struggle to juggle management, sales, marketing, customer service, distribution, and finance.
Along the path to success, businesses are swiftly approaching a cliff they don't anticipate. A growing number of businesses have stopped growing. They were left behind as their landscape transformed and their niche was replaced or reinvented. As the risk takers made a leap ahead, those businesses lost once loyal customers.
The solution is a 360-degree operating blueprint that connects the dots between creating a new concept to growing a sustainable business.
Most businesses are born from curiosity, or even frustration, that fosters continuous innovation.
A successful business is always seeking a better way to do something new, or improve upon something that's essential but could become obsolete. It's that kind of thinking that compelled a blacksmith in Illinois to create a smooth-sided steel plow to replace the wooden and iron ones that were getting stuck and dirty in the rich Midwestern sod. John Deere's 1836 innovation boosted migration into the American Great Plains in the 19th and early 20th century, transforming the region into America's breadbasket and setting the foundation for what has become the world's leading manufacturer of agricultural machinery.
Today's farmers, who still rely on Deere equipment, can communicate across the plains with Beck Ag, a virtual company of employees and contractors working out of their homes. Its Facebook-like network allows American and Canadian farmers to share ideas on reducing production costs, increasing profits, and improving marketing. Beck Ag also connects large agribusiness suppliers and vendors with farmers to alert them to the latest research, news and products, and to exchange opinions on those products.
Create a 360-degree blueprint for building a business.
An examination of a business ecosystem requires an interconnected 360-degree operating blueprint. It requires an end to short-term reactive thinking. In today's increasingly unpredictable business climate, there are a number of operating challenges that must be addressed repeatedly. Some of the most critical are:
- Accurately evaluating growth potential
- Developing sustainable processes to reach or exceed revenue growth goals
- Implementing strategies for building sustainable brand recognition, in concert with building brilliant management teams
- Demonstrating progressive, provable, repeatable results that will sustain a business today and tomorrow.
An operating blueprint provides two strategic enablers:
- 360˚ Enterprise Models: the ability to visualize the end-to-end business goals and execution strategies before beginning costly and often irreversible strategy implementations. Whether for process, organization, or technology, these models create the opportunity to ask "what-if" questions and test scenarios that help vet problems and issues early on.
- Impact Analyses and Scenarios: with which to alter factors, create multiple output scenarios, evaluate the end-to-end impact of each scenario, and arrive at the optimal solution.
An operating blueprint allows an organization to work together based on converged intelligence of market opportunities, execution capabilities, and business model differentiations.
No contractor would build a house without blueprints, and the business management operational structure and processes are no different. The old 20th-century methods of guesstimation must be replaced with precise metrics and provable outcomes.
These operating blueprints should include the following set of ongoing analyses:
- Business models and market positioning
- Growth strategy and execution capabilities
- Governance and organizational models
- Process and technology
- Investment allocations
- Business dependencies and scenarios
- Capabilities needed to innovate, change, and efficiently operate against a set of financial indices
Properly implemented, operating blueprints allow businesses to prioritize and guide improved performance, value, and sustainable growth. Clearly, new ideas, strategies, and management tools are essential as the business climate changes. In today's volatile market, the success for an enterprise is often driven by its ability to recognize significant challenges and immediately identify the strategic imperatives necessary to address them.
While nothing new, accomplishing such goals in today's global climate requires new organizational structures, creating and sharing new kinds of business knowledge, understanding and applying emerging socio-economic models, and developing repeatable, reusable transformational processes.
The operating blueprints provide the basis for a predictive, sustainable business plan for managing challenges and opportunities for growth and success in the future.
Faisal Hoque is Founder, Chairman, and CEO at BTM Corporation and founder of research think-tank BTM Institute. His newest book is The Power of Convergence. © 2012 Faisal Hoque. Follow him on twitter @faisal_hoque.
[Image: Flickr user Kevin Dooley]