Monday, June 19, 2006

Who are we and how did we get here?

This is less buzz marketing and more basic business, but this has been an interesting few days. My business partner and I have been going through the exercise of asking who we are and how we got here.

I defined 4 types of business we could be. I told him we needed to pick one as our main driving force and really build on that. This is important to buzz because if you cannot understand your company no one else will. Here were the four options for us:

Purpose Driven Philosophy The purpose driven business philosophy is one that focuses on the ideals and defined by the managers and understood by every team member and does not pursue opportunities that are outside of the core vision. This philosophy is based on ideals, vision, change and being disruptive to the current way of doing things. This philosophy must have a strong purpose that will rally people behind it and make them life long fans. Needed:

  • Strong, clear sense of purpose
  • Willing to sacrifice for purpose
  • Strong team
  • Champion that leads team unflinchingly

Financially Driven Philosophy This purpose is to drive down costs and drive up revenue, creating bigger financial gain for less effort. Ideal business is small items and information that can be sold with no consulting. Also building efficient machines that can employee people to complete sales transactions. Needed:

  • Willing to pass on complex opportunities
  • Make difficult decisions to keep costs low
  • Constant learning and promotion to generate revenue
  • Systems that make revenue steams turn key

Technology Driven Philosophy The purpose of the technology driven philosophy is to build technology that captures enough users to make it worth buying by a bigger company. This philosophy requires considerable funding because the technology must be of the highest quality and done with a passion for excellence. It must also solve a problem for the target audience and be simple to use. Needed:

  • Clear IT goal and definition
  • Strong tech team and marketing professionals
  • High venture capital funding to do it right

Service Driven Philosophy The purpose of the service driven philosophy is to provide high quality services to client that appreciate your ability to provide value. Strong performance will result in word of mouth recommendations until the client list gets large enough that you can sell to other firm. This has the most difficult exit strategy because people in the firm are the biggest asset. Needed:

  • Team of self managing professionals.
  • Project management definition and smooth process
  • Large pipeline for steady income

I am not going to tell you the final choice. It will be evident as we evolve the business based on our assessments of who we are and how we got here.

You may want to try a similar exercise yourself. Really look hard at what things you are doing and how they create value for your customers and income for you. You may find that you need to evolve into a more buzzworthy, more interesting company.