I often think a diamond is a good analogy for a business. Just as there are no perfect diamonds, there are no perfect businesses.
Every diamond has some flaws. So does every business. It is up to the diamond cutter and polisher to maximize the value of each gem just as it is the responsibility of each business owner to maximize the value of his or her business.
Both a diamond and a business have multiple facets, and every facet needs to be honed and polished to maximize the value. A business can have the best products, customer service and marketing, but a flaw in the “accounting facet,” “sales facet,” “human resources facet” or any other facet can throw the business into decline, even bankruptcy.
A brilliant cut diamond has 56 facets. Compare it, for a moment, to a business with 56 employees. Perhaps 55 facets of the diamond can be close to perfect, but a flaw in one facet of the diamond reduces the gem’s value.
The business can have one nasty employee who argues with customers, forgets to return tools to the proper place, insists “oh, customers won’t care if we don’t call them back” or snarls when asked to arrive on time. The business usually starts to decline in performance, profitability, and the ability to retain customers. Ultimately value declines.
It is up to the owner or CEO to hone and polish every facet of the business. The process can be as drastic as reinventing the company, closing a facility or dropping (or adding) some products or services.
On the other hand it might be as simple as holding a meeting or two to make a change in a process, modifying standard operating procedures or creating a constant training/retraining program to increase quality or production capacity.
The diamond cutter looks at a rough diamond through a jeweler’s loupe, a magnifying glass to look deeply into the stone. The business owner needs to be constantly looking deeply at the business the same way, searching out flaws, so over time, the business becomes a brilliant, valued gem.