Guident Newsletter – October 2018 – Issue 29

Step #1 – You are a business first!

When I first begin working with a new business, I often hear business owners say they are printers, landscapers, mechanics, etc.  The first step in changing a culture and growing a business is to change the way the business owner sees their company. You are a business owner who is first running a business that happens to do printing, you are a business owner who is first running a business that happens to do landscaping, and you are a business owner who is first running a business that happens to repair automobiles.  It’s a new discipline for most small to midsize business owners who relate the business to their personal talents.

One of the businesses I was a partner in was a sign company.  We built the types of signs you see on the street corners and on the fronts of buildings.  We had a talented workforce, but the business was stagnant. In order for us to grow the business, we had to change the way we thought of ourselves.  Most all of our employees see our business as a sign company building signs. The business had the ability to be much more than a sign company, but first, we had to change our culture.  As owners, we had to begin to think of ourselves as a business that just happened to be build signs. Even more, we had to think of ourselves as first running a business that had the ability to manufacture things other than just signs.  

Once we began to shift our thinking in this direction, we began to see all the potential the business had to offer.  Our sales staff began to look for opportunities in our market to partner with area manufacturing companies who had overflow work.  We had capacity in our workforce and in our facility to take on their overflow. As a result, we began to manufacture items for other companies creating revenue streams which didn’t exist before and which added profits to our bottom line.  By the time I left, eight years later, our business had grown top line sales by 800% and had customers throughout the United States and Canada.

The challenge is “business versus company” thinking.  When a business owner opens their mind and creates a culture which sees the company as a business first, the opportunities will show themselves.  We discovered that we were first and foremost a business, which just happened to be in manufacturing.