My normal response is, “Let’s get back to that.”
There are a lot of great people that can help small to medium businesses with a lot of good tools - Facebook, Twitter, e-mail newsletters, mass media, YouTube…and now, there’s more tools than ever. And even better, the ability to have some measurement of what current and potential customers look at, open, click, etc. is a lot clearer direction than the days of “advertising is 50% effective, you just don’t know which 50%.”
But how do you know which tool to use? How do you know if you need a hammer or a wrench? You can’t do much building if you don’t first have a solid foundation.
There are four elements that are a great foundation for growth:
- Know “who” your business is
- Describe your target customer well
- Ensure the pictures match the words
- Define a simply understood strategy
I’ll write about these in the months ahead, but if you’d like, you can visit http://www.upstairsconsulting.com/#!blog/c154h to see the additions to this list posted in the weeks ahead (and / or subscribe to the monthly e-mail).
Know “Who” Your Business Is
As the owner of a small to medium sized business, who you are is a big part of “who” the business is. What you hold dear is probably what the organization will also highly value - whether it’s stated or not. Those you hire will likely have similar values – at least at first.
How well do others know you and what you value? And if these are the values you want to continue on and cascade throughout the growing organization, you need to display them - in words, actions, and pictures. Otherwise, how will others know? How will they reflect the decisions that are made up against them?
There are some great resources to help you sort through the “who” of your business. At my last company, since facilitation was a skill I’d developed over the years, we facilitated the sessions internally. Jim Collins, from Good to Great fame, has some great free resources on his website (http://www.jimcollins.com/tools.html) and Patrick Lencioni has several free resources as well as more in depth kits that are based on his “Five Dysfunctions of a Team” book (http://www.tablegroup.com/teamwork).
If effective facilitation is not a skill you would say is one that is well developed in you or someone on your leadership team, then bringing in someone from the outside probably makes the most sense. It either case, it will probably take a half-day or so to resolve “who” the business is, depending on how close the team is and how large the organization has become. If you can carve out a day or two, you can go a lot deeper in the the team dynamics you’d like to see as a result of “who” you are as a company.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.