Now that you've chosen your target market and understand the competitive landscape, how do you fit in? The easiest way to find out is to take a snapshot-a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). Included in this should be:
- A cost analysis-what does it cost you to deliver the product and service?
- What are the financial resources and constraints of the company?
- What are your distinctive assets and liabilities?
- What strategic questions do you have?
In part one of this series, I talked about honoring your core values, and the relative ease of expressing your passion when you operate from those values. The same is true for your company. What does the company stand for? Clearly it is there to make money, but money is the byproduct of a well-run organization. A company that understands and operates from its ethical core will also produce a sustainable business with satisfied customers, fulfilled employees, industry respect and the potential to do great things.
External Analysis & Internal Imperatives
It is easy to look around today and see examples of companies that either didn't have an ethical core, or moved away from it. How else could one explain how company executives could lock down their employees' stock investments while remaining free to sell stock themselves? That kind of behavior is evocative of the galley slaves in Ben Hur that were shackled to the oars as the ship was sinking.
Executives only responding to the external demands of Wall Street might see a short-term financial uptick, but they'll ultimately pay the price by compromising the company's long-term sustainability. To build a healthy business (as contrasted with the smash-and-grab mentality of many of the dotcoms), core values must be part of the business culture and woven into the business plan. Ask yourself: What are my values, and how am I honoring them in the way I do business?
The final article in this series will examine how to build a values-based marketing plan.
Rebecca Cooper is a professional and personal coach who works with visionary people seeking to create and live authentic lives. She helps provide clarity, illuminate choices and reflect the passion of her clients. To explore what's next in your life, e-mail her at Rebecca@authentes.comor visit her Web site at www.authentes.com.