The Elements of a Fully Alive Business

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Businesses aren’t really that complex if you stop to think about it. In fact, life at its most elemental level isn’t really that complex.

Brandon Stafford via Flickr

Anyone that’s finished the first year of high school has likely been introduced to the fact that the whole of existence is some combination of just 118 known elements. Every tree, rock, animal and, to the same degree, business is made up of surprisingly few of these elements.

I don’t state this fact as a way to launch into a lesson on quantum physics, rather, I state this fact as a way to simplify the view of what a business really is and does. If we can break down these elements and understand how our every action either feeds them or dulls them, we can begin to understand how to grow and nurture a fully alive business with ever decision.

Perhaps at this point it would make sense to describe what a fully alive business looks and feels like. I could attempt to describe my favorite bistro, with the long hand hewn wooden community tables and slow, simple way the servers go about explaining the local ingredients that make up the meal. Or I could try to explain the anticipation in the eyes of a craftsman as he explains the process of unearthing the purpose of a slab of maple. I could even explain the simple joy I get when I go online and execute a transaction with flawless, yet simple grace and elegance.

The thing is, these would simply be my experiences of something fully alive. In fact, I don’t know that I even recognize these things as alive precisely as they occur, but later, just now, they make me smile to think about them – and as business owners that’s what we must try to recognize and unearth in our own experiences.

The patterns and relationship of elements, like culture and customer, are unique to each and every business. While all businesses originate of the same handful of elements, it’s these blendings, the things that either make us smile or don’t, that create an infinite number of combinations and lead to the fact that every business is unique in some fashion or another.

It is the relationship between these elements and the day-to-day patterns of repeated actions that make up the entirety of a business. Just as our day to day patterns eventually make up the whole of our life. Our getting up, eating, going to work, interacting with people, fixing dinner, and going to bed are the events our of aliveness.

In order to bring a business to life fully, we need concentrate attention on the quality of events in only three areas of a business: strategy, culture and customer.

Focus on creating patterns, events and actions that make people smile in these three areas, bring the people that engage with your business to life in these three areas and to that extent, your business will come alive.



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  1. This is so important in today’s world as companies rush online to start communicating with their customers. 

    Companies need to first look at what they are currently achieving, or not achieving. Without an enchanting business, one that is fully alive (thanks to Guy and John for those phrases), companies are doomed right out of the gate.

  2. That’s actually a very good way of putting it.  That’s exactly why we try to incorporate several different elements into for businesses to be able to expand outside of their own boundaries and use new current tools too “add to their ingredients”.

  3. That’s pretty interesting to see that an alive business is also very close to an alive person…
    Business: strategy, culture and customer,Person: goals, culture and interaction.

  4. Great article, if you follow your passion and make people smile in business you will be at least enjoying what you do. It’s worth mapping out your processes so you are focusing on what gets you the results and eliminating any waste (time, materials or other resources). It’s also worth testing and split testing any marketing so that you know what gets you the best results. This will mean that you can spend your time effectively doing more of what you love to do, an challenge many business owners struggle with.

  5. Hi John! Each business is definitely unique where strategy and planning is concerned.  To keep it fully alive, it has to adapt the proper techniques and tools like Audience Builder, to aid them from taking care of the leads to promoting repeat sales from the customers.

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