Without WHY it's a Value Trap

Quick one today. Many businesses fall into the "value trap", constantly looking to ensure that everything they do provides value. In some cases they become so blinkered that looking for value is the be and end all.

Now you might think that this should be a sure fire way to improve your business but it can do the complete opposite. It can cause you to lose focus and forget the reason why you started the business in the first place, you become so engrossed in looking for and measuring the value of every idea and task.

I am not saying it is a bad idea - far from it. I actually believe being able to identify and measure the value of what you are doing to be a critical skill - extremely useful. But used in isolation and not taking to account the impact on your business strategy can cause you to fail just as quickly, as you focus on the value and drift away from your centre - your focus, your business strategy.

When looking for value, ask yourself whether the value you identify is tactical or strategic - does it support your business vision and strategy? If not it doesn't automatically mean that it won't provide value and therefore shouldn't be done but maybe you have identified the wrong value.

Investment in your IT department or technology is a case in point, value can be measured in pure cost and monetary value. Is it to become more efficient, to have the latest technology, to drive business growth? All these are too ambiguous which means it will eventually fail the value test thus strengthening the cycle of IT or technology not providing any perceived value.

If you cannot answer the questions: "Why are you investing and how does it help achieve your business strategy?", "Is it a tactical or strategic investment?" Why are you doing it? If you cannot answer these questions it will be impossible to identify the real value and therefore the measures of success.

Is the WHY more important? or is perceived value more important?

Don't just guess, engage with someone who knows and can help you understand. It can be the difference between growing your business on quick sand or firm foundations.