There is one key factor in business and without it, there is no business.
That factor is profit.
These days, margins are tight. With a global economy, competing on cost alone is nearly impossible unless your company is one of the select few big box companies with economies of scale.
And yet, there are companies earning up to 18% profit or more. It may be time for big companies to take a lesson from the small business sector. An article by Entrepreneur reveals the 15 Most Profitable Small-Business Industries. While the types of industries are interesting, the commonalities of how those industries do business are what makes them successful despite the competition.
Those factors include:
- Low Overhead
- Niched Expertise
- Targeted Services
- Recurring Business
While you as a leader of a mid- to large-sized corporation may be thinking these are simply the characteristics of small business, think again. These are now the hallmarks of successful big business as well. Consider Amazon, for instance. They are constantly seeking to increase speed and automation to keep costs low and service levels high. They make it easy to purchase – and easy to purchase again and again. Amazon’s mission statement is this: “Our vision is to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
How do mid- to large-sized corporations build on this framework for success?
Hire for strengths and give employees the freedom to creatively lead in those strengths.
If you want something done faster, better, and with more attention to quality, hire the person who does that “something” naturally. If you want more sales, hire those who are naturally gifted for influencing people. If you want to develop an innovative technology program, hire the best programmers you can find. If you want to minimize overhead, hire the person who is most gifted in the areas of numbers and most protective of them for the sake of the company.
Most companies do well on the hiring aspect. Many get the placement defined well.
But where they fall short is in allowing their employees to lead in their strengths.
When employees are not permitted to lead in their strengths, they begin to adjust to working according to others’ expectations. And when they do that, they are not as effective. In fact, they can become downright miserable in their work. Very often a “problem employee” is simply one who is not allowed to lead in their strengths.
Identify customer needs and solicit the help of your team in finding innovative ways to meet those needs.
Just as company leaders hire for strengths to serve within the company, successful company leaders seek to serve customer needs outside the company. Are you listening to your customers or simply trying to force feed them a product or service you think they need? Are you allowing your team to develop solutions to meet the needs of your customers?
Form a team of experts.
If your company can’t compete on costs (most cannot), it can compete in the areas of service and expertise. As a leader, you cannot know everything about your industry. While you should be well versed, your most valuable assets are going to be those employees who have particular fields of expertise. Surround yourself with many of them, each having a special area of expertise. Forming a team of leading experts has a powerful effect on profitability.
Apply the Sales to Marketing Model
Most leaders apply the Marketing to Sales model in their business. This is certainly a natural progression. But many do not realize the inherent value in also applying the Sales to Marketing model. This is the value of nurturing current clients so they will naturally want to continue doing business with you.
The bottom line is, the framework for success and profit in business is universal: create a team of experts and let them lead in their strengths as they serve the needs of customers. It is a simple concept that, effectively applied, strengthens the company’s bottom line.
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.