In our last article on the subject of building a house of business , we took up the first crucial factor, vision. We discussed how a vision, to succeed, must become action, and its creator must, above all, persist.
Now let’s go into some other very vital elements of vision.
It’s true of any entrepreneur that, when they’re envisioning their house of business, they must create value. This is also true of a salesperson, who is an entrepreneur within the enterprise, as they are also building something.
How does this value come about? It comes about through a new approach, or service, or form, one that hasn’t been taken before. An entrepreneur or a salesperson is always seeking to add value. What makes the value clear for the buyer is specialization—what specific benefit will that particular buyer obtain? From a product standpoint, that’s what we’re doing with Pipeliner CRM, because we’re constantly improving it for salespeople.
When your vision is not geared around the value brought to the buyer—the one who pays for, buys into, and follows your vision—then that vision won’t come into fruition. In other words, it’s just a dream. It can be, as we’ve seen many times throughout the years, a very expensive and painful dream (here’s an example). Someone has invested all their time, energy and resources, and the consumer’s interest and desire wasn’t reflected in the product or service bought to market.
There are even times, though, when the buyer is taken into consideration, the commitment is there—and you’re still not successful. We see examples of this all around us in restaurants. Someone can certainly invest vision, time, money, love and everything else, and it can still fail. According to an article in CNBC, around 60 percent of restaurants fail within their first year, and nearly 80 percent will close within 5 years.
Needless to say, it’s still risky! You can have a vision, but there are many components to it.
Another important aspect is location. Let’s stay with the example of a restaurant for a moment. You might have everything done correctly, but if you have the wrong location, customers will not be arriving.
An interesting observation is that restaurants seem to do better in the vicinity of other restaurants. An early and famous example of this is Restaurant Row in Los Angeles, about 2 miles of restaurants on La Cienega Boulevard which has been a top culinary destination for over 50 years. Another example is my favorite mall, Westfield Mall in Los Angeles, where there are many different kinds of cuisine and choices, and they’re always crowded. People love variety!
If you’re building any kind of brick-and-mortar business, location is everything. Square footage for buildings is even priced based mainly on location—the higher the price the better the location. The location aspect applies to residences, too..
The Virtual Location
With many kinds of businesses, though, today’s internet-enabled digital business world means that location doesn’t matter. For knowledge workers, location isn’t an issue when they’re not having to drive to an office.
The virtual office is one progressive move we at Pipeliner made several years before it was fashionable. Such a business model means that employees can live wherever they like, as long as they have internet connectivity. As an example, we have one employee who lives thousands of miles from the company headquarters, on a lake in Canada. Her remote location doesn’t affect what she does for us. This means that, as long as it’s not dependent on physical location, a business can truly be anywhere.
Virtual location means that your house of business can be bigger and more powerful than ever. Just using ourselves as an example, we’re collecting intelligent employees from all over the world, and hiring them right where they live. They just need to have an infrastructure for themselves.
This model saves a huge amount of aggravation. In Los Angeles, the average drive to and from work is 1 1/2 hours each way. That means the average person must sit between 2 1/2 to 3 hours in a car. One of my senior executives resides in the San Diego area. If I were to make him drive to my headquarters every day, he would be spending 2 – 3 hours each way. That would mean up to 6 hours a day behind the wheel of a car, or 25 – 30 hours per week. How long is this sustainable?
He could, of course, relocate to be closer to the office. But he would most likely pay far more for a house of comparable size in L.A. than where he currently lives. He’s then not getting the same value for the money for himself and his family, despite cutting down on the drive.
Fortunately, we’re a virtual company, so this isn’t an issue.
The virtual company is a very democratizing model. For the first time in history, if you’re smart, and you’re a knowledge worker, you can choose wherever you want to live on Earth. You can do pretty much everything you can in a physical office. You can meet “face to face” through video conferencing, you can share files and collaborate, you can have conferences.
For us, this is where the rubber meets the road, and how we can hire the best people we can find. Years ago, this was impossible—when you were hired, it was a matter of, “You have to be here. We have to see each other at least a couple of times a week.” That has disappeared since I have been in business.
The next point of vision, which is just as important, maybe even more important than location, is timing.
The Ancient Greek had two different methods of viewing time. One was chronos, which referred to chronological or sequential time, and kairos, which meant the right, critical, or most opportune moment. Here we are talking about kairos.
You could have a product or service that is too futuristic, too far ahead of its time. You miss the right time, because people aren’t there yet, so the product doesn’t sell.
The same could be said for a product that is too far behind the times. A drastic example would be trying to scale up an enormous company that dealt in horse-drawn carriages. Such transport is only used in isolated areas—New York and New Orleans, for example—as a tourist attraction. No one would ever use such an outmoded method for actual transportation.
Mikhail Gorbachev summed up the concept of timing very well when he said, “Life punishes those who come too late.”
With Pipeliner CRM, we know we’ve arrived at the right time because:
1. No company will survive that has not made the move from the analog to the digital world. That’s where we live.
2. In the digital world, everyone needs a CRM. Without CRM, you cannot survive, because it is the vital information link between your company and your customers.
3. Knowledge must be able to be easily, rapidly and accurately shared within a company.
4. Data is vital to company survival, and data flow of a high level and precision is only possible in the digital world.
5. The last vital point is digital processes, which are enabled by CRM. No company can survive without them, either. This has been incredibly well-demonstrated by Jeff Bezos with Amazon, who I consider to be a master of processes. I no longer have to shop for vital items—they’re just delivered to my front door.
So in terms of timing, we know we’re at the precise right time for a CRM.
When building a house of business, make sure your vision includes value, location, and timing!