As a consultant, I often see my clients so laser focused on certain aspects of their business that they oversee (and in some cases, never see) other aspects of their business. As an entrepreneur myself, I understand the situation. That's why I feel like I am uniquely equipped to help guide other business owners and their companies when it comes to looking at their business from a different perspective.
I constantly challenge myself to view situations from a different perspective. It helps me to think through interesting problems, develop unique strategies, create novel products and processes etc. How do I do this? Well, I have to admit that it comes from a combination of my background. I studied and got two degrees, one in Mechanical Engineering and another in Human Biology. At this point, most of my clients will ask me how I got into business. For me, that's easy. One definition of an entrepreneur is someone who identifies a problem, or need, develops a novel solution and monetizes that solution. What does an engineer do? Solve problems. In essence, I've been a business engineer for quite some time!
In fact, I approach my client's needs from the engineering perspective. When it comes to thinking about your business, a process or product in your business, or any aspect no matter how big or small, I introduce the engineering design concept of "top-down" and "bottom-up" processes. When you boil it all down, every plan or process breaks down into three potential options.
Let's focus on the "Top Down" concept for now. Top-Down is best described as "reverse engineering" something. You start with where you want to end, then you work your way backwards. For me, this is what makes the most sense because you start with the end in mind. If you want to develop a product, a widget, most people will imagine the finished product first. They will envision what it does, how it looks, how people will interact with it etc. It works the same with starting a new business, or even growing an existing business. You first identify what your business will be doing, and maybe even how, before it is close to being there. Then, one must work backwards to figure out how to achieve that final result.
Similar to attaching an action plan to goal setting, a Top-Down design or process puts you in a position to ask the relevant questions of "how", "when", "where" and "why" that are necessary to achieve that visualized end goal. Part of what I do is to streamline and assist in this process for my clients. In some cases, I can go through the entire process for a client. I firmly believe that any successful business must have a foundation built around reliable, sustainable, and scalable, systems/processes that will eventually allow certain aspects of their business to become automated (to a certain degree) thus freeing them up to grow more. We'll chat about the other options in the next article.