The three keywords in the title culture, revenue, and living determine the path to success for those in business during the 21st century.
There was a pattern of technology driven bubbles that repeated for 150 years were sellers took advantage of buyers and buyers becoming wary of the seller’s promises and products. As the 20th century ended there was a seller culture of short-term focused thinking about buyers in terms of sticky contracts, targets, share of wallet, and readiness for upsell or cross sell.
With the approach of the 21st century technology started to change the world again. These 21st century technologies transferred the control of the buyer seller relationship back to the buyer. Databases like Yahoo and Google, buying services like eBay and Amazon, plus social media, and independent product reviews eliminated naïve buyers. The sellers became transparent – not primarily by design but more because of these technologies. Sellers could no longer make promises that their operations and delivery did not fulfill without being exposed. Sellers no longer controlled the flow of the information the buyers needed to make decisions. The literature and brochures that salespeople used to control of the buyer were now available in a digital world without any salesperson involvement as were complaints and lawsuits.
This new transparency makes the difference between what the seller says and what the seller does clear to any potential buyer or employee interested enough to go to the web. This increased the seller’s challenge to hire enough talented staff to sell and support their products. Now these employees have lots of choices, are reasonably compensated, and yet they demand more. The 21st century employee who is reasonably paid also demands to do something interesting and important. The days of treating employees as a placeholder until software or robotics replace them are over. In other word today’s employees want to work in purpose driven culture that provides value to the buyers.
This 150-year business history is why the three words culture, revenue, and living are so important to staff, buyers, and sellers today. Transparency and the resulting awareness deliver value to sellers, buyers, employees, and the community when they all live a revenue culture. Over the 150 years when the seller dominated the relationship the sellers took advantage of the buyers, their employees, and communities.
Today with the buyer in charge the successful seller has learned to start with a purpose driven culture. This purpose needs to be bigger than just making the seller rich. Sellers must be profitable, or they will not survive, yet the best way to be profitable is to have a culture that adds value to the buyers, motivation to the staff, and makes the community better off. Sellers that organize themselves in this way not only have a good culture, but they live a repeatable revenue culture.
This is why Culture is the first of the fundamental words. The second is revenue. There are two ways to produce enough profitable revenue to survive. The first is to be lucky. Being lucky is some combination of being in the right place at the right time with the right product or service and the right connections. Being lucky is always a good idea but not scalable or predictable. There are people who choose to be in business only when the luck is with them, it is easy, and the opportunity is right. These people will enter and exit businesses the same way some investors enter and exit the stock market. Those who enter and exit frequently seldom have the intent of passing value to their buyers’ staff or community. Their intent is to get in, make money, and get out. This group thinks business is finite.
There are lots of stories about people who get in and out of businesses or business investments at just the right time and make a lot of money. You see this finite behavior in stock investments, real estate investments, and certain types of bubble businesses. For every person who is successful in these short-term ventures there are many more who fail.
In Simon Sinek’s book the “Infinite Game” he compares these short-term players to those who play the “Infinite Game” over the long-term. Long-term survival and success is built on transferring value to buyers, staff, and community that justifies profitable payments in return.
When an organization understands that long-term success is about transferring and monetizing buyer value that justifies the seller earning profit – the concept of a predictable business culture becomes obvious and is highly desirable vs hoping for luck as a strategy.
This is why the infinite model starts with a business purpose much more worthy than short-term profits. This revenue producing purpose is designed from an ideal buyer back to assure monetized value and to understand why the buyer’s world will be better with this partnership than any other choice available. This purpose also needs to be desirable to employees and the community.
The purpose that adds value to the buyer, is desirable to employees, and enhances the community results in the alignment that drives innovation and execution to the benefit of all. Businesses with this type of purpose do not worry about getting or keeping either buyers or staff.
For these cultures revenue is not the goal but the natural outcome of deploying and executing on the purpose. This approach not only increases the topline, but reduces the sales cycle, increases the margin, while reducing turnover in staff and customers.
The third fundamental word is “living” which is both the simplest and most difficult part of “Living a Revenue Culture”. That 150-year period after the Civil War created bad habits based on myths supported by the thousands of frenzy induced bubbles. These bad habits and myths found their way into literature and a business school education. Now those myths and habits show themselves in the Cost of Chaos to produce revenue. The Cost of Chaos to produce revenue in a B2B company is at least 20 to 30% of that company’s top line ($2 to 3,000,000.00 for a $10,000,000.00 company). For more than half of those companies the Cost of Chaos is 40 to 50% of the top line ($4 to 5,000,000.00 for a $10,000,000.00 company). That chaos is a result of the way these organizations live in their current random culture.
Those committed to “Living a Revenue Culture” will need to change the habits and banish the myths to reduce the chaos to less than 10%. This “living” is required to create the culture that will attract ideal buyers and staff. No buyer or staff member wants to work in an organization that forces them to endure 20 to 50% of the relationship time in chaos. When an organization has a purpose, the staff work there because they are committed to advancing the purpose. If 30 to 50% of their time and energy is directed to survive chaos they will not stay for the long game. If your buyers must endure 30 to 50% of their relationship being impacted by chaos, they will find another supplier that at least makes their life easier.
The world is transparent today. Organizations not “Living a Revenue Culture” will make that clear to any buyer, employee, or community who chooses to look. These organizations allowing the myths and supporting habits to exist and create chaos will never even interview the employees they desire or talk to their ideal customers.
Follow the path to “Live a Revenue Culture”. Those organizations that “Live a Revenue Culture” are different from everybody else. Every member of this culture starts the day focused on an important purpose that adds value to everyone they touch. They work with people who share the same belief and are committed to the same long-term mission. They avoid the chaos created from chasing random bubbles and demonstrate their maximum value when the bubbles of others burst. When the rest of the world screams uncertainty the organizations “Living a Revenue Culture” renew their focus on purpose and commitment to each other which extends their long-term leadership and success.
You can start with Purpose, develop a buyer-back deployable Revenue Strategy that is continuously improved so that no matter what happens you will be “Living a Revenue Culture” and reap the benefits.