We are working with a first generation entrepreneur who is attempting to professionalize his firm. Our focus is to help the team define a real and true Business Vision that will help them double sales in the next 5 years. A vision that will lead to an impactful brand strategy, innovative offerings and an energized sales team.
During the process of discovery, we found a lot of positives. The firm was seen to be a trusted vendor by key customers with an enviable reputation of reliability, capable people and value for money. In order to capitalize on existing goodwill and grow aggressively in the future, the promoter wanted a powerful business vision created by the team and hence owned by them.
Unfortunately this is where we hit a stumbling block. The senior management team are a group of people who have grown with the firm – hard working, technically strong, loyal and with strong family ties. Unfortunately they also had some limitations.
Most of the senior managers were focused on the ‘simple and urgent’ (sales for this month) rather that the ‘complex and important’ (brand pillars we need to strengthen in order to double sales). Getting them to think about the future in a constructive manner was tough. while a few of them were able to articulate their point of view, several had none and a couple dismissed the entire exercise as ‘English’. It took a lot of effort and active involvement from the promoter and our team to ultimately carve out a business vision. By the end of the exercise, we were very impressed by our client, his willingness to carry his team along and helping them feel included in key decisions.
It also got me thinking about the role of business strategy in today’s rapidly growing small and medium enterprise sector. As a line manager – who has run verticals in the past, I understand looking at the ‘Bigger Picture’ is difficult. Specially when one is grappling with tough deadlines and tougher bosses. But it’s this institutionalized characteristic, that has helped firms like Unilever remain on the top for decades. Am sure it all started when a business leader was trying the look at the future and make sense of the longer term.
Defining the Business Vision is an essential part of building a strong brand – irrespective of whether the firm is a MNC giant, a family run business or a fledgling start-up. It acts as a rallying call, a motivational statement and something to keep the team going when business is tough.
Today the SME business environment is changing. We see entrepreneurs looking at the bigger picture, instilling a professional culture, hiring experts and attempting to grow in a structured manner. They are willing to take risks, focus on the customer’s needs, commit to quality and invest in a brand for the future. Defining their business vision is a small but integral part of their journey from good to great.
I am excited about the future.
Tell me what you think.