It is pretty typical with the ecommerce businesses we work with, to find clients in the first three levels of the Business Hierarchy of Needs (BHN). Where do you land? Take the Fix This Next Assessment now if you haven't already, and then keep reading.
The reason most of our clients are at the first three levels of the BHN is that they are fairly young. During the formative years of a business, time is spent acquiring cash, generating a profit to create stability and becoming efficient. These first three levels—Sales, Profit, and Order—are defined as "Getting"! While we started our business to fulfill our dream, we often get lost along the way with all the busy-ness. In order to have the impact and leave the legacy we dreamed of, we have to build the business on a solid foundation. Once we've mastered the "Getting” stage, we can move into the "Giving" stage with confidence.
Level 4: The Impact Level
The first "Giving" level is the Impact Level where the business is creating a transformation. The second and pinnacle level is the Legacy Level, the creation of permanence. Let's dive in and see how we can achieve these higher levels that offer greater rewards, starting with the Impact Level.
The Impact Level is About Stewardship
Every business and every offering should be having an impact on your ideal clients. This level is about everyone winning: you, your team, your clients, your vendors, your community, etc. This level is about you living into your purpose. I know our clients have developed their ecommerce businesses because they are wanting to create a lifestyle business. They want the flexibility to travel or spend more time with kids or aging parents, or just put their stamp on creating something. Like most entrepreneurs, the dream fueled the passion to create the business. If you've got the first three levels humming, then the core needs of the Impact Level is the place to concentrate on next.
The 5 Core Needs of the Impact Level
Read these core needs carefully and answer the questions thoughtfully:
- Transformation Orientation: Does your business benefit clients through a transformation, beyond the transaction? I see many clients making donations as a percentage of every sale. This works great to connect with your market; however, if you have not built a solid foundation in the lower three levels of the hierarchy, you are adding an expense you can't afford.
- Mission Motivation: Are all employees motivated more by delivering on the mission than by their individual roles? I find this to be challenging with teams that work with remote employees or virtual assistants operating in other countries with different values. There is nothing wrong with this model, it just makes it vitally important to involve the team members in the importance of the mission.
- Dream Alignment: Are people's individual dreams aligned with the path of the business's grand vision? As mentioned above, in the alignment of the mission, remote employees and virtual assistants may have an entirely different value system and goals for their life. It may take a little more effort to understand their dreams. Once you understand why they show up, you can build rewards into their compensation and bonus plans that are meaningful to them.
- Feedback Integrity: Are your people, clients, and community empowered to give both critical and complimentary feedback? As ecommerce sellers, our online reputation is so important, and I know you spend significant effort tending to reviews. What kind of reviews are you doing with your team? Learning how they perceive the work and processes can help you improve, and it also gives them more of an investment in your business.
- Complementary Network: Does your business seek to collaborate with vendors who serve the same customer base in order to improve the customer experience? I am impressed by the strong networks that exist in so many online forums. These forums may be centered around software, consulting relationships or many other things, and they truly advance the knowledge of the community.
The Impact Level of the business offers so many rewards as you start to see all your work pay off in ways that are beyond the top and bottom lines. You begin to realize that the team and community you serve share what is important to you. Collaboration on this level feels inspired and inspires others. Want to get to this level? Contact us to discuss how we can help you shore up the foundation of your business.
If your ecommerce business isn’t where you’d like it to be in terms of profitability, check out my book, Profit First for Ecommerce Sellers. It answers important questions about how to implement Profit First in an ecommerce business. Take control of your money and your business, and put Profit First to work for you!
You can also sign up for the Profit First for Ecommerce Sellers Online Course. As a Mastery Level, Certified Profit First Professional, I will teach you why Profit First works so well for ecommerce businesses and the particular challenges for businesses that have physical products requiring inventory management. You will learn how your behavior drives your money management habits for your business and how you can set up your business bank accounts to work with your habits.