Every successful business large or small must be built on a solid foundation to survive and thrive. Every foundation requires established pillars to sustain the weight and pressures it must support.
Whether a mature business is in need of major improvements or an aspiring youth is looking to start or grow a small business, pillars of business must be installed to create sustainable, long-term success
1. People: People are perhaps the most important one (if they didn’t carry equal weight). The ownership must make it a priority to ensure customers are happy and employees are motivate and empowered. With most businesses, if the customer is not satisfied and happy with the product or service not only will she not be a return customer, but she will not recommend the company to other potential customers.
The single best way and biggest compliment to a business is when an existing customer enthusiastically recommends a product or service to her family, friends, and colleagues. These types of referrals should be a key indicator of any company to measure and should be captured with every contact the business makes.
The other component of the people pillar is to create motivated and empowered employees. In most businesses employees are the front line to creating a quality product or providing a service, both of which will be consumed by the customer.
Because of this critical link, employees must have a genuine belief in the product or service offered and really understand the essence of both what the customer wants and what the mission of the company is.
2. Planning: “Failing to plan is planning to fail,” truer words have never been spoken. Strategic planning is typically done at the higher level of the organisation, but should never be done in silo. Strategic planning is where the management team takes a long-term look at the goals of the company and what needs to be executed and measured at the macro level.
Some of the items planned here are what the company’s brand will be, what does the competitor landscape look like and how should it be combated, how will market share be attained, identifying core client targets, etc. Each of these strategic initiatives should constantly be monitored, analysed, and aligned to the mission of the company.
The operational plan should be executed and measured at the micro level, but unequivocally aligned with the strategic plan.
3. Process: Formal processes should be developed at every level of the organisation so employees and management can fully understand what happens at every phase of the business cycle. These process maps are a great way to train new employees, provide structure and empowerment to all employees, and clearly mark the areas of measure throughout the cycle.
The process pillar should provide a multilevel depiction of who, what, when, where, why, and how of the organisation carries its function. A properly designed process flow should allow for traceability from the lowest level activity up through to the highest, most visible strategic level.
4. Performance: Monitoring performance requires significant discipline and should not become a burden or log jam of the daily process flow. However, it is critical to capture aligned data and the simplest method should be used to do so. In addition, accountability of all employees is necessary to ensure timely and accurate results, if you aren’t measuring, you aren’t managing.
Organisations can have the best, most clearly communicated plans in the world, if results aren’t being measured there is no way to tell where gaps exist, what is meeting or exceeding goals, what needs improvement, who should proactively receive a promotion or why customers aren’t satisfied. Once a company dedicates itself to developing key performance indicators and the data required to provide meaningful interpretation, the performance pillar is a company’s best friend.
5. Profit: Businesses exist to generate a profit, earning a profit is generating more revenue than a company has expenses. The key is to keep expenses as the most minimal amount while maximising the intake of revenue.
Following the mentioned pillars as intended will certainly provide a company with its best chance to earn a profit. Profit can even be considered one of the key performance indicators. However, generating and maximizing a profit requires great effort and discipline.
Having a pillar foundation does indeed require great commitment from leadership, especially from the CEO, President, or owner.