Podcast #9 Transparency Con’t

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This episode continues the discussion of the principle of “transparency”. In episode 8 we determined that transparency can help our businesses in four ways:

1.Transparency is becoming more important to everybody.

2. Transparency promotes trust. (No repeat customers without trust)

3. It helps everybody involved in your business feel important to the success of your enterprise. You let them know at different phases of your growth, how you are doing and they can see ways to help you.

4. Public knowledge of your Purpose and Values is an act of tranparency. Your Purpose and Values attract a base of customers who share or believe in the same Purpose and Values that you believe in.

I talked about Buffer as an excellent study in transparency.  I want to share 2 more contemporary businesses practicing this principle in their operations. 

“Currently, Whole Foods is working on becoming the first national grocery chain to offer full GMO transparency with its products. They’re trying to  identify any products containing genetically modified organisms and they want to keep them off their shelves. By this year, they will require every product sold as non-GMO to go through a verification process. The company has always encouraged anybody supplying products to them to put the items through a verification process, as well. Whole Foods hopes that by making this commitment to GMO transparency, it will encourage industry-wide transparency, with manufacturers and distributors asking the questions that need to be asked” Quoted from 

5 Examples of Companies Succeeding Through Transparency” by Jonha Richman,

This dedication to transparency by Whole Foods lets you know how serious they are about avoiding GMO’s in products they sell.  Why do they do this? Key Point: Full transparency in this area is important to their customer base. This is the primary reason any business would want to practice this principle.

There is one more contemporary business succeeding through transparency I want to share.

Patagonia a clothing  supplier is known for supply chain transparency. Richman reported, ”For outerwear company Patagonia, providing transparency throughout its supply chain means reducing any negative social and environmental impacts the company might have. Many companies have been caught off guard by information about the social and environmentally-unfriendly habits of its manufacturers or distributors. To avoid this, 

Patagonia takes a proactive approach, taking the responsibility on itself to make sure no harm is being caused in the making of its products. The project is called “Footprint Chronicles” and they display it to the general public through videos on the company’s website. Check it out, it’s good. The videos show each step of the supply chain, including all textile mills and sewing factories used in creating the item.” Richman

You’ll have to admit, this is real dedication to transparency around Patagonia’s commitment to social and environmental safety. Many customers are drawn to their business simply because of this commitment.

You can see how transparency can be a positive force for your business building efforts. It helps you clarify what you are doing. It also helps you simplify your Systems and processes so they can be communicated to others more effectively and efficiently. Transparency helps you get valuable input about ways to improve your business and keep it ahead in your industry. The big advantage is..It helps you promote trust with your customers. You may now be wondering: when is transparency NOT appropriate?

Santiago Iniguez describes what we should do: He reiterated.. “Ethan Bernstein’s article “The Transparency Trap” convincingly argues that complete transparency is not advisable, at least in three areas of a company’s activities.” These areas include innovation, experimentation, developmental processes and I have added,  distribution specifics. The niche you have in your industrsy must be protected. Sharing the all processes that make you unique are not an option.

Iniguez further suggests:

Business transparency is a matter of degree. You determine how much should be shared according to its usefulness. Internally, only the people involved or affected by the procedure or information should be involved. Publicly, only the information that can breed trust in your company should be shared. Examples: Whole    

Foods GMO policy or Patagonias’ supply chain transparency. They share a level of transparency that draws certain groups of customers.

Establish a balance between transparency and privacy,  both in relation to the workforce’s activities and individual and collective information. We live in a world where access to information about businesses and people, true and false, is universal and immediate. In such an environment, leaders can feel that they are permanently onstage.” Iniguez  As we build our businesses ,we need to use whatever processes available to always  respect people’s personal space.”

Be authentic with your transparency. “What counts in the final analysis is that when necessary the people running a company can reasonably justify their decisions,” This relates strongly to the Integrity of your business. Trust among customers, employees and other affiliates is greatly enhanced with a reasonable level of transparency.

Finally, here’s an interesting guide for how to build a reputation of business transparency from Chelsea Segal

“As you go about marketing your product to the general public, think about what values you expect your customers to have. Do you want them to care about speed and efficiency? About earning money? About doing good in the world? Whatever matters most to your customers, find a way to emphasize the way your brand delivers it. Then be as transparent as possible about specifically how you do it.. You’ll be amazed at the difference that one simple change can make.”

So, the idea is to get input from your customers for guidance on what should be transparent. A Super idea!

Business transparency is a state-of-the-art practice that can seriously enhance your business building process. So, carefully consider transparency as a Value for your growing twenty-first century enterprise.

More business success essentials in: “20 Directives for Small Business Success: Do or Die”

Easily accessible Business Building guides here: The GeniusCore Business Building Podcast

 

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Podcast #8 Transparency: A Business Building Enhancement Part 1

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I’m sharing another great Value for you to  build into your growing business. It’s another one I call a Super Value, introduced in episodes 2 and 3. Transparency is also one of the principles used by some of our greatest contemporary businesses. Without doubt, embracing this will add to your phenomenal business building success. You’ll see why as we go.

While you’re preparing for or improving your entrepreneurship, I’m sure you’ve run across the term”transparency” as it relates to business. Interesting questions you might ask are: how does that apply to you as you are building your new business? Why is transparency important? What are the benefits of business transparency? How is it done? What are the limits?

Larry Alton in”How Transparency Became a Top Priority for Businesses, and Why You Should Care” described what transparency means to the entrepreneur. He writes:

“Transparency in business requires entrepreneurs to remain open and informative about key points of information, including their business’s goals, history, performance and operations. And it’s a goal that’s risen in importance and continues to do so.”

He also shared a study by label insights:

According to a recent study by Label Insight, they study the labels on products and how people react to them. They found that up to 94 percent of consumers surveyed indicated that they were more likely to be loyal to a brand that offers transparency, while 73 percent said they were willing to pay more for a product that offers complete transparency”MUSIC

So fist let’s look at Why is transparency is important?

4 Reasons transparency is important:

1. Transparency is becoming more important to people in general. Think about your own experiences. We are drawn to people who are transparent. We are also drawn to businesses that are transparent. That is, we like to understand the nature of the entity we are dealing with. We like to relate to the person or business and know as much as we can about who they are and what their guiding principles are. What’s important to them.

Just think of the popularity of ratings and reviews when we are preparing to engage with a business or purchase  a product from a business. We like to know as much as we possibly can about the business or product before we get involved .

That’s because Transparency promotes trust. This bring us to the second reason Transparency is important.

2. Transparency promotes trust.

This is good to remember if you don’t remember anything else in this podcast. According to Integrity Solutions: “Customers and clients want to do business with a company that is trustworthy. When trust is at the core of a company, it’s easy to recognize. They [the customers] know you are reliable and capable. Over the long term, business success is dependent upon a network of positive relationships. Trust is invariably the critical component in enhancing business relationships and transparency builds trust.” We must have trust to grow our businesses.

3. People contributing to your business (workers, customers, investors and all affiliates) need to feel important to your business. Think about your team members.When team members understand the who, what, when, how, and why of a system, decision or requirement, it gives them the clarity and freedom to do their jobs or engage with your business in any way necessary. Your operations will be transparent. Nobody likes to work or contribute without knowing why and how their contribution fits in. That’s why, the more you can share with your customers, employees or other affiliates, the more comfortable they will feel when dealing with your business. This leads to the fourth reason transparency is important.

4. Public knowledge of your Purpose and Principles are important to success. In episodes 2 and 3 of my  podcasts, I talked about “the superiority of a Purpose Driven Business. Many people are drawn to the ideal of contribution to society. They like charity and philanthropy. You’ll notice many businesses tie purchases to company contributions.

Clear promotion of your Mission/Purpose and Values/Principles to everybody involved with your business will be the beginning of your practice of transparency.! That’s how you start it. Customers, investors, employees and others will begin to understand your business as you promote and practice your fundamental business building blocks, your Purpose and Values.

I think the best way for us to understand the importance of transparency is to look at some contemporary businesses applying this principle successfully.

In, “5 Examples of Companies Succeeding Through Transparency”

Jonha Richman, guest writer for Entrepreneur and Digital Marketer, shared:

“By being proactive in opening up its information, smaller businesses can establish relationships and avoid the mistrust that can happen when information is revealed after the fact.”

Here, I’m exploring 1 of the most popular transparent businesses Richman included in the article.

Buffer is known for open salaries. You’ve probably heard of them. They are a social media management company.

Buffer makes their Values/Principles well known by using different  methods to ensure everybody knows what their values are. The second principle on Buffers list of Values is “Default to transparency”. That let’s everybody know how important it is to them. The social media company applies this Value to every area of their business. One way the company has demonstrated its commitment to transparency is through revealing the salaries of employees throughout the organization. Through a publicly-available spreadsheet, Buffer has revealed the pay rate of every employee by name, from co-founder and CEO Joel Gascoigne (gascoin)to engineers, content crafters, and “happiness heroes”(customer service reps).

In addition to posting its salaries, Buffer also reveals the formula it uses to create these salaries. Each employee goes through a 45-day boot camp, then qualifies for a salary under the business’ formula,.The 4 factors in the formula are Salary, Job Type, Choice(profit sharing or salary addition), and the fourth is Loyalty( years in service). They use weighted values for some of these factors.  Buffers’ system is easily accessible on line. Check it out! It’s very interesting!

As your business grows and adds employees, this process is a great reference. Buffer shares where they got their base salaries and regional differences from, this could  be quite helpful to you.  This type of transparency also shows a level of fairness that reduces a lot employee frustration. When employees know the role factors like seniority and experience play in determining pay, those employees are more likely to understand when somebody else makes a higher salary than they do.

By the way, other businesses have understood the merits of Buffers’  formula and have adopted some form of this salary plan for themselves.  Buffer is also continuously improving their formula for determining salaries and delivering transparency in many areas of their business.

The people at Buffer shared a post about their salary formula: This was some ago but I’ll still share it.

“It’s been over 2 years since we first shared our transparent salary formula; we’ve been truly blown away by the response we’ve seen.” They received many positive responses from customers and other businesses who where intrigued by their processes.

Buffer  continually works on all of their operations, and continually strive to improve business the results.  Continuous improvement is best practice for any 21st century business.The bottom line is.. they make transparent whatever they think would help their customer. (Think about this practice. It’s key) For example, they are working on sharing Buffer’s pricing process, their real-time revenue, and of course, their Values and the changes they make to them. They’re also sharing their fundraising process and the level of diversity in their team makeups. The impact of their business practices has strongly influenced the business community. Will your business make such an outstanding impact?

Remember the four advantages of adopting transparency as a principle:

1.Transparency is becoming more important to everybody.

2. Transparency promotes trust. (You’ll have No repeat customers without trust)

3. It helps everybody involved in your business feel important to the success of your enterprise.

4. Public knowledge of your Purpose and Values is known through transparency. Your Purpose and Values attract a base of customers who share or believe in the Purpose and Values.

In my next episode, I’ll share one more contemporary transparent business, to help you get a deeper understanding of this principle and how it works.  We’ll continue to explore how it works in actual business operations. I’ll also describe the parameters of transparency.  There are times when transparency should not be used. Stay tuned for the full story.

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4 Top Characteristics of Super Successful Entrepreneurships

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With so much information available to us, there’s no reason we can’t be well informed about business building. A large percent of new businesses fail because the entrepreneurs are not aware of the skills they need to keep the enterprise afloat.

Most entrepreneurs have excellent skills in their profession and have enjoyed various levels of success. They have managed to schedule, prepare and provide their service or product in a way that has convinced them that starting a full fledged business is a great idea. However, the SBA reports that more than two-thirds of the 29 million startups fail each year. Something is seriously missing. Rather than looking at why these businesses fail, this article explores the reasons businesses succeed.

Jan B. King in “Top 10 Reasons Businesses Succeed” reported ten eye-opening reasons some businesses avoid becoming a fail statistic.

The first and most fundamental reason is ”The experience and skills of the top managers [owners] . Over half of business failures are directly related to managerial incompetence.”

We see the use of the term ‘management’, in thousands of articles and books. It actually means many different things according to whoever is using it. I like to refer to scientific or researched based findings for a definition of management. Frederick W. Taylor, in his works on scientific management offers the best definition of management as a science or set of skills.

“Scientific management [set of skills ] is a theory of management that analyzes and synthesizes workflows. Its main objective is improving economic efficiency, especially labor productivity.” Wikipedia

Considering Taylor’s conclusions, we can describe management as the responsibility for designing and executing a strategy with clear objectives, targets and deadlines. You also have the responsibility to design methods (systems), set standards, guide the performance of workers, and measure results. In addition, management includes hiring, training and promoting workers.  You will train and coach the appropriate employees required to successfully meet the objectives as described in the strategy. In other words, management is the organization and coordination of the activities of a business in order to achieve defined objectives. You will apply change management skills as you find the need for making the various types of changes to your established strategy and systems. People skills, such as communication and conflict management skills fall under the umbrella of scientific or skill based management. Management skills have been the focus of years of management research. Today we have time-tested and universal management skills available to managers because of this rigorous research. Of course, there will always be improvements in the discipline but basic business management skills will stay relatively the same. The best managers will continuously learn and improve their management skills.

A second reason new businesses succeed according to King is “The energy, persistence and resourcefulness (the will to make the business succeed) of the top managers.

Many business owners have failed or come close several times before their “instant” success. Don’t give up.”

This highlights the reason persistence and determination show up in all the results of business success studies.

A Purpose or Mission that you are passionate about will bring out the persistence and determination you need to get through the many problems you face as you grow your new business.

Md.Ashiqur Ran reported that “Albert Ellis was an American psychologist. Ellis said, ‘the art of love is largely the art of persistence’. Really, if you want to build something firstly you need to love it then love to do it again and again and it is the power of persistence. Persistence helps to conquer something invincible. ….The habit of persistence is the habit of success. Failure reminds us to be more persistent! It’s nothing.”

A third reason businesses succeed according to King: “A product that is at least a cut above the competition and service that doesn’t get in the way of people buying. There must be a compelling reason to buy; the product is great, the people love to provide service, and the buying experience is easy and fun.”

This reason implies the business has great Values or principles, excellent operating Systems, talented workers and customer empathy. The business enjoys values such as innovation, excellence, integrity, fun, and customer rapport. Successful businesses have also designed their Systems or operations and documented them to enable consistent application by all workers.

The workers share a belief in the Values and understand the significance of the customers

Probably the most important difference is the successful businesses have chose a product or service that is different or better than what has been available to their customers. They have found an innovative or creative way to be different and they continue to create and innovate.

King’s fourth reason businesses succeed: “The ability to create a “buzz” around the product with aggressive and strategic marketing. Make scarce marketing resources count. Do as much homework about your customers and their choices as you can before investing your marketing dollars.” There are many ways to market your business on a shoestring. The internet offers tremendous opportunities.Social media through blog posts is extremely popular and beneficial as well as you tube and podcasts. Many marketing tools are possible with a little research. Giving something away , personal appearances offering coupons and networking are just a few of the many ways you can market your new business. Uses as many as you can.

These are four primary reasons businesses succeed. If you have mastered these four steps, the rest is fairly easy. See King’s article for the rest to avoid being in the “fail’ statistic.

See more “success” ideas in: “20 Directives for Small Business Success: Do or Die”

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The “Art of the Deal” When Business Building

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Your business depends on people to help you perform the various operations of your venture. You will need to develop and grow your customers and business affiliates.

You will need to develop partnerships and acquire important endorsements as your business grows. Sometimes, you’ll need to barter for services or materials. All of these actions require the ability to make deals or negotiations.

The question is..are there a few guides you can use when you are making the deal or negotiation? Another question is what is the “art” involved here? I’ll briefly describe these factors in this article.

Your attitude as you enter a deal-making situation is a strong indicator of the level of success you can expect to achieve. Communication is basically how humans share thoughts and ideas. There is no other way others can know what we think is important to our business. We are required to effectively relate what our business is about and how we intend to direct it. Hence, excellent communication skills will help you develop your business into the great organization you envision through great deals.

Attitude is a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, usually reflected in your behavior. Everybody has an attitude concerning the situations they find themselves in. What is the best attitude for deal making? As a business builder, you’ll need an attitude that grows your business not destroy it. A positive, hopeful attitude will help you build a business with a culture of positivity. Your workers will follow the leader and your customers will enjoy doing business with you. Additionally, your deals or negotiations will be more successful.

I will call the effective style of sharing information for business, observational speaking.Observational speaking is a style of communicating where you are completely aware of your receiver(s). That is, you’re observing the behaviors and mannerisms of the receiver(s) as you share thoughts or information then adjusting your message on the spot as needed. This takes practice but can be mastered with patient application.

Brent Beshore in “Deal-Making 101: The Basics Explained” shared: “The anatomy of a business deal is comprised of three basic components: the expected return, upside potential, and downside risk. Another way to describe this is to ask, “What do I expect to happen? What is the best possible scenario? What is the worst possible scenario?” The goal is to have a fair expected return, a huge upside, and very little downside.”

Beshore helped explained the “basics” of deal-making by defining four things to consider as you go forward.

First, determine the motivations of the person you’re negotiating with. This requires that you know as much about your negotiator as you possibly can. What success have they had in the past? What are their basic personal concerns as they go into this deal.This requires good listening and questioning skills to help you get to the bottom of what really matters in this interaction.

Second, know enough about the deal to allow you to offer various alternatives. There are usually several ways to solve a problem and your knowledge in this area will be extremely helpful. This will also help you determine the real value of the deal. It may not be your best alternative once you consider others.`

Third, intend to be creative as you move forward. Consider alternative ways to design the deal. Keep the motivations of your negotiator in mind. “The negotiated terms are merely serving the underlying motivations, so think creatively about how to satisfy the other party’s real interests.”Beshore

Fourth, focus making the deal as simple as possible. It’s so easy for things to get complicated and far removed from what is really necessary. Highlight the main points or concerns and keep your focus on just the essentials. You should be able to explain what you are agreeing to in simple and straightforward terms. A written agreement is essential for good business.

The “art” of the deal comes in when your personality, experiences and communications skills design the nature of the negotiation you’re participating in. You will artful apply your life experiences, personal style and knowledge to the situation to influence the deal and resulting outcome. You will improve the “art” you bring to the deal as you gain more experience in deal-making or negotiation.

Being aware of your attitude and using observational speaking will give you a good foundation for any negotiation. Knowing as much as you can about the motivations of your negotiation partner and being well informed about the deal is also helpful. Finally, being creative, keeping the negotiations simple and coming away with a written agreement will help you apply the “art of the deal” many times as you grow your business.

More Management guidance in: “20 Directives for Small Business Success: Do or Die”

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4 Guides To Test the Feasibility Of Your Innovation

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“Innovation is the specific function of entrepreneurship, whether in an existing business, a public service institution, or a new venture started by a lone individual in the family kitchen. It is the means by which the entrepreneur either creates new wealth-producing resources or endows existing resources with enhanced potential for creating wealth.” Peter Drucker

The future is fast approaching and we are right in the middle of tremendous change and opportunity. The tools needed for creating a grand future are in the hands of almost everybody. The “Goggle Library” and “You Tube” university provide all the knowledge we need to create new products and services to benefit society.

 

If you have a big dream and vision it would help to test it against a few attributes to determine the viability of your idea. There are many ways to evaluate your project. Here are just a few attributes to consider. According to Branden Kelley in “Innovation is All About Value” “Innovation transforms the useful seeds of invention into solutions valued above every existing alternative..and [is] widely adopted.”

The first test could be to determine if your innovation falls within one of the seven areas of innovation as defined by Peter Drucker.

1. Unexpected conditions, such as natural disasters, an unexpected previously reliable national, local or industry system failure.

2. Incongruities in system, process, operation or efficiencies such as incongruities in an educational system.

3. Incongruities between expectations and results such as found in many customer service processes. These process needs can be exploited, simplified or redesigned for your particular industry.

4. Demographic changes. Opportunities are available because of changes in numbers, age distribution, education, occupations, location and technology. Such as millions of people being out of work because of artificial intelligence or robots.

5. A change in the way people perceive a service or product. According to Drucker “A change in perception does not alter facts, it changes their meaning…It [this perception] can be defined, tested and exploited for innovation opportunity.” Such as a change in the perception of the value of computers over time.

6. Rapid industry growth. Changes are occurring at a faster rate than large businesses can handle. This gives the startup or entrepreneurial venture a real advantage. They can enter the market without competition for long periods of time.

7. New knowledge, in the areas of science, technology or sociology offer tremendous opportunities for innovation. Customer awareness and acceptance are the basic challenges when implementing knowledge based innovations

Therefore, the second test is to determine if the innovation is valuable to its potential customers. All types of market research is available to help you assess potential customer value. For example, will your product or service simplify or improve the customer experience in an industry?

The third test is to determine if the innovation is simple enough and small enough to implement. According to Drucker “To be effective, an innovation has to be simple, and it has to be focused. It should do only one thing; otherwise it confuses people. Indeed, the greatest praise an innovation can receive is for people to say, ‘This is obvious! Why didn’t I think of it? It’s so simple!’ Even the innovation that creates new users and new markets should be directed toward a specific, clear, and carefully designed application. Effective innovations start small.”

The fourth test would be whether or not potential customers already know the value of your innovation or will you need to educate and convince them of the value of your offering. Example, many education officials may not realize the preeminence of the ability to read and adopt continuous learning (as a set of skills) because of the ever increasing speed of change. Consequently, they may not realize the inherent value of any innovation around this skill set

Change is an inevitable force in our dynamic environment. Don’t fight it. Knowing how to manage change as an opportunity for innovation as you grow your small business will be a valuable skill that will put you far ahead of your competition. If you are unprepared for change, you could face disastrous business results. Human nature resists change. That’s the first obstacle you must face. Now also consider this, when building a sustainable enterprise one of your priorities should be to consistently engage in Proactive Innovation. In other words, you’re causing self imposed change. This greatly increases the change your enterprise will encounter. So how can you survive with this much change surrounding you? First of all, you must adopt the perspective that you willefficiently handle the uncertainty in this dynamic environment while initiating Proactive Innovation considering the feasibility tests as described above. You can, if you keep a Change Management framework in mind as you move through these circumstances. Next, your Purpose/Mission must be strongly shared throughout your venture. Additionally, your Values must be the principles used to operate everything in your venture. If they are not in place, managing any kind of change will be difficult.

Consider these guides and recommendations to enjoy successful innovations.

For foundation building see “20 Directives for Small Business Success: Do or Die

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The Superiority of a Purpose Driven Business

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Harvard Business Review Analytic Services conducted a survey sponsored by the EY Beacon Institute. They took a global survey of 474 executives. Most believe in the power of purpose driven organizations but only a few companies consciously embedded their purpose to a point where they have enjoyed the full benefits of a purpose-driven company. However, these were the ones to see measurable revenue growth, successful innovations, and ongoing transformation.

The definition of organizational purpose used by the researchers was: “an aspirational reason for being which inspires and provides a call to action for an organization and its partners and stakeholders and provides benefit to local and global society.” Ninety percent of the executives understand the power of purpose but only 46 percent reported that it helps guide their strategies and decisions.

“It’s an inside-out strategy rather than outside-in: you don’t just look at where the opportunities are and where you could make a lot of money as a way to decide where you ought to be. You decide where you want to be strategically, based on what you want to do,” said Michael Beer, HBS

“Every decision should be looked at in terms of purpose. Some decisions may be purpose neutral. But purpose is certainly not just a marketing issue or positioning of your brand image. Purpose should impact every aspect of the firm,” said Raj Sisodia, author of Conscious Capitalism 

We hear a lot about how to find your purpose or how to clarify your Mission. Actually, Mission and Purpose are the same things. Your Mission will describe simply “why” you’re in business. Why are you doing this?

If you do a quick study of the most successful businesses, you’ll see that a strong Purpose was at the center of that success. So the importance of an inspired Mission/Purpose and the need of being driven by it is one of the first things I want to emphasize in my efforts to share business building information.

I like to study legacy businesses so..

I’m going to tell a story about one of the best examples of a legacy businesses and their Mission I’ve found.

You’ve probably heard of the Birkenstock Shoe Company. They’ve been in business for 244 years. It’s one of my favorite case studies because it’s a great example of how a deeply engraved Vision can move you through years of success. Birkenstock was organized in 1774 and remains a highly successful company today.

The Birkenstock brand traces its roots to Johann Adam Birkenstock, registered in 1774 as a “shoemaker” in local church archives in a small village in Germany. In 1896 Johann’s great-great-grandson Konrad Birkenstock developed the first contoured insole for use by shoemakers in the production of custom footwear.

Actually, he was the one to develop the foundation and Mission of the company we have today.

Konrad Birkenstock ran the company with this Mission—to “craft premium quality shoes that are good for you”. If you study their history, you’ll see this common thread throughout Birkenstock’s existence. The timeline of his innovations and growth goes like this. From 1800 to 1900, Konrad Birkenstock opened two stores in Frankfurt, Germany and started making insoles for shoes

He studied the industry deeply. He was passionate about it. So as a result……..

For about 15 years Konrad Birkenstock held seminars and lectures to other shoe masters and organizations to explain his ideas for a custom shoe and also to get license contracts for the production of his footbed shoes. He traveled extensively throughout Germany and Austria.

Between 1900 and 1985 he continued on his Purpose to “craft premium quality shoes that are good for you”. Konrad used the orthopedic workshop at the Frankfurt hospital to manufacture footwear for wounded soldiers. During this time, he began leather manufacturing and his son Konrad Biirkenstock jr joined the organization.They gained many customers for what was called “The True Blue Footbed”. It was so successful that it resulted in many hours of manufacturing overtime for the company. The footbed was sold in: Austria, Italy, France, Denmark, Czechoslovakia, Luxembourg, Belgium, Norway, The Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland.

Birkenstock because of his extensive study and understanding of podiatry, held training classes for over 5000 specialists and this led to strong support from leading doctors of the time. In 1947, he published his first book titled “Podiatric System Birkenstock” which became the most widely read textbook on podiatry at the time.

During this timeframe, they developed and patented a self-coloring footprint paper. This gave them the ability to sell the Birkenstocks by mail order. They also invented another product called Birko-Cork, a pliable and workable thermal cork, developed for orthopedic use. In 1972, his second book entitled, “Book About Foot Health” went to print.

Another significant invention was the first electro-mechanical moulding machine. This helped them produce a variety of shoe sizes.This innovation put Birkenstock far ahead in world markets and they didn’t stop there. They kept inventing and produced another new material for orthopedic shoes called the Birko-Cell.

In 1987, Birkenstock was able to produce shoes in sizes up to 50. They used more than 2 million specialty catalogs to market their products. They had a deep understanding of how to market in that time.

In 1988, it became noticeable that Birkenstock was interested in having minimal impact on the environment because they began using environmentally friendly solvent-free glues for their production. True to their Mission/Purpose to “craft premium quality shoes that are good for you” 

Birkenstock led the way in environmental protection.

This time its shown in environmentally conscious manufacturing. They lowered their energy consumption by 90% by installing large heat regeneration units into the ventilation system. In addition, new systems used heat for the generation of electricity and gas filtration. I’m sure some of you know how that works. I don’t. It cut their impact on the environment.

By 1998, computer controlled processing enabled them to ship and receive 80,000 pairs of shoes per day. By 1999 they were supplying shoes all over the world.

You’ve probably also heard of the Footprints Company. Of course, this is a Birkenstock Company you can find online.

The Footprints company was organized and expanded its program into a trekking or hiking collection as well as ladies’ and men’s dress shoes.

Birkenstock was able to produce the world’s first super light weight EVA (ethylene vinyl Acetate)clog. We see that in the description of many shoes today. It’s like rubber, very flexible and durable.

Birkenstock is continuing to expand their facilities and styles to this day under the Purpose of “Crafting premium quality shoes that are good for you”

The current CEO recently stated.

“New manufacturing processes aided by the latest technologies and the development of new materials and attractive models all form the foundation for (pleasing our customers). In this way we will be able to offer you unique quality and unmatched comfort, walking and standing, today and tomorrow – you can rely on it.”

This demonstrates the power of a strong embedded purpose.

Your business purpose comes from a desire to contribute something. Your purpose could be mainly economic progress for yourself and partners or it can be geared toward contribution to an improved society. You have designed either of these from your personal desires. Therefore, your Purpose is a deeply held expression of what you believe you can do with your business. The importance of your Purpose will become clearer as you follow my podcasts.

There are a few questions you can ask yourself to help you determine whether or not you have a purpose you can strongly embed into a business.

Ask yourself these questions:

Are you excited about your business venture? Are you fulfilling a life-long dream? Are you excited to get up everyday to work on your venture? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have the beginnings of a deeply embodied business purpose. A deeply embodied business Purpose (Mission) is a purpose that motivates you dramatically, gives you a sense of well being and brings you joy.

If this is the state you’re in, congratulations. Your business has a much higher chance of success than many of the other businesses trying to make it.You will need a strong Purpose to get you through the many difficulties of building a business.

Craig and Snook shared an interesting finding in an article “ From Impact to purpose”explaining: “Business experts make the case that purpose is a key to exceptional performance, while psychologists describe it as the pathway to greater well-being. So a strong Purpose has business and psychological advantages.

Doctors have even found that people with purpose in their lives are less prone to disease. Purpose is increasingly being put forth as the key to navigating the complex, volatile, ambiguous world we face today, where strategy is ever changing and few decisions are obviously right or wrong.” Purpose keeps you grounded and moving in the right direction.

As the designer of your new business, you can do anything you want to do. Designing a Purpose that energizes you can be your first step. This can also be your first step to building legacy.

More on Purpose, Values and Vision in: “20 Directives for Small Business Success: Do or Die”

Supporting information easily available at: https://goo.gl/NkDvWz

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Episode #7 Integrity as a Business Value

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You, as founder, are responsible for designing, modeling and promoting the Culture that will be most supportive of your Mission/Purpose. The Culture is made up of the Values or principles that are most appropriate for reaching your Vision. You are responsible for making these core Values become habits in your organization. We look at the advantages of adopting Integrity as one of your core business Values and believe that better control of your organization is one essential advantage. It’s also easier to solicit and keep your customers and employees with Integrity as a core Value. You will see how integrity leads to higher degrees of trust and motivation all around. It’s worth considering. Should Integrity be at the top of your list of business Values?

Resources:

Craig Cincotta” The 8 Values Every Company Should Live By

“The Difference Between Ethics and Integrity” Shane of Zoomstart.com

“Seven Principles of Business Integrity” by IntegritySolutions

 

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Podcast #6 The Elegance of Simplicity in Business Building

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Simplicity as a business value or principle is presented as a “Super” value. A value used by some of the most profitable businesses. Simplicity as a value, will help you build a strong and sustainable business because you’ll eliminate everything you really don’t need by developing the habit of making things simple. This is another secret of some of the most successful 21st century enterprises.

Resources:

“Simplicity in Business: To Be Simple is to Be Focused” Victoria Vessella

Chris Zook Bain and Company

“Simplicity-Minded Management” Ron Ashkenas

 

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Podcast #5 Values and Culture con’t

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8 “super” values identified in episode #4 are explored. I apply these Values to 3 extraordinary and legendary businesses. This helps in the understanding of how to apply great values and the importance of the results your business will see as you apply them.

Resources:

Craig Cincotta 

Zappos Core Values

The Birkenstock Shoe Company

 

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