Planning, Passion and Purpose in Great Companies
Many Colleges and Universities have a center for small business, some have programs for family businesses and a few even offer degrees in Family Business Management. Many if not all offer classes on business plans, strategic plans, tactical plans, short term plan, 5 year plan and some even offer a Microsoft version of Craft-master’s paint-by-number; on how to complete the chart.
Many if not all family businesses were started for other reasons than consumption. It’s not only about consumption. Consumption, in economics, is the final using up of goods and services. In great family businesses and classical economics, consumers/family members are assumed to be rational and to allocate expenditures in such a way as to maximize total satisfaction from all purchases. Incomes and price are seen as consumption’s two major determinants. Critics of the model have pointed out that there are many exceptions to rational consumer behavior for example; the phenomenon of conspicuous consumption, in which the high price of a product, increases its prestige and adds to demand. Great family businesses begin with vision, an opportunity and agreement.
This week we celebrate Memorial Day. Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed annually in the United States on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War. (Southern ladies organizations and southern schoolchildren had decorated Confederate graves in Richmond and other cities during the Civil War, but each region had its own date. Most dates were in May.) By the 20th century Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died in all wars.
Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. As a marker it typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end. Many family businesses were founded by veterans returning from WWII, taking advantage of the GI Bill, earning a college degree and creating an entity.
Many if not all of these companies were founded with heart. A place where people could come together, earn a fair wage and give back. Founding from the heart creates a place where people come together; where the team is more important than any idea or plan. The top three priorities should be people, followed by people, and then respected by people. Sometimes, some folks miss the key words, earned and respect. Great leaders think big start small; aim with a rifle shot not a cannon-aide barrage.
Making a plan, completing some spreadsheet can never replace the passion and purpose of your business. That vision, desire and agreement has to be there day one. The best strategic business plan linked to a detailed tactical plan; who does what’ when, creates little or no buy-in without a genuine commitment behind the idea and the dedication to keep going.
As organizations evolve from Entrepreneurial to Managerial to Professional the allegiance to the vision needs to transcend. The devotion to the idea needs to be part of the culture. Training and ownership are part of the evolution; individuals feel a responsibility to get things done and make the organization better.