Friday, December 19, 2014

Business core

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     Businesses have a way of pulling you in various directions. No matter your business, you'll be tempted to head off down a side road.

     More people are turning to therapy for weight reduction, so should you go off in that direction? More people are looking for healthy foods, so should you turn your cafe into a place for gluten-free and vegetarian meals?

     You've created your business out of a dream. That dream is the core. Messing with that core can destroy your business. Be careful.

     Example: Jennifer opened a bakery. She was inspired by the looks on children's faces when they sampled her brownies. Her baking passion caused her to expand into high-end, high-priced cakes. It was a good move. The business thrived because she took advantage of a market that was ripe for the taking. But she missed the children's faces. She kept the high-end cake part of her business, but she brought back the brownies and added cookies. One evening each week, Jennifer holds an open house. Kids are invited to sample the goodies at no charge. Their parents buy more to take home, and they remember Jennifer when there's a need for a high-end cake. 

     If you move completely away from your business core, you are leaving something behind. Perhaps, as in Jennifer's case, you can incorporate that previous dream into the new entity and be a better business because of it.

     Example: Josh is an environmental engineer. Frequently, he gets caught up in the lengthy permitting process for a project. Getting permits in place means keeping abreast of local regulations and permits, and this saps his time and energy. He decided to put part of the process onto his clients--he required them to go for permits and deal with the local bureaucracies. This left Josh with more time to devote to his first love--environmental engineering. But clients resisted his new procedures, and he lost some work because of it. He did a U-turn and, again, as before, began offering to handle the whole project, end to end.

     What saves you time might weigh heavily on your customers/clients. Changing the way you offer your goods/services can have dire consequences in the marketplace. People know what they want, and they trust you to provide it. 

     I am reminded of the robins that return year after year to the nest they long ago built under the eaves of my front porch. When they find something that works, birds don't change their core. I am the customer of these robins, and I look forward to their return year after year.

     Your business core is who you are. The business, along with you, can change, grow, expand, and even go off in a new direction. Just be careful messing with your original dream.  


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