In his best-selling business book “Good to Great,” Jim Collins describes the differences between large companies that are good, often very good, and the ones that are truly great. Unfortunately, some of the attributes of great companies don’t scale down as well as they scale up. So small to medium sized businesses are left to figure out what they need to do if they want to move from being good businesses to being great businesses. When I look at a business, I look for signs of greatness in several areas, since greatness in a business is really very multi-dimensional. Let’s take a look at some of the foundational areas of your business and what great might look like in each area.
Sales and Marketing
Does your business attract the best prospects? Those that will be “A” clients for life? Do you have multiple methods of marketing, which each bring in equal shares of clients and customers? Does your marketing system run by itself without you there to pull the levers? Do you know which marketing works best and why? What about your sales staff, are they good at closing the deal with your best customers? Do they attract the type of sales that you want for your business? Are they highly motivated to increase sales profitably? Are the converting prospects to customers at a high rate? Is their sales average ever increasing?
Products and Services
Do you have the best selection of high-quality products and services? How do you know for sure? Do you have multiple offerings and options for every target market or niche that you serve? How well does your team know your product line? How about your clients? Is your product delivery of the highest quality every time? Is your Customer Service out of this world? Remember, everyone has great service now, so how do you distinguish yourself?
Do you know your numbers inside and out? Does your financial system automatically generate all of the monthly financial reports that you need to make great business decisions? Do you and your team know your margins and how to use this knowledge to make good decisions? Do you have a budget for each department/division and the business as a whole? Are you working on strategies to improve both gross and net margins?
Do you know what a great team looks like? Is your business good enough to attract the type of people you need to create your business dream team? Have you created a great place to work for your employees, or are you just creating jobs? Great businesses have great leaders and managers in place to set the vision and goals for your teams, and then provide them with the tools and daily guidance to achieve them while holding them accountable for their actions and results.
Are you a great owner for your business? Do you take the time out to set the vision and goals? Then do you help your team create the plan for achieving the goals, afterward holding them accountable for their outcomes? Great owners are constantly on the lookout for top talent and often mold their businesses to attract such talent. Great owners reward their teams for their successes and help their teams overcome their challenges. John Maxwell describes the Law of the Lid, which states that each and every one of us can only rise to a certain level, our Lid, without learning new things, without help from others. Have you hit your personal Lid, or are you constantly striving to be better for your business, your team, and your customers?
Take a quick inventory of yourself and your business in each of these areas. Decide which areas you need to improve upon, and put a plan in place to make the improvements. Being great takes hard work and time, and consists of many dimensions. You probably can’t get there overnight, but when you know what it takes, and you break it down into a series of steps, you can get to greatness faster than if you just think about it.
So which do you choose to be – Good or Great? It is a simple choice, followed by either the easy way out or hard work. Reach out if you would like some help and guidance.