The Pillars of Business

Most businesses build upon one pillar. This can cause problems as it’s not stable or balanced. You focus on the customers or the sales opportunities only you feel because this is where the cash is, that this is the main goal to build your business on.

This starts to fall apart when you have an unhappy employee that shows to your customers or a supplier who isn’t paid on time so gives you a higher price. You need 4 pillars to grow and prosper with stability. What are these pillars?

Customers — The people you sell to, who come and buy your product or service

Suppliers — These guys make everything work so that you can sell and grow

Eployees — The workforce, the people who work for you

Investors — Most likely you if you’re a small business, these guys own the business.

People have business philosophies or values or their mission statements but if you wanted something to truly set your business in the awesome category then it would go something like this;
“Our aim, our goal, our passion, is to give the best experience that our customers, suppliers, employees and investors will not get anywhere else. Ever.”

Hang it above the door. So what’s the trick?

Customers
Most people have this nailed down. Whether you’re pitching or cold calling or you’re a shop, and you’re relying on footfall, most people focus on this pillar alone as it is. If you’re in business, you have to be good with customers or hire someone who is.

Suppliers
You’ll have a supply chain in your business. Whether you sell products or you provide services, you will have costs that you incur to make those sales. This chain is made up of people and businesses that you rely on to be awesome 24/7 so don’t upset them.

Just because you pay them each month or per order doesn’t mean you’re superior and at the same time, don’t alienate yourself either. Talk to your suppliers, let them know what’s going on and the direction your business is going. You’re all in business together, and you’ll grow together too — if you’re doing it right then you’ll have a queue of businesses wanting to work with you.

Employees
This is the big one. It’s not rocket science but if your employees aren’t happy then they won’t stick around or they’ll dread coming to work or be disgruntled. You’d be crazy if you think the customer cannot notice this. Attitude is everything and you want happy, helpful employees in your workplace, shouting great things about your brand, your product and your business.

You cannot be too secluded — employees need to feel like they are on this journey with you, and if the business is successful then they are part of that success too. To an extent, let them do what they want. Don’t be strict on a dress code, more and more businesses are using “Smart Casual” as their uniform these days. I’m sure you’ve heard of Google and Facebook’s work environments with slides, BBQ’s, sleep pods, rollerblades and that’s awesome. The key here is to find the balance that works for your business because a great working environment equals happy employees, and that drives your customers up.

Set realistic goals and talk with your employees — offer training and development so they can grow with your business and the higher retention you have, the less you pay in recruiting and training costs as well.

Investors
This is you. This is aimed at small businesses so usually you’ll be involved, either sharing a business or the sole owner.

Remember, it’s your passion and drive that started the business in the first place, and if that motivation falters then customers will see that. Too often you see business owners lose their way and end up running a loss making company just for the fun of doing something. Either that or they make hardly any money compared to when they were employed — was it really worth it?

Have goals and clear plans in place to grow and move your business forward. You’re driving so keep your eyes on the road and reach your milestones. Turnover £100,000 this financial year, sure that’s great, but how will you achieve that? What needs to be done? The worst thing you can do is be delusional and set yourself impossible challenges. Nothing removes motivation faster.

So, as you can see, all four pillars are needed for the business. It’s more than just customers. It’s bigger than that. Look at your business. Can you see your pillars and are any of them missing, or weak or secure? Analyse your weak spots, fix them, and your business will grow as a result.

Thanks for reading! Look out for more like this on my Medium page or on my website.