Business Innovation 7P's Playbook Introduction
Scaling your business isn't always quick or easy. Technology, digital transformation, and evolving consumer attitudes have disrupted the status quo – and that doesn't only apply to big business. Disruption comes in many guises, but when you're talking about a family business, the changes—or unwillingness to change—is a make-or-break situation.
In a nutshell, what served you well up to this point won't get you where you want to be. If you're going to grow your business into a profitable future, you'll need to embrace new ways of thinking and doing, and that's what this series is about.
As more family businesses are handed down to the next generation, there are more changes afoot than you might imagine. Leadership styles are different, strategies will change, risks will be taken, innovation is a priority. While the previous generation might have been well aware of the need for change, they either didn't have the energy for it, didn't know where to start, or weren't willing to take the risk.
Innovation in Three Ways
If you have visions of taking your family business to the next level, you might find that your parents or grandparents don't quite see things your way. But don't give up so quickly – you might have an uphill climb ahead, but sometimes disruption is needed to move forward.
Innovation and change are essential for any kind of growth and advancement. The three types of innovation you'll want to consider are product innovation, process innovation, and business model innovation. So let's have a look at what they mean.
1. Product Innovation
“New and improved” is always an exciting concept. Whether you're talking about cuisine, tools, or technology, offering people a better way to do things they already do is an easy sell. For example, smartphones are great, but waterproof smartphones are better. Who wouldn't want one? Maybe you've pioneered a way to farm shrimp sustainably that doesn't harm people or our oceans. If your improved product changes the way people think about things they do every day, you're already winning.
2. Process Innovation
Process innovation might not be immediately noticeable to the average person, but its implementation helps you reduce costs, boost productivity, and maximize your time and resources. There are millions of examples of process innovation through the ages. Henry Ford's implementation of the automobile assembly line to shorten time-to-market is just one. Present-day examples include artificial intelligence (AI), robotic technology, and the Internet of Things, all of which make processes more reliable, cost-effective, and data-rich.
3. Business Model Innovation
Recent years have seen many business models disrupted, meaning that processes we once accepted as the norm was replaced, virtually overnight, by a new approach. Think about what Airbnb has done to the accommodation industry, or how Uber and Lyft transformed the way we get around. Amazon is probably the undisputed king of business innovation, as the approaches they pioneered soon became expectations for all other online merchants.
Of course, the things that will make your business more valuable will be unique to you, and your goal might not necessarily be to dominate the known universe of whatever it is you do. Whatever you decide should be based on your goals, both for the business and for you personally. There are plenty of opportunities to fulfill those goals and lots to think about along the way.
For example, how long do you intend to stay in business? How fast do you want to grow? Where would you invest money into the company if you had the opportunity to do so?
And perhaps most poignantly, how well is your family aligned with your ambition? If you expect (or are already getting) pushback, you need to get that house in order first before you can affect any forward movement.
Plus, you'll need to achieve some personal growth along the way. Working with a coach helps guide you through some of the common pitfalls, but ultimately, it's a critical step in preparing for what lies ahead. You'll need to learn how to recognize your blind spots, not overestimate your strategic capabilities, and accept that you don't know it all.
Your Playbook for Growth
Every leader needs a playbook. Like any journey, you're going to need a roadmap to get you to your destination. That roadmap is what I call the 7P's Playbook. I have seen first-hand how the skilled use of the right tools can transform the growth mindset.
The 7P's Playbook provides clarity around what it takes to achieve your business goals. We'll get into each of the P's in subsequent articles, but I urge you to download a copy or purchase my book in hardcover so you can access all the details you'll need to put these ideas into action. I also encourage you to speak to me about coaching – because every good leader knows the importance of having a strong team.
So here are the 7 P's from my 7P's playbook. If you are planning to disrupt your family business, if you desire growth in the realm of five to 10 times your current revenues, you need to follow these principles:
Redefine your Purpose. Be clear on your “why.”
Plan for your 10x. You can't scale your business without a plan.
Redefine your Products. Differentiation is what's going to push you over the top.
Set Priorities. You need clear objectives if your plan is going to succeed.
Build new Processes. Well-defined processes are essential so that others can execute your vision.
You could easily begin at any one of the P's as each one builds on itself. However, the best place to start is by defining why you're doing what you're doing, so Purpose is as right a place to begin as any.
Come back next month when we'll take a deeper dive into the playbook with Purpose.