Making business beautiful

Is your business beautiful?

That sounds like a strange question – mostly because it is. But it’s a good question. It’s a question more people should ask of their business, processes, strategies, marketing, and products.


Well, think about it: what is beauty?

Beauty is the marriage of structure and function. It’s elements in careful but dynamic balance. It’s symmetry and simplicity. And above all, beauty is memorable.

Structure and function

Structure is only present where it is functional. All that is not functional is not structural. It has been abstracted out. All that is functional grows out of the structure. There are no missing pieces, and nothing is glued on as an afterthought.

Functions that are structural are solid; they are embedded in physical reality or organization. Structures that are functional are needed; they are not waste or empires or holdovers from a previous age. Are all the structures in your business functional? Are all the functions in your processes structural?


Is your business in balance? Example: your product portfolio. Do you have a mix of products at varying stages in their life cycles? Some that are new and still incurring product development costs. Some that are in young and still growing, finding their feet. Some that are in middle age: cash cows that will must be milked to the fullest before they dry up. Some that are tottering around on crutches that need to be put out to pasture.


Symmetry is an attribute of processes. If you mapped your workflow, would you find dangling loops? Winding paths? Dead ends?

The more symmetry, the better flow. The more loops, the more cost you’re building into your model.


Simplicity is as much as needed and no more than what is required. Simplicity is as simple as possible and complex as necessary. Are all your moving parts radically simple? If your company is more than two years old, and if you are not married to continuous process improvement, the answer is no: stuff happens.

Stuff accumulates. Over time, stuff overwhelms. Stuff is money, because stuff burns time. Which means that stuff is also lost opportunity. Getting rid of stuff is giving yourself the gift of focus.


Is your business, marketing plan, product, division, whatever, memorable? Memorable things make an impression on people. Things that make an impression on people have a chance to matter. Things that do not make an impression on people do not, by definition, matter.

You want to matter. You want your business to matter. The only way to matter is to do something remarkable. What do you do that is remarkable?

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Making your business beautiful is making your business lean. And focused. And proportioned.

Is your business beautiful?

If not, surgery is the only option.

[tags] business, process, improvement, beautiful, simplicity, john koetsier [/tags]