The Internal Barriers in Business Development for Your FSO
Original article by Julio Hartstein
Business development is everything, especially if you believe the old executive adage that says “if you are not growing, you are dying”. This is the case with your field service operations as well. You need to grow your field service business, no matter what area of field services you work in (plumbing, AC repair, machine maintenance, and so on.)
For many years, the idea of business development was predominantly external. You use to require better talent (hiring). There were factories and equipment to be bought. The technology was not there yet. Scaling and becoming profitable were about defeating the challenges out in the marketplace.
It is a very different picture around business development these days.
Business development and lessons from Bain
Bain is a well-respected consulting firm. There is a record of a recent interview available with Chris Zook. Chris headed the global strategy practice of Bain for two decades. The article is about business development and the “start-up mentality”. I find this section very interesting:
‘One of the most amazing and powerful statistics from our five-year study, where we visited 40 countries in the course of it, is that for the largest of companies, 94% say that there are barriers to achieving their growth targets. But by my other statistic, 94% of the barriers are now internal. They are not lack of a market, market saturation, technologies they couldn’t possibly have, unbeatable competitors, government regulation, economic slowdown – none of that. They say in 94% of the time it is internal, and we found that many more than two-thirds of these primary reasons were related to complexity and how some companies age prematurely.
Business development: now it’s all about the internal barriers. By the way, Zook wrote a book about this.’
What are some of the internal barriers to business development?
The normal ideas apply here, which includes:
- Poor communication
- Unclear roles and responsibilities
- Senior management meddling
- Too many middle levels
- General issues with ethics and trust
- Everyone spending too much of his or her time in meetings/calls
Zook says that the “founder’s mentality” is about three things that will help defeat this:
- Insurgent mission: This means you are “at war” with the current standards of your industry.
- Frontline obsession: This means you care deeply about how customers are perceiving your product or service.
- Owner’s mindset: This means you have an aversion to bureaucracy and want to jump on problems yourself.
How can the internal barriers in business development be overcome?
Zook’s research through Bain demonstrates that: companies who reach US$5 billion in value usually have nine to 14 layers between ‘the front lines’ and upper management.
This is a real problem for organisations as they scale. Adding too many layers can slow down decision-making and result in poor outcomes for your customers.
While we are sure you would love to be a US$5-billion company, these are issues you need to consider as you grow to whatever your financial ceiling is.
Moving beyond fix and repair
It is a much more nuanced field service world these days. Technology is changing the business models, from Internet of Things and connected devices to the prevalence of, and preference for, mobile options among your customers. If you have been running a field service business for 20 years or more, chances are your business model is extremely different than it was when you started your operations.
That is what is meant by “moving beyond fix and repair”. Ultimately, your customers and clients will judge you on the quality of the service you are providing – namely, fixing and repairing whatever their needs are, and whatever they contract or hire you to do.
But for you to successfully run your business, you need to periodically move beyond fix and repair and think about other aspects. How do you hire? How do you do sales and marketing? What are your core values?
Because the day-to-day schedules can get so busy, sometimes FSOs do not think about these bigger issues until it is too late.
We have put together an eBook on various issues relating to activities that go ‘beyond fix and repair’ which might be valuable for you to consider in your business. You can download it now. If you have any questions about specific aspects of your business or business model, do not hesitate to contact us.