David White – Building better businesses post Covid


Our advice to entrepreneurs and business owners in bouncing back post Covid is to encourage them to take an objective view of their organisations, looking at each critical aspect of their business to ensure its ongoing success and sustainability.

The effects of Covid have taught us the importance of having sustainable businesses to ensure our livelihood and well-being, and that of our staff members and stakeholders. The actions to result in this desired outcome being what we refer to as ‘business mindedness’, an essential component in the success of any organisation.

Objective Analysis
The objective view taken should look at and discover aspects of the organisation that will direct and guide activities towards the business meeting its desired outcomes, and to ensure the organisation has highly engaged team members who are committed to its intentions and values. Our Blueprints model looks at four critical areas in a business and helps us as mentors and coaches to better understand the organisation’s strengths, potential, and to identify where we can add value and support its development and growth.

Blueprints looks at: the entrepreneur or business leader’s vision and confidence; each functional area and its ability to provide administrative, quality assurance, market penetration, and meet reporting and compliance responsibilities; the reason for the business’s existence, its measurements; support and value to stakeholders and to ensure adequate leader and staff energy levels.

High energy environments are essential for healthy and successful organisations. Energy in business is created through circumstances and people. Blueprints sees the process of engagement as a science, a learned and applied skill, rather than something that business leaders and teams create by chance. There is good reason for increasing energy in a work environment, especially when it is unified and goal directed, and involves team members moving forward together to meet customer and stakeholder standards and expectations.

Blueprints creates a framework for us as mentors and coaches to ensure we consider each business’s perspective in detail. But it is also easy for business leaders themselves to apply the processes to their own thinking and corrective action. It is necessary for business leaders in their self-assessments to give each focus area sufficient depth of thought and consideration, and to ensure they see how all the themes in each of the four focus areas combine to form highly engaged and well defined and directed work environment.

1. Vision and Confidence
The objective analysis, the Blueprints model first focus area, starts with a leader who knows where they are going, and the value created for consumers and the economy. A leader must be clear in terms of the value the organisation’s products and services will bring to customers and must have an underlying knowing of how the vision will be realised and taken to the market. A leader needs to be sure of the operational process, resources and capacity requirements needed to achieve the intended goals.

2. The Business Foundation
The second focus area, the business foundation, needs to ensure it provides compliant business functional areas that combine the structural needs of the organisation ensuring that aspects such as financial administration, operational quality assurance, market communications and consumer awareness, staffing roles, structure and pay equity, systems, licencing, and service agreements are well planned, supported and integrated into the business.

3. Purpose and Commitment
The third focus area is clarity in defining the purpose for the organisation and detailing its resultant measurements. The business needs to clearly define outcome intentions, and to provide meaningful measurements that will result in its success as well as goal orientated sustainability drive. Stakeholder measures are critical in this regard, and include customers, employees, suppliers, the environment, communities, funders, and the government. Stakeholder contributions are measured by the impact the business has when it meets expectations. Customers want value and consistency, suppliers want to be appreciated and receive their fees timeously, Staff want to feel their contribution is valued, that they belong, and that they are fairly rewarded, funders want to receive dividends, government wants to receive taxes and levies, and confirmation of national agendas such as employment equity and skills development plans and records. Each stakeholder measurement needs to be clearly defined and structured for all staff members in the organisation to support and work towards meeting expectations – as we know “what we measure we manage”.

4. Employee Engagement
The fourth area of focus is employee engagement, where the energy of the organisation either propels the organisation forward or retards its progress. People generate energy in their moment to moment interactions with each other. Businesses are all about working with and serving people, and highly engaged teams have many common people interaction traits. Staff in these organisations know and believe in the values, ethics and purpose of the organisation, are competent in the work they are responsible for preforming, are committed to the mission and its structural and reporting requirements. They understand and strive to meet the organisation’s outcome and key performance indicators, and know and are committed to their individual and team “zones of influence”. These are key ingredients to attract and retain the right people in the business and to ensure it remains energised and focused on meeting success and sustainability indicators.

Know your Blueprint Business leaders know that they cannot do all the work and activities themselves, and know that they need other people and teams in the organisation to support the business’s vision and meet desired outcomes. To attract the right people into the organisation business leaders must know the Blueprints of their own organisation, which includes knowing where the business is heading, how it will reach the defined goals and milestones, ensure a solid business foundation, and an outcome-focused and engaged work environment that will encourage success and sustainability. Leaving out, or not clearly defining or articulating any of the organisation’s Blueprint model considerations creates risk for the business, thus hampering its opportunity for success.

Should you wish to learn more about the BusinessFit Blueprints model, or to receive a summary of our more detailed explanation of this process, please contact Youshi Naidoo (youshi@businessfit.co.za) who will be pleased to respond to your request.