Alignment sounds easy but to articulate a vision that attacks a gap in the market and is then executed with a business model that works is deceptively difficult.

In the year to July 2009 only 1453 UK private companies were acquired out of around 1.3 million. They reckon around 1 in 100 start ups survive more than 2 years.

In other words if you are running a private business that is profitable and running at say $2m to $5m of sales you are in a rarefied atmosphere. A tiny number of entrepreneurs build a business that someone wants to buy.

Assuming therefore that your desire for you and your shareholders is to build a remarkable business, one that has rarity value, one that someone might buy one day – is there a secret sauce, a playbook to beat the odds?

I would make these observations that I’ve noticed in the more successful ventures:

  • Clarity on what the business is good at and what it is not. Skills Alignment.
  • Validation that customers are prepared to pay for the value you provide. Market Alignment.
  • A sales model involving a small dedicated team that is scalable. Business Model aligned with products.
  • Training of staff is a high priority leading to a huge differeniator in the market. Alignment of training needs with successful execution.
  • First versions of products are lavished with an unreasonable amount of time with their early adopters. Deep alignment with customers.
  • Micro-measurement: Everything is measured, graphed and published constantly to influence behavior. Alignment of behavior & success.
  • The language of the business is “Value Achievement” for clients at a profit. Alignment of products and value achieved.
  • Marketing & sales are totally aligned i.e. sales teams actually use the collateral & follow up on leads relentlessly. (scary thought)

Alignment is a game of inches. It is subtle. Good luck!