PJ's Pen

Smart Business (and just a little stupid humor!)

The 4 P’s of Planning

Finding yourself using numbers as your primary measure of success? How about stepping back and using some words instead.  Take a break from the numbers and reinvigorate with these 4 words:  Purpose, Product, Process, People

  1. PurposeWhy are you doing what you’re doing?

Your purpose for existence is the single most important factor in determining your chances for success.  Re-examine your specific purpose for your endeavor and ensure that your’re adding value to your community or constituency or customers.  Meet a need; provide a previously unavailable service or product; provide an improved service or product; create a new technology; provide useful information.  Be dignified.  Set value goals.  (Note – Start over again if your first answer is to make money.  Really, nobody else cares if YOU make money.)

By establishing a meaningful purpose, you can immediately enroll a community of supporters or customers (a.k.a. establish your target audience.)  From there, you can craft your messaging (a.k.a. marketing) which will describe your business offering’s value to that community.  Give the people a reason to care and tell that what you do for them.

Examples: An investment advisor’s basic purpose is to grow the value of other people’s money over a long period of time; any non-profit’s basic purpose is to provide specific resources to improve the lives of people in need; a “Post-it” note’s purpose is to provide a convenient method for temporarily attaching notes to documents and other surfaces.

  1. Product – What do you do?

Start with simplicity.  If you’re having trouble coming up with a quick response to this question, then you are likely struggling with sales, support, or even interest in your business.  Let’s go back to some elementary school grammar lessons.

Choose a noun that represents your essential business offering: store, service, program, etc.

Now add an adjective that starts to distinguish: toy store, repair service, after-school program.

Now add a modifier or 2 that will set you apart from others, and demonstrate your passion, your expertise, and your unique value: vintage toy store, 24-hour repair service, free after-school program.

Once you’ve clearly identified your core offering using simple terms, you can then focus on how to sell it.

  1. Process – How do you do what you do?

What activities do you need to undertake in order to produce this awesome, unique offering that will wow your target audience?

This is all about the verbs!  And in order to maintain your commitment to dignified purpose and high quality product, always describe your process in terms of what you provide.   As noted above, if you’re not providing anything to anyone, then who is going to care about you?

These verbs, a.k.a processes, are your core competencies; your expertise; your passion and your operational focus.  Execute these verbs using the highest standards.  Be the best at what you do.

Examples:  Providing high-quality dental care; informing local citizens about emergency procedures; counseling troubled youth; fixing brakes; teaching art; entertaining kids in hospitals; housing the homeless; writing a newspaper or magazine column (or a blog post!!)

People – Who does it?

An organization’s reputation is defined by the people who work there and the leadership they demonstrate.  What do you think of when you think of Apple?  How about Enron?

Now is the time to think critically about yourself.  Assess your own strengths and weaknesses and work preferences and create a complementary, balanced team that has strengths all around.  This is not just about sales types vs. bean counter types.  This is about leadership.  I like this definition:  Leadership is a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent. 

Sometimes being a leader means taking a back seat.   Sit back and enjoy the ride, and let someone else do the driving!  They might take you down a new route where you’ll discover something fantastic!

So invest in these wise words and you may just find that the numbers start multiplying!

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This entry was posted on January 4, 2012 by in Consulting, Marketing, Strategy and tagged , , .
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