When I first moved to Denver I saw a commercial on the television with the graphics fall, winter, spring, and construction on the screen. In the commercial they spoke about freeway construction and reminded everyone to be careful when driving through the construction zones. It showed some pictures of the fall colors, winter sports, spring flowers, and construction workers.
Now I am no construction expert, but drive around Denver area enough and you’ll see a lot of construction in various stages.
That got me thinking about how a business is built one day as I sat in traffic.
It all starts with planning.
There is a lot of planning that goes on with freeway construction. There are planners, engineers, contractors, and all sorts of people from the city, county, or state involved.
In business, before you have a product, you start with a vision. You need a purpose. You need customers. You need to research your market, your customer base, your competition. Planning for all of these before you put any money into a business is essential to the success of your business. That is why most businesses start with a business plan.
It takes some digging.
In freeway construction they have to dig down to get to the proper depth for the project to be strong enough to withstand the wear and tear from the elements and by vehicles, and have enough room to encase all of the reinforcement built into the foundation.
In business, you have to dig deep to find out what it is the customer wants. In today’s Digital World, customers change their mind quickly due to the amount of information coming at them on a daily basis. Successful businesses keep current on what their customers want and have the ability to change as their market does.
It takes a lot of framework.
Even though in today’s construction where they use a lot of prefabricated beams and joists, there is still a lot of pour in place work being done. The framework establishes the boundaries of where the work will be done.
In business, it is important to set boundaries and know not only where you want to go, but where you don’t want to go. Apple is a good example of a company that says no to a lot of products because they don’t fit in their boundaries. You need to set your boundaries by having a strong set of core values.
It takes a lot of reinforcement.
In freeway construction they use rebar and metal brackets to tie things together to provide a good base for the concrete to be supported with. Without that the construction would even tually crumble.
In business, a company needs strong reinforcements. This comes through the hiring of the best employees they can, and training them to provide the value their customers are looking for. You also need to have strong outside help as well from vendors and others who are an integral part of the team.
It needs a solid foundation.
Once the framework and reinforcement is complete the foundation is poured.
The foundation is the base that holds everything together. In construction it holds all of the reinforcement material built into the work.
In business, Leadership is the foundation of a company. Without good leadership you may see some short term success, but eventually your business will fail.
In the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership John Maxwell talks about Fourth law of Leadership, The Law of Navigation which says “Anyone can steer a ship, but it takes a Leader to Chart the Course.”
There is a base coat of paving.
The paving goes over the foundation and provides the surface we drive on. Without the right surface we would be driving over an uneven surface, full of pot holes that would make driving hazardous.
In business, the paving is your products and services. When you develop your products and services you need to keep your customers in mind. Why do they need your products or services? How are they going to use them? How often will they use them?
Then the finishing touches.
The striping of the lanes is a way keep drivers focused on where they want to go. Without them people would be driving all over the place and it would be dangerous to be on the road.
In business, your branding is the finishing touch on your company. Marketing to your customers on a consistent basis is the way to keep your customers focus ed on your brand.
It takes maintenance.
It takes maintenance to keep our roads in tip top shape. Without the maintenance our roads would soon be in disrepair and a lot harder to drive on.
In business, you need to not only maintain your business, but to grow your business. You accomplish this by providing the best customer service. Period. You can have the best products and services in the world, but if you are lacking in customer service, you will be lacking in customers.