5 paths to business maturity
This blog post was originally published May 8, 2018
No matter where you are on your business journey, your business is maturing every day. The path to success for you and your business isn’t about shortcuts and cheat codes. Instead, it's a succession of non-negotiable disciplines that will help you scale your business, build an efficient team, and ultimately lead to greater success and financial independence.
Don’t worry—it’s not all an uphill battle. You can accelerate your business maturity through a consistent approach of mastering five key disciplines. In our Path to Success webinar, ConnectWise’s VP of Brand and Ecosystem Evangelism, Arlin Sorensen, provides insight into these five disciplines. Keep reading to learn the key business maturity takeaways from the webinar.
Business maturity model: 5 disciplines to follow
1. Assess and determine your culture
In other words, step one is all about establishing and maintaining the kind of culture that attracts top talent, keeps your team engaged and passionate, and moves the needle. The right culture creates high-performing teams dedicated to serious results, and the wrong one burns out talent and reduces output. Knowing your culture also gives you a blueprint for hiring talent and helps you to make sure the candidates you hire are the right fit for your company.
Where does culture even begin? Maybe you’re thinking you need a culture team, or that your HR department holds the reigns here. But the truth is, culture starts at the top. If the owner/CEO isn’t a champion of culture, it’s never going to trickle down to the rest of the company.
Get started by: Leading by example. Clearly define your core values as a leadership team, and communicate them down for total buy-in. Then reward everyone who’s bringing those values into their work every day.
If you don’t focus on your culture, it will develop on its own—which often means the resulting product is nothing like you envisioned for your company. You can assess your current company culture by asking yourself the following questions:
- What makes your company function effectively?
- What makes your company unique?
- What existing traits would you like to change?
Embracing a culture of automation
A culture of automation is essential to business growth. Why? In the ever-changing scope of the industry, technology demands are increasing to the point where techs alone aren’t enough. As the talent pool is getting smaller and smaller and the salary of techs continues to rise, it is no longer feasible to just throw in anyone when a problem arises. The bottom line is this: you need to find ways to better what you do today and improve resource utilization across the board on your teams. This means investments in automation.
A good strategy to begin with is the creation of feedback loops. You need to find a way to carry out your tasks more efficiently—and who understands your efficiency better than your employees working in your business every day? We recommend that you incentivize the implementation of more automation to get these front-line employees involved. Whether this takes place on a large or smaller scale in your business, the more automation you get implemented into your day-to-day, the higher the return.
Like most processes, the same holds true for building a culture of automation—the biggest step is getting started. As you and your team find more efficient ways of accomplishing tasks, you’re not only freeing up time, but creating the capacity to further implement additional automation.
2. Your business, your strategy
As it turns out, strategy isn’t a “set it and forget it” sort of thing, and it’s not something that can be developed for one company and then applied to everyone else. And on top of being customized to your specific needs, you’re also going to want to make sure your entire team is bought in.
Strategy isn’t a single meeting, a dialogue, or a presentation. It’s an ongoing, collaborative process that allows your entire leadership team to come together, agree on what matters most, and support the process of getting there. With the right team structure, ownership is shared and the process is more successful.
Get started by: Implementing reviewing tools—like StratOp—that can help you establish the right strategic approach for your specific business needs. StratOp enables an ongoing strategic process with consistent review, keeping everyone on track and focused on shared goals.
Build the vision of your strategy by identifying your business sweet spot. We recommend using the Jim Collins Hedgehog Concept as a guide—essentially, understanding the combination of what you know, what you love, and what people will pay for. An expert product offering, passion, and revenue. Brainstorm with your team. Don’t be afraid to get multiple perspectives about who you really are and where you want to take your company.
3. Planning for success
“If you plan your work and work your plan, your plan will work.”
Every business goes through a maturity cycle. Now that you’ve built up your culture and established your strategic direction, it’s time to work your plan to make sure you’re set up to keep that cycle headed in the right direction. It’s natural to reach a peak, but you’ve got to have everything in place—from a plan to a communication process to team buy-in—to avoid the decline and make the jump to your next peak. This is the step where you’re growing along your Entrepreneurial Journey (check out the webinar for more details on that).
Get started by: Reviewing the tools presented in the webinar that can help you establish your next move and identify the key jump points in your cycle.
So, what IS your next move? Set actionable goals. Distill your brainstorming on core issues to goals. These goals become the actionable elements assigned to your teams. If you come up with a set of goals that address the core issues that your company must accomplish to realize your vision, you are paving a clear path to your success.
4. Rhythm of business
Now you’re working your plan, and you’ve got to be able to maintain a rhythm that keeps your business moving in the right direction. And as it turns out, there is one surprisingly useful way to establish a rhythm that helps everyone dance to the same beat. What is this amazing thing?
It’s meetings. No, really. Meetings can be one of the best forms of rhythm in your business, and if it doesn’t feel that way, you might need to take a closer look at how your meetings are run.
Get started by: Examining the pyramid model we shared in the webinar to take a look at better ways to run your meetings based on their type and purpose. You should be managing your company’s culture, vision, and goals through challenging yourself for improvement. Refresh your vision every year, and your goals every quarter. When implementing new software, don’t lose sight of your end goal.
A culture for automation is what we are aiming for, but remember—just because you have a tool to help manage the rhythm of your business, doesn’t mean you can abandon your implemented strategy. A tool is only as good as how you use it.
Another important aspect to the rhythm of your business is the daily execution of strategy. By developing a strategic plan so your teams are all on the same page and work well together—and then implementing this strategy as a daily focus—will ensure everyone is taking responsibility for driving the business forward.
5. Legacy: It’s not a choice
Your legacy isn’t a choice. No matter what, you’re going to leave one behind. So, is it going to be one you planned for, shaped, and are proud of? It can be. You’ve built your culture, established your strategy, worked your plan, and found your rhythm. Now you’re ready to leave behind a legacy that you’re proud of.
Get started by: Taking a step-by-step approach to your Legacy Management Canvas, considering everything from financial impact to legal requirements. Start thinking through what you want your legacy to be and look for the right connections to get the job done.
Bring it all together
There’s a lot to do, but there are also a lot of resources to help get you there. Whether it’s partners heading to ConnectWise University, not-yet-partners getting their sales reps on the phone, or getting out to meet us in person, we’ve got the support you need. Looking for something more personal? Head out to your local IT Nation Evolve peer group, register for the next roadshow or IT Nation Share user group in your area, or meet us at IT Nation Connect.