Michael E. Gerber: The view from within

As we discussed in my last column, the visual comes first. So, thinking strategically, you are being asked to pursue a strategic process. This starts with the visual reality of your company, proceeds to the emotional reality of your company, then proceeds still further to the functional reality of your company, and finally proceeds to the financial reality of your company.

June 11, 2013

In my last column I made a promise to you, that I would give you more insight into the visual reality of your business. I decided instead, to start with the second essential ingredient of strategic thinking—the emotional content of your company—the strategic thinking which asks the question: How does my business feel?

To whom? Why, to your four primary influencers. These are your customers, your employees, your suppliers and your lenders. They must feel your company in a manner unique to each, and to each of their points of view.

How your primary influencers feel your company will determine how they respond to your company.

How your primary influencers respond to your company, will determine how well your company forges its unique relationship with each of them.

Now, understand, as we discussed in my last column, the visual comes first. So, thinking strategically, you are being asked to pursue a strategic process. This starts with the visual reality of your company, proceeds to the emotional reality of your company, then proceeds still further to the functional reality of your company, and finally proceeds to the financial reality of your company.

When you begin to think like that, you are doing what I call ‘the Work of a Master of Business Design.’ As you excel in that work, you would have earned the titular title of a Master of Business Design.

If Harvard or Stanford truly understood the work of an entrepreneur, they would immediately create such a degree: a Master of Business Design. Instead of an MBA, you would pursue an MBD.

That’s essentially what I’m introducing to you in these columns: the way an entrepreneur transcends a company, to design a company, which, in its uniquely individual way, operates visually, emotionally, functionally and financially to produce its unique mark on the world.

Let’s go back to feeling

What does it feel like for your employee, your customer, your supplier, your lender should they walk through your door? Understand what I mean when I say, ‘walk through your door.’ Your door is anywhere your business is doing business, whether that be in your office, or in the field; in one of your contractors offices, or in your customer’s home. How you do what you do to create the feeling your four primary influencers must feel to successfully differentiate your company from every other remodeler, is key.

They must feel secure. They must feel important. They must feel like you’re listening to them. They must feel like you care. They must feel like the job you are going to do on their behalf, will be done better than any other remodeler on the face of the earth could, or would do it, at a price they can justify. With a predictability of outcome unlike any they deserve. They must feel like the job you are going to do on their behalf will be unlike any they have ever experienced before, whether with a remodeler, or a car dealer, or a banker, or a chiropractor. When you begin to think like this, it doesn’t matter what kind of business you own. It simply matters that you see it for what it must be—a profound, compelling, original experience, for everyone who comes into contact with it.

They must feel—each of your four primary influencers must feel this—that the attention you pay to the everyday details is supreme. That nothing escapes your eye. That everything, each and every little piece of the puzzle, is and will be, attended to with the care of a mother for her child.

Can you really do that?

That is the question I want you to ask yourself, as you begin the process of taking your business apart, piece by piece, feeling by feeling, picture by picture, outcome by outcome, as an entrepreneur would; as Steve Jobs, and Ray Kroc, and Howard Schultz did.

Go through the process: how someone enters your business, how someone in your business enters into the home, or office, of your new customer. Feel the process. Feel the interactions. Feel the way the words are formed between you. Feel what transpires as you do what you do. And, recognize your desired feeling as you then leave the place you’ve been. All of this is critical. All of this shapes the outcome. All of this sits at the heart of your relationship with your customer, with your employee, with your supplier, with your lender.

All of this comes alive as your company comes alive, as your business is being shaped, as your promises are being formed.

Think on it. It’s a system. PR

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