Understand your business as a brand
Do you think of your business as a ‘brand’? Maybe you think it’s not the right term for a serious business which is going places.
However, there’s a lot to be said for leadership which develops its own ‘brand.’ It sets your business apart from the competition and gives it a particular personality, independent of its founder. It may help create an asset to sell one day, empower others and help them grow, and give you the pride and satisfaction of having created an entity with a life all its own.
Do you believe your business has its own particular kind of culture? Is there a certain way of doing things – or not doing them – that you believe is particular to your operation? If so, you already have the makings of a brand in development.
How we do things round here
The chances are that ‘the way we do things round here’ wasn’t actually designed. That’s how businesses develop. They start up, and it’s all hands to the pump. The drive is to get business at all costs and to survive.
This encourages certain kinds of behaviour: people work long hours, everybody pitches in and working practices just evolve. There’s no time for considered conversations about what to do and how to do it, or for streamlining and improving processes. Then there comes a point in the life of your business when you are employing more people than at any time in its growth so far. You are past the ‘all-hands-to-the-pump’ start-up stage. Suddenly your business has a ‘life of its own’, and can’t be managed by you trying to ‘hold all the strings’.
Your company’s culture
At this point, if you’re looking to develop your business into a truly streamlined unit – a ‘proper company’, professionally led and managed, you are faced with a set of decisions which will determine its future style and culture. You need to focus on:
- Clarifying people’s roles – so you don’t all try to do everything, and, conversely, things don’t ‘fall through the gaps’.
- Agreeing explicit values and other behavioural standards – so the business develops a clear personality, or brand, that reflects how you want it to project itself, and the right people feel safe and comfortable working there.
- Sorting out the processes – how work gets done, so that cost is reduced, time is not wasted, and people don’t get frustrated and stressed.
Engage, negotiate, agree
Don’t burn the midnight oil and redesign the way things work all by yourself! Engage the team in clarifying their roles – with each other, in a facilitated event. That way they learn on the job to negotiate solutions, agree behavioural norms and redesign processes that evolved to meet the needs of a much ‘younger’ business.
This way, as your business grows, you end up with a way of doing things – ‘just the way we do things round here’ – that you designed and that didn’t just happen by chance.
Call us on 01865 881056 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to discuss your business as a ‘brand’.