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What is business mapping?

How to take your business plan to the next level

Industries change so quickly, thanks to the constant development of technology, that a business plan is no longer enough to plot the future of your business with any certainty. Disruptive technologies or unexpected competitors can come along and displace your business overnight. How do you position your business in this hyper-competitive environment? Are you wondering how to make a business action plan that will lead you in the right direction? Do you know how to write a business plan that will turn your worries into wins?

This is force #1 of the 7 Forces of Business Mastery: Know Where You Really Are and Create an Effective Business Map.

That’s right. You need to stop focusing on how to set up a business plan and instead focus on creating a business map. What is business process mapping, and how does it differ from a traditional business plan?

What is business process mapping?

Business process mapping allows for a top-down view of how your business works. It does more than just identify where you want company growth to be in two years or how hiring a sales team will lead to greater profits. Instead, it revolves around introspection, regarding everything from processes, inputs and workflow to why you’re in your particular field and the impact you want to have on your community

A business map can come in many forms, including flowcharts, diagrams and value stream maps, or it can be created with various types of software. The format you create it in is less important than the questions you ask to develop it.

The benefits of a business map

The process of creating a business map goes deeper than a business action plan. Not only does it address growth possibilities, sales and other surface issues, but it delves into what your business does, who’s responsible for what and what standards need to be met to determine success. Business maps can be used to help with problem-solving, risk management and compliance, establishing best practices and ensuring that the big picture of your company is always front and center. It not only helps with your company’s long-term goals, but it also helps you and your team keep the business vision in sight on a day-to-day basis. The goal of a business map is the same as a business plan: to be more effective. However, it takes a more holistic approach to get there.

To create an effective business map, instead of writing a business action plan that will quickly become inefficient, first ask yourself “What business am I in?

Your first answer will probably be the obvious one. You’re in the business of developing software or construction. With a business map, however, your answer doesn’t stop there. You have to drill a little deeper. For instance, what business is Starbucks in? Most people would say the coffee business. But ask Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and he will likely tell you about his trip to Italy, where he saw people eagerly meeting in cafes before and after work. Before Schultz ever began wondering how to create a business map or plan, he saw the promise of a transitional meeting place between home and work, and that was the seed that grew into Starbucks. He knew his business was about creating an experience, not just delivering coffee.

During business process mapping, you’ll ask yourself and your team what experience you want to create with your business. Is it about the products or service or is it about something bigger? When you discover and harness your purpose – both as an individual and a business – you can truly realize your vision.

The next two questions are: “What business am I really in?” and “How is business?

How is this useful in business process mapping? These questions prompt business owners to think not only about their specific company, but the industry as a whole and the people they’re delivering value to. It makes you focus on what really matters – the customer – and ensures you are constantly striving to create the ultimate customer experience.

Back in the early 1900s, if railroad companies in the U.S. realized that they were really in the transportation business, not the railroad business, they could have prevented the entire industry from going bankrupt as the trucking industry took over. Having a business map really means framing your business in terms that enable you to see opportunities (and threats) that you might otherwise overlook. Knowing what business you’re really in means having a deep and thorough understanding of your customer and the value they gain from you. This allows you to consistently provide more value to your customers and clients than your competitors do through constant and strategic innovation.

How is business now and how do you want it to be?

Asking “How is my business doing?” during business process mapping is the next step to achieving your overall goals. Once you really understand how to consistently offer more value than anyone else in your market, you’re in a better position to identify where you are now, and what it will take to get to where you want to be. Connecting values and purpose to your business map will not only help you grow and create a better experience for your customers, but it will also ensure that you, your partners and your team members will be happy in the workplace. As every good leader knows, their business simply can’t succeed unless they have an engaged team that is deeply connected to their cause.

Using a business map to achieve success

There are two common reasons why new businesses don’t attain success: Either they don’t know what success means to them or they don’t have a clear path from point A, where they are when they start their company, to point B, where they want to be. A business map solves both problems. 

Through the deep introspection that is part of the business process mapping, you’ll discover what success truly means to you and how to determine when you achieve it. This clarity helps you and your employees stay hungry for that defined success and keep fear at bay. A detailed business map provides a clear plan for how you and your team need to get there. This allows you to make tweaks when you’re not hitting smaller goals and stay flexible within the broader framework of your overall vision.

When you create a business map rather than a business action plan, you dig deeply into your business to find out what really makes it tick. This will help you create a better experience for your customers, your team members and you. You’ll have more certainty about what your business needs to grow now, and you’ll be better able to steer your organization in accordance with that vision. Most importantly, you’ll understand what business you need to be in to become the dominant force in your market and avoid – or embrace – future disruption.

If you want to increase engagement in your business for yourself and for those you lead, take the next step in personal development by attending Unleash the Power Within, a powerful 3 ½ day, in-person experience that will improve all areas of your life.

A system of constant strategic innovations is the ultimate advantage.

Apple. Facebook. Tom’s Shoes. What do all of these groundbreaking companies have in common? Learn the secrets behind their effective business maps and the rest of the 7 Forces of Business Mastery.

Team Tony

Team Tony cultivates, curates and shares Tony Robbins’ stories and core principles, to help others achieve an extraordinary life.

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