Do you want some priceless business information without spending years of experience, or hours reading books about it?
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Business development is to discover, design, and deliver business truths and principles in order to build wisdom and skills to better serve customers with valuable products and services, and hopefully serve employees with meaningful work.
1. Leadership is the most important factor in business. It is not cash flow, timing, the idea, or the team. These are all decisions the leadership makes.
2. Setting a healthy trusting culture with a shared vision and values increases performance and collaboration, and innovates better. I would bet on a healthy culture with no plan before I would bet on a toxic culture with a good plan. But nothing is stopping a leader from developing a healthy culture with a good plan.
3. Innovation is no longer an option to sustain business success. Times are changing fast, and if a business wants to be successful more than 10 years, they should consider an innovation process. Innovation is more about improving internal processes than creating new products or services.
4. Calm, clear, courageous, and compassionate communication is the most important skill for a leader, a healthy culture, and for innovation, followed closely by values-based decision-making with truth, purpose, and goals. Embracing the truth is a is a common denominator for success that I have noticed is emphasized in all great business books I've read. I submit embracing the truth is important for any decision we make.
The seven key business disciplines are leadership, culture, strategy, marketing, sales, finances, and innovation. Yes, a business can be successful just focusing on marketing, sales, and finances, but it will not reach its potential.
Leadership is responsibility and influence, with three disciplines and four categories. More about this on the Leadership Development page.
Culture is the emotional environment of an organization. There have been studies that show a "spartan" physical environment that is bare and has few thrills can bring out higher performance. There have also been studies that show high value environments can bring out higher performance, possibly because high value environments attract high level talent.
You can either pay expensive compensation for high level talent, hire for potential and train them, or pray (The One Minute Manager by Blanchard & Johnson)
The book Good to Great studied businesses that had extraordinary growth in their performance and value, and highlights many principles. One of the principles of a good to great business is developing a culture of discipline, where disciplined people apply disciplined thought and take disciplined action.
Many books reference studies that show a healthy environment has more engaged employees who are more productive. The book the Advantage gives a process for developing a cohesive leadership team that includes building trust that engages in healthy conflict that leads to commitment and accountability to results. A healthy culture will naturally plan and implement better. The book First Break All The Rules provides 12 questions that measure the strength of a workplace, based on more than 25 years of experience and a million employees.
Strategy is deliberately choosing who you are going to serve and how you will serve them, hopefully with some competitive advantage. Doing some research helps gain clarity which helps align actions with strategy. There are businesses that have become successful with no plan, however, I submit this is not the norm.
Studies show planning helps increase the chance of business success. There are two types of planning, traditional and lean planning. Traditional planning is more detailed, usually 10-50 pages, while lean planning only considers the most necessary elements. A lean plan is only 1-3 pages. Holistic planning can be traditional or lean, more about planning on the Business Planning page.
Marketing is getting your organization’s message, or your product, in front of potential customers in hopes of influencing them to buy and increasing brand awareness. The two types of marketing are traditional and digital.
There are five basic channels of digital marketing, including web pages (sites or landing pages), email, social media, content, and paid ads. There are three basic types of content, including written, audio (podcasts), or video. People can conduct digital marketing without owning any channels like a website or social media, by guest blogging, or being a guest on a podcast or video channel. Get more helpful information about digital marketing on the Digital Marketing page.
Sales is an exchange of value between people or organizations. If you believe in your product or service, you have a moral obligation to offer it to people who claim they need it or want it. Sales is basically a four step process of qualifying a lead, building rapport, education/information, and closing (Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey). When you sell you break rapport, but when you educate you build it (The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes).
Finances are the life blood of any organization. There are three key financial statements to keep an eye on, the income statement (also called a profit and loss statement), the balance sheet, and the cash flow statement.
Some key financial ratios or metrics to keep an eye on include the current ratio, quick ratio, debt ratio, debt to equity, return on equity, operating profit, and net profit. You can't manage what you don't measure (Peter Drucker).
Innovation has become necessary for sustaining an organization over a long period of time, given the increasing pace of change. Innovation is a new product or a new way of doing things. How can leaders embrace innovation, and create their own internal innovation brainstorming process? There are three key approaches to innovation, the business model, the strategy, or the profit levers.
Leadership and innovation have some tension, yet need each other to sustain success. Leadership creates structure with standards while innovation is born from creativity that often disrupts structure and standards. How can leaders embrace innovation?
There are many stories of how a good innovation disrupted and eventually overcame big business with proven leadership. Consider the story of Blockbuster and Netflix. In 2000 the leaders of the young and upcoming (some might even say struggling) Netflix approached the leaders of the large and successful Blockbuster in hopes of a merger or acquisition. They could not come to an agreement. Ten years later Blockbuster files for bankruptcy while Netflix is well on its way to growing into a large and successful business.
Products and Services - How can the business increase the quality of these?
Productivity - How can the business improve their processes?
Customer Acquisition - How can the business increase their number of new customers?
Customer Retention - How can the business improve service and increase customer loyalty?
Payments - How can the business increase payments or improve it's payment model?
Payables - How can the business trim it's fixed or variable costs?
Innovation - How can the business improve it's innovation process?
Leadership: Turn the Ship Around by David Marquet, Multipliers by Liz Wiseman with Greg McKeown, The Leadership Challenge by James M. Kouzes, The Motive by Patrick Lencioni, Developing the Leader Within You, and the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, both by John Maxwell, Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, Start With Why, and Leaders Eat Last, and The Infinite Game all by Simon Sinek, Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey, and Leadership and Self-Deception by The Arbinger Institute
Culture: The Advantage, and The Ideal Player, both by Patrick Lencioni, The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle, No Rule Rules by Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer, The Best Place to Work Ron Friedman, Good to Great by Jim Collins, First Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, the 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling, Principles by Ray Dalio, Be Our Guest by the Disney Institute with Theodore Kinni, and Never Lose a Customer Again by Joey Coleman.
Strategy: Playing to Win by A.G. Lafley and Roger L. Martin, Good to Great by Jim Collins, Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne, Competitive Strategy and Competitive Advantage both by Michael E. Porter, The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber.
Marketing: Marketing Made Simple and Building a Storybrand both by Donald Miller, Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson, This is Marketing by Seth Godin, The 1-Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib, Youtility, and Hug Your Haters, and Talk Triggers, all three by Jay Baer, Value Proposition Design by Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, Gregory Bernarda, and Alan Smith, The Narrative Gym by Randy Olson, Marketing Rebellion by Mark W. Schaefer, The 7 Levels of Communication by Michael J. Maher, Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug, Content Inc. by Joe Pulizzi, Digital Marketers Sound Off by Matt Chiera, Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday, and Email Marketing Rules by Chad S. White.
Sales: The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes, The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson, Way of the Wolf by Jordan Belfort, The Only Sales Guide You'll Ever Need by Anthony Iannarino, Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk, 80/20 Sales and Marketing by Perry Marshall, and Jeffrey Gitomer's Little Red Book of Selling.
Finances: Financial Intelligence by Karen Berman, Profit First by Mike Michalowicz, The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham, Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, The Total Money Makeover, and Financial Peace Revisited, both by Dave Ramsey.
Innovation and Entrepreneurship: The Startup Owner's Manual by Steve Blank, Disciplined Entrepreneurship by Bill Aulet, Invent and Wander by Jeff Bezos, Zero to One by Peter Thiel, Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, Testing Business Ideas by David J. Bland, Alexander Osterwalder, Alan Smith, and Trish Papadakos, The Lean Startup, and The Startup Way, both by Eric Ries, Driving Eureka! by Doug Hall, Blue Ocean Shift by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne, Startup Communities, and The Startup Community Way, both by Brad Feld, and The Innovator's Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen.
Business Beginner (including home businesses and freelancing): Will it Fly? by Pat Flynn, Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson, Launch by Jeff Walker, Choose, and Ask, both by Ryan Levesque, and The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris.
Business development is supported by leadership development.
Entreleadership, Marketing Made Easy, EO Fire, Smart Passive Income, Social Media Examiner, The Ziglar Show, The Unstoppable Entrepreneur Show, Gary V, Tony Robbins, and Boss Mom
Grant Cardone, Pat Flynn., Entrepreneur (magazine), YCombinator, Strategyzer, Google Small Business
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