When a Business Looks Like a Diamond

1 Nov by Stephen Boane

People want to buy a business that operates with the precision seen in a beautifully cut diamond. I used to say, “We have created a jewel” when talking about my own business.  What this means is that the business operates like this, in four parts:

  1. FOCUSED.  Its operating model is focused, not all things to all people. It remains opportunistic but with purpose and consistency and in a way that builds on strengths without creating distraction. Change and innovation are a large part of the business but these things are intentional, organized and process driven.
  2. MEASURED BROADLY. It is run off a precise set of core metrics that are known throughout the company but nearly everything else is measured also. The core metrics drive operations directly towards revenue growth, cash flow, customer satisfaction, employee retention and margin growth.
  3. MEASURED IN DETAIL.  The metrics the business generates that are not part of the core are at the individual unit or functional level.  There is constant examination of these measurements against known standards and desired goals. These metrics are used to refine and fine tune the business at places as granular as a process or position level.  We used to say, “There is not a particle of light that hits the business that we don’t measure.”
  4. CONSISTENT.  Operationally every day looks the same, but better.  When the operating model works, and works at scale, then the path to expand the model into new geographies or complimentary markets is clear.  This means people work with role clarity, against known and shared definitions of success, with a bigger picture in mind.  Inside this type of business there is a lot of employee satisfaction because they know when they are succeeding and the growth creates career opportunities. 

The only gripe about this kind of operational precision is that does not create excitement on a daily basis.  There are no crises du jour to overcome, no dramatic moves that make executives look like heroes.  A diamond-like business just makes money, the right way – with high employee and customer satisfaction, and predictable results.