5 Key Strategies Small Businesses Can Learn From the Corporate World
Do you want to generate more revenue and manage your business like a pro? In this two-part series, Kim Pisolkar shares five simple yet powerful strategies that today’s small business owners can learn from the corporate world.
Strategy 1: Create Guiding Principles
Guiding principles or values outline the culture you want to create in your company. Even if it’s just you running your business, you must create guiding principles. Whether it’s only you or you have an entire team, developing guiding principles is how you’ll show up to achieve your strategic imperatives, which I’ll discuss next.
Your personal values will serve as the foundation as you develop guiding principles. These core values are usually timeless and unchanging. Not sure what your personal values are? Ask yourself who you are and what you stand for. If you have a team, involve them in this process as well.
You’ll use your core values again and again to assist in the decision making process. For instance, if one of your core values is to stand behind the quality of the products you sell, you should have policies and procedures in place for addressing products that do not meet quality expectations and for handling customer quality complaints effectively.
Integrate your guiding principles into everything you do. Zappos, a popular online retainer, is a great example of a real-world company that lives by their core values. Zappos created ten core values to clearly outline what the Zappos Family culture is about. You can see all of their core values by clicking here, but some of the most notable include: deliver WOW through service, embrace and drive change, and pursue growth and learning.
Strategy 2: Strategic Imperatives
Focusing on strategic imperatives is a corporate concept that can transform your small business by helping you stay aligned with your vision.
In the corporate world, successful corporations have a main focus. Strategic imperatives might also be called corporate strategies or business imperatives – these are essentially the objectivesthat the organization must achieve. They are staffed and financed, and everyone within the organization is measured against them.
I call strategic imperatives the “critical musts”. These are not merely goals or to-dos – they are the fundamental things that must exist in your business over the course of the year in order to bring you closer to your vision of success. In essence, all goals need to point to a critical must.
For instance, if you have ‘increased visibility’ as a critical must, your goals may include growing your email list to at least 5,000, blogging regularly, or maybe even doing some public speaking. Another example: You want to develop, document and delegate as appropriate, and create systems and infrastructure to make your business run more efficiently. Your goals might include creating standard operating procedures, a client onboarding process, and an interview process.
When I work with clients using my Big Breakthrough System, one of the key things we do is identify their critical musts for the year. This serves as a compass – for every to-do on the list, for every opportunity, and for everything else that comes up, we need to ask: “How is this aligned with my critical musts?” If something comes up that isn’t aligned with a “critical must”, then it’s either a “no for now” or an outright “no”.
This greatly simplifies decision-making and keeps you focused on your plans so that you can achieve your goals and be both profitable and sustainable.
Strategy 3: Strategic Allocation
Another fundamental concept from the corporate world, strategic allocation of resources will yield the best return on investment in alignment with your company’s strategic imperatives.
The resources allocated may be either financial resources or human resources. Perhaps it’s just you running your business. You may have a small team or just a couple of outsourced staff members that you delegate to. Are your time and money being allocated in a way that aligns with your ‘critical musts’ (i.e. your strategic imperatives)? What is the return on investment?
For instance, if you are spending three hours developing content for your blog, what’s the return on investment on your time? Is this the best use of your time? Would it make more sense to spend an hour talking into a microphone and paying someone to transcribe it? Think carefully about your business resources and how they are allocated.
My next article will share two more business strategies used in the corporate world that can be applied to businesses of any size to increase productivity and profits.
For more ideas, tips and tools to help you run your small business like a big business CEO, go to www.SmallBizBigBreakthrough.com.
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