Building a lasting, purposeful, profitable business requires 'grit' and planning, vision, and execution. Business Resilience is your business growth security formulated in 3 phases, Conceptualization, Optimization, and Expansion.
In the Beginning....
You started your business with hope and excitement, and the expectation that 'when you build it, they will come.' Well reality sinks in and you see all of the hard work you put in to getting set up, you may get one or two clients, but not the overflow you were looking for. In a moment of revenue panic you start chasing after anything and everything. However this takes you down a confusing and exhausting path away from initial goal(s). These actions also create brand confusion and people won't understand what you do.
Does this sound like you?
- You chase after 'any' kind of work or client to bring in revenue.
- You've purchasedfancy marketing materials.
- You put your ads in the local paper.
- You joined networking groups, and
- You even set up your social media account(s) (but haven't really had time to do anything with them because you are busy taking care of the few customers you have.)
- You are frustrated with all of the busy-work and not seeing a return.
If any of this sounds like you. You are not alone. You don't have to hit your head against the wall trying to figure it all out. Let me help you lighten your load, and build a purposeful, profitable business.
So what do you do? You slow down, take a pause and begin to build your Resilient Business. What is Business Resilience you ask? It's the 'Grow Your Business To Last' Solution. Check out my previous Blog Post about the "bounce back solution".
The 'Grow Your Business To Last' Solution
What are the things you can do to make your business resilient? Well there are 3 steps I bring to you Conceptualize, Optimize, and Expand. In this post I will talk about the first step in building a resilient business. What does it entail? First assess your current state, determine your future state, and what will be needed to get there. Really narrow down who your ideal client and your ideal solution/service, and solidify your brand messaging.
Conceptualization is accomplished in 4 steps.
First you need to figure out where you are truly and what you have (skills, secret sauce, unique talents.) Click Here to download a free Resilience Starter Guidebook that will take you through the process of narrowing down you niche', your target audience, and other valuable building blocks for a resilient business.
2. Create Your Vision Plan
This is your "Big Picture Plan" for your business. (Click Here to Download a Printable Vision Plan)
A. Decide what your 'why'. Your purpose for going into business, even if you already have a business started. Narrowing down your 'Why' and then who would benefit the most from your unique offering. * Here is a quick tipto save you time and add value to what you do. Use the Starter Guidebook as a guide to measure quickly which potential customers to focus on. At the top of the Customer Pyramid are the 'Blue' customers, these are the people who completely get your business and are willing to pay. You will get a better return on your investment if you focus on marketing and catering services to meet their needs and address pain points.
B. Decide which of your unique services or solutions you want to focus on and that you love to do. This is where you shape what your business goals and what you ultimately want to do day-in and day out. Choose wisely, it is hard enough to run a business you love, but if you continue doing things you do not enjoy it will not last. You will hit a block, that is why this part of the process is critical for the future success of your business.
3. Build Your Business Blueprint
- This is where you start putting teeth into your Vision Plan by creating all of the elements to make your vision a concrete reality. Your Business Model. Business Models are a great tool for creating the road map for your resilience in a single, easily adjustable plan. You can configure the elements in any order, as long as they are all present. Business Models provide a practical reflection of where your business is and how it will set up to support the new vision.
The following list outlineseach of the elements of the business model.
Business Model Elements
Target Customer Segments - Who are your ideal customers? Who are you creating value for?
Value Configurations - How is your business set up to drive value (i.e. value chain - linear, value shop, value network)
Distribution Channels - How will you execute and get your product/ Solution out?
Cost Structure - What are the expenses to execute your business model?
Revenue Streams - What are the sources of revenue that will cover those expenses?
Customer Relationships - What type of relationships do you currently have with your customers? What relationships are expected and how can you improve them? Add in 'Customer Delights'
Partner Network - Who are the businesses that are needed for executing your service or solution? (Your business ecosystem)
Core Capabilities- What unique skills/components of your business that contribute to your value creation solution, and cannot be easily imitated by competitors?
Value Propositions - What irresistible offering you will provide for your customers?
Business models are meant to flow with your business and change or tweak based on the influences of the environment, industry, strategy change, etc.
4.Solidify Your Brand Identity and Messaging
Branding & Messaging - What are you known for and how can we tell it's you? That is the bottom line with branding and messaging. Messaging means you have a compelling story or solution that resonates with your target audience. Your brand identity solidifies that message and correlates images and colors (overall aesthetics) with your message. Think of Target and Apple and Nike. These are just a few examples of branding that has worked. Branding is more than just a logo, it is your image, your fonts, colors, symbols, photo finishing, etc. Once you have established how you want to be seen, you should solidify your marketing materials, online presence, etc. in a uniform way.
Key Points to Remember
- Understanding that fits with your new model includes understanding your colors and fonts and graphic filters and what they mean. Yes it all matters in marketing your business. Your logo, brand identity and purpose matter with what you want your business to represent. When I worked at Lockheed Martin (defense contractor) I remember wanting to create a quick presentation to use at a Government speaking event. I had to refer to the company's 60 page marketing manual on how to properly use their brand. It was very specific. If a multi-billion dollar corporation puts so much effort in its branding and marketing, how much more should you focus on these elements for the success and messaging of your business.
- Figure out which form you will use to spread your message, social media, books, speaking platforms, guest writers in published articles in your target customer's realm.
So What's Next?
Now that you have gone through the four elements of Conceptualization you have the building blocks for the first part of your resilient business and lasting growth. This simply scratches the surface. Once You have completed the first phase Conceptualization, you are ready to move to the Optimization phase. Optimization continues the fortification of your business with documenting your methods, ways you implement your business services, and your engagement planning. Stay tuned for the next installment of Building a Resilient Business in 3 Steps.