The dictionary definition of philosophy is “a set of principles, beliefs and aims, underlying somebody's practice or conduct”. As such, a “business Philosophy” can be both a guide to help you grow a business, and in the ‘business of careers’ it can be a guide to help you decide what to do...and where to do it. So, define what you consider important, and you can be on your way to uncovering your “best fit” job opportunities.
If you can describe how a business should operate, principles emerge which largely transcend company size, product or service area, and economic climate. These principles are, however, not universal and a reasonable range of scenarios exist; and it is often not knowing what those scenarios are, and thus, not knowing what to expect, that becomes the major cause of stress in the workplace. It would be my desire to associate myself with a situation which is largely consistent with my business principles. A Business Philosophy is the grouping of these practices, and their principles, beliefs and aims, with regard to customers, product or service, employees, profitability, etc. I have combined these different groupings into seven specific categories for you. They are,
The Seven Key Aspects of Your Professional Business Philosophy:
1. Product or service aspects of a business 2. Customer aspects of a business 3. Profitability aspects 4. Focus aspects 5. Reality aspects 6. People aspects, and 7. Conduct and ethical aspects of a business
Also, together with each key aspect, I’ve listed below various examples of related underlying practices and their principles, beliefs and aims. This is to help stimulate your thinking with the aim of developing your own Professional Business Philosophy. Once developed, it will become an integral part of your overall professional portfolio. Here we go!
I believe that... • A business should offer a high quality product or service with real usefulness. • A basic fundamental of business, surprisingly often ignored, is maintaining a going concern with willing and satisfied customers. • Products should be customer-focused and companies should be responsive to product change. • Decision-making about product is guided by a clear understanding of value and quality. • Businesses should continually challenge its’ own priorities, policies, rules, procedures, regulations, and laws to ensure that they are providing the most efficient products and/or most effective services. • An impression of corporate quality should be projected, in addition to and independent of the quality aspects of the product or service.
I believe that... • The customer base of a business, whether actual or potential, should be regarded as a precious resource, for not only do customers often repeat, they represent the edge of a referral network of immeasurable scope. • Companies should treat customers fairly, provide them with quality and value, and be receptive to their input into all aspects of the business. • A clear understanding of the customers, the users of your product or service, is essential to a successful enterprise. • Companies that recognize and accept change have the opportunity to be more competitively responsive to customer needs. • The principles of respect, consideration, open communication, and transparency apply to members at all levels of the organization and to all outside people with whom it comes in contact.
I believe that... • A business should make money for its owners and employees and the opportunities to make money arise primarily as a result of efficient competition not necessarily as a result of growth. • Business should recognize that niches are not forever nor of unlimited size and consequently, realistically plan for the next. • In any market, operations should be without unnecessary overhead; among the most obvious, personnel getting bogged down in paperwork and meetings. • Profit critically depends on proper pricing, which should be structured to give customers exceptional value.
I believe that... • Simplicity and maintaining a big picture view are important aspects of keeping focused. • Closely related to profitability, it is very important that companies know exactly what their organization’s business is, and to keep focused on it. • To sustain high performance, companies need a work culture that utilizes staff development, technology, and innovative leadership and management strategies. • A company should foster a work environment that focuses on and values quality, respect, diversity, integrity, openness, communication, and accountability. • Nothing is as great a distraction from the operation of a business as legal action, which should be avoided by doing business in an open, honest, and reasonable manner.
I believe that... • It is critical for businesses to deal in reality: Planning on unrealistic growth may be the primary killer of young companies which set up, pay for, and crumble under massive success scenarios. • Businesses should continually evaluate its processes to support a user-friendly environment that improves customer and employee satisfaction. • Participating in realistic strategies will achieve dramatic owner and employee profitability. • Accepting vague future promises of windfalls as alternatives to hard, immediate compensation, or assured positions for a fair share of later action, are common lapses of realistic thinking. • Business should encourage and support open communication at every level of business processes.
I believe that... • As a person’s business activities represent a major component of their everyday lives, and how people are treated in this context is very important to their overall well being. • A company must strive to ensure that it is providing efficient and effective services to internal customers (staff) and external customers alike. • Businesses should be sensitive to a person’s personal situation (sick child, financial distress, long commute, inability to transfer, etc.). • Companies that provide excellent working conditions, job satisfaction and good compensation, and being open and honest with all people at all times will optimize peoples’ performances. • It is very important that a company’s personnel truly be of high quality, even if it appears that employees are overpaid, because of the tremendous hidden load of an inexpensive, but not well-qualified, employee. • Overworked people create only the illusion of productivity but with hidden costs in the lack of carefulness with which their jobs are being done.
Conduct / Ethical Aspects:
I believe that... • An organization’s code of conduct, designed to influence the behavior of employees, should lay out procedures to be used in specific ethical situations, such as conflicts of interest or the acceptance of gifts. • A company has a professional responsibility to discuss difficult issues and decisions that need to be made, and provide a clear account of what behavior is considered "ethical" or "correct" or "right". • A company and its management and personnel should treat others (customers … vendors … each other…) according to how the company and management and personnel would like others to treat them - The Golden Rule of Reciprocity. • There is no inherent reason for any organization to be unfocused, unrealistic, or to ever mishandle internal/external customers or individuals. • Business should have organized reporting and record keeping (but no more than is necessary), and every business transaction should be handled smoothly and efficiently. • It is within reach of any organization to have quality offerings and be very profitable.
These are only some examples of principles, beliefs, aims and practices for the seven key aspects of a professional business philosophy. Their simultaneous achievement and that of those more likely to be important to you, may be possible in some domains and impossible in others. That is yours to determine. Nevertheless, set your goal standards as high as you like. If you are careful and sincere in your assessment and in the selection of principles, beliefs, aims and practices that are important to you, and what is more, you are committed to your ends, your most suitable “best fit” opportunities will be abundant.