To grow and thrive, your business needs to be always improving. As the leader, you are constantly concerned with questions like:
- How can we increase sales?
- What can I do to make our delivery process more efficient?
- Which promotions will be more successful?
Asking and answering questions like these is your business development process. The term “business development” is most commonly a euphemism for sales. In this case, I’m using it to describe the process of improving the business.
This process occurs in big and little ways in the business every day. Often, it isn’t recognized as a process. Instead, it’s just people trying different things.
Explicitly recognizing this work as a process lends the importance and attention it requires. It also ensures consistency of application throughout the business.
Innovation. Quantification. Orchestration.
This is how the E-Myth Revisited describes the three-step process of business development. These three steps are the engine that powers the growth of your business.
Often, the word “innovation” brings to mind images of smart, creative people giving life to big inventions. That is a limiting definition.
For our purposes, an innovation is nothing more than trying a new way to get something done. That can be a grand new invention, a tiny change in the call to action on your website, or anything between.
Innovation can and should be applied to every aspect of the business.
It could be a change to the help-wanted ads you run to see if it attracts better applicants. Or a change to how often you contact customers after the sale. Or a new method of making your product.
Every innovation in every part of the business starts with the question:
“Will doing x improve our result?”
When you have decided on the innovation, the next step is to test it against what you are currently doing.
That brings us to…
Most business owners can’t tell you how many new customers walked into the store yesterday. This is because they don’t quantify the results of their business.
Quantification is the measurement of important outcomes in your business. It provides the data for clear-headed decisions about what works and what doesn’t.
Measuring your revenue and profit is a quantification that (nearly) all business owners do. Some other common things that most business should be measuring include:
- Conversion rates from lead to prospect to sale
- Delivery of your product or service that meets quality standards
- Customer retention
- Effectiveness of marketing efforts
- Employee engagement
Innovation without quantification is a waste of time. If you aren’t measuring the results of the innovation, how will you know if you made any improvement?
For example, let’s say you make a change to your sales script. You then measure how many people buy when you use the new script. Compare that to how many bought when you were using the old script.
If the new script delivers more conversions, then you have a winner and make the new script the standard. If it doesn’t, then keep the old script.
Now that you have come up with an innovation and quantified the results, it’s time for the third critical step.
Orchestration is the setting of standards. It defines “the way we do it here.” Orchestration is how you implement the innovation that you know to be an improvement.
Orchestration is how you ensure consistent, predictable results in your business. It eliminates discretion, and so eliminates unpredictability and variation in the result.
If a certain sales script produces more sales, then everyone will use that script every time.
If assembling a product a certain way reduces defects, then every product will be assembled that way.
If a red button on your website results in more mailing list sign-ups than a blue button, then every list sign-up button will be red.
In practice, orchestration is a set of systems that govern how every aspect of the business works. When taken together, they form an operating manual. They become the proprietary way your business works.
Give it a try
Start with something small. Think about a way to change how something is done, then measure the result. If it performed better, make that new thing the standard way of doing it.
As you gain more confidence in the process, you can try to tackle bigger things. But it isn’t necessary, or even desirable, to try to make a huge change all at once. Consistently working on little improvements will tend to produce more reliable results. The Japanese call this approach kaizen. It is famously associated with Toyota’s rise as a world leader in auto manufacturing.
Running small experiments throughout your business will lead to constant incremental improvements. Those improvements will add up to a lot of success over time.
Need help putting this to work in your business? Schedule a free session.