Developing a successful business means that we have to create value that our customers will be prepared to pay more for than it will cost us to provide it.
In the corporate world there are resources to shape the market in the direction we want – brand, research, persuasion power.
In the entrepreneur’s world we have to work more collaboratively with the environment we find ourselves in – we have to work interactively with the customers to co-create an offer and we have to find a network of partners to deliver the minimum viable offer that will enable us to get started.
Once we have some business going, then we have to feed the flame to find more customers like the ones we have and as time goes on work out from the original combination of offer and customer to develop new offers and new groups of customers. Successful businesses have learned how to do this systematically.
But we also have to create just enough structure to let us deliver it. It’s getting this right and then becoming more efficient that lets us take cost out of the business model and deliver the profits that allow us to grow and expand. Much of this is about combining the intelligent use of metrics with the people skills needed to attract, retain and motivate the people who will form the backbone of your growing company.
It involves using both sides of the brain – vision and detail – to construct an operation that’s able both to do the entrepreneurial work of seeing new possibilities and the managerial work of making it systematic.
As the business grows we alternate periods of exploration when we operating as entrepreneurs and periods of exploitation when we have to operate in manager mode. During the exploratory phases we need to focus on the relationships with our customers and our new partners while during the managerial phases we have to focus on building a transactional structure to allow the repetition that takes the cost out of the business model. During these phases we need to refine the ad hoc value network we have constructed to get the offer to market into something that more resembles a conventional supply chain.
Managing these challenges is what growing the business is about. I am in the process of developing an entrepreneurial marketing workbook to help business owners who find managing these transitions challenging. If you would like to join our publication notification list you can sign up here.
And if you would like to contribute your influence to the detail of what it contains you can take our short (10 minute) survey here.
I hope you choose to join us on this exciting ride.