Nearly everything in life has a structure and that structure plays an essential role. But for many businesses, structure is a forgotten or overlooked element that entrepreneurs ignore. However, for those entrepreneurs that take the time to study the structure of their business, they will discover exciting ways to grow it.
Your body has a structure – your skeleton.
Without your skeleton, you would just be a blob on the ground, moving around like a slug. Your skeleton helps you sit and stand and move; it provides strength so you can do tasks. You don't always realize your skeleton is there but when you break a bone, you discover pretty quickly just how much we rely on it.
Your car has a structure – the chassis.
The chassis is a framework of steel bars and/or tubes onto which engine is mounted and the panels and doors are bolted. The chassis provides strength to the car so that a collision – or even the slightest pothole – will keep everything together and the occupants safe. The chassis of a car keeps your car "car-shaped".
Your house has a structure – the studs and beams.
These provide support and shape to your house. Without them, the walls wouldn't be able to do their jobs, the windows wouldn't hang, and the weight of the roof would just collapse the entire building into itself.
The government has a structure – its branches and hierarchy.
Although we can criticize the government for occasional silliness, the government overall keeps our country running and safe for us to live and even though it can seem inefficient, a lot of work still gets done because of the clearly defined structure (at the federal, state, and local levels).
What do you notice is common about each of these structures? They are well-defined and provide strength, and they help the particular entity to do its job. On their own, they might not be sufficient but they are essential. Other pieces and parts get added on to make each one unique (which is why my car chassis will look similar to yours but our cars will ultimately look different). A structure is key. Without it, the entity mentioned above would cease to exist.
Your business has a structure too. No, it's not your organizational chart or your customer list. The structure of your business is your sales funnel. It's the path that a prospect takes on their way from first learning of your product or service all the way to the point where they buy from you (and even beyond that point).
Many entrepreneurs ignore their sales funnel or aren't aware of it. Not surprisingly, they miss out on the value of helping to strengthen their business' structure. It shouldn't come as a surprise that many businesses fail each year when they ignore the "skeleton" of their business!
Take the time to draw out your sales funnel and identify the different stages in your funnel. Then work at optimizing your funnel by improving your marketing and sales activities – all while keeping in mind the larger sales funnel.
is a writer who specializes in business, finance, and real estate topics. He is also a speaker, investor, and serial entrepreneur, and he's the creator of the Sales Funnel Strategy Matrix (TM). Visit his website at AaronHoos.com