Respect the Process
Updated: Jul 1, 2019
An old sales manager of mine was fond of saying, “it takes ONE woman NINE months to have a baby. You can’t put nine women in a room and have a baby in one month. There’s a process to achieving desired results in everything. You can’t rush it or skip steps. Respect the process.”
A little more than a year ago, I “hit the wall” in my business. I realized I was working too hard, and filling all the available hours of the day with work, yet still not making the money I wanted to make. My business growth had slowed to a crawl. I felt like both I and the business were "capped out". There was no way I could keep going, doing what I'd been doing. I knew something had to change. I sat down and did a two-day deep-dive into what was working, and what wasn’t working in my business, with two small business growth coaches (one of whom is also part of the MBU coaching team – John Tooher).
A lot of great insights and solutions came out of those two days, but they helped me see, very clearly, almost all of my challenges could be boiled down to one simple fact – many of my business processes were fundamentally broken, and it was my job to fix them.
The biggest area in need of improvement was our product development process, something John could speak directly to, with his background in manufacturing at GE and 3M. He got me to see that my process needed a major overhaul.
But, the thing was - I was doing it the same way everyone else in my industry seemed to be doing it! I had adopted the process all my peers were using, the one the industry forced upon us. We were all using the same, broken process - because we didn't know any better.
We’ve all been skipping critical steps, some most of us aren’t even aware of, and treating promotion like an afterthought. It's up to us, as brand owners, to adopt the processes which are going to lead to our success, not let our vendors or peers dictate our process to us.
Adopting the more fully developed product development process of a more mature company made a HUGE difference in my business. I could see right away how our results had been limited by the steps we were skipping in past product launches. Making sure we implemented the missing steps, and that we were sticking to the process, brought us closer and closer to the point where the success of a new product launch was a certainty.
Fixing our product development process fixed a lot of what was wrong with my business, and made it easier to fix the other things which were wrong. Pricing, promotion, distribution strategy, marketing, operations - they all were in need of an overhaul, and I finally had the tools to do it.
When I look at many startup brands, I see they’re not only skipping steps in their product development process, they’re skipping steps in the development and launch of the brands/businesses themselves. Many brand owners start with product design, then plan their product launch and brand launch together, then think about promotion, then worry about pricing. It's all disjointed, out of order, and missing key components.
The point of the MBU workshops is to give startup brand owners the tools needed to fix their broken processes, launch successfully, and accelerate their business growth.