Traditionally business has been structured in a mechanical style. There's a boss, managers, supervisors and employees. The formal hierarical structure starts with the boss who uses discretion in choosing what information to share with management. The management decides the same thing for supervisors, and supervisors do the same thing for employees. The mechanical structure assumes that all of the best ideas come from the top. Since this isn't always the case, some individuals gain informal power within the structure. They might not have the title, but they have the influence.
Too much power and not enough discretion within a mechanical structure is part of the process that has led us to the current recession we all find ourselves, and our businesses in. This presents us with the opportunity to explore new options. One option is to consider a more organic business structure. Within an organic structure, a business is free flowing in the way it shares information and in its balance of power. Each member of the business, regardless of his or her job or title, has input. In a larger company, employees can be split into smaller committees to create a more effective setting for brainstorming. In this scenario, the boss is a coach, guiding the rest of the team, and taking guidance as well. Even with an organic structure there may be certain sensitive information that is kept confidential. However, a lot more is shared with all employees and employees share a lot more in return. Open communication can resolve conflicts, encourage cooperation and reduce gossip. All of which will lead to a more united and productive workplace, in essence, creating a cooperative network within a large organization. The larger the organization, the more challenging this process might be.
For an entrepreneur, the cooperative network is created independently, which allows for much more creativity in forming this network. Unlike larger businesses that usually team up within their corporate structure to unite against their competition, uniting with your competition is an effective strategy that an entrepreneur can choose. No one individual can provide all of the service to all of the clients and/or customers seeking that service. For that reason, we all need other professionals providing similar service to refer clients and/or customers to. That's why I was happy to see Nancy LaMont meet with fellow organizers in her area to be supportive of one another's efforts. There's strength in numbers. By developing a supportive network that utilizes each others services, provides mutual referrals, and gets together to brainstorm and encourage each other, we entrepreneurs can create a powerful network that many larger companies would be much more challenged to create within their existing corporate structure, and would likely have to hire entrepreneurs outside of their corporation to help them.
I have found Biznik to be a valuable tool for networking and brainstorming both online and offline. Online, I've read articles by A. Michelle Blakely, who's article helped me automate my online business so I can focus more on building those ever important business relationships within my network of referring professionals and deliver my service to my clients more efficiently; and John Erdman, who has great practical advice on how to improve the quality of the interactions that build those relationships. Offline, I met Gary Tessler who is helping me analyze my business plan, and Nancy Lamont who is helping me with my networking efforts in the North end.
Big businesses, choosing to transition from a mechanical to an organic structure, need entrepreneurs both as their customer base and as their partners in transition. As we entrepreneurs network together, we can individually and collectively offer our services to larger corporations during this time of change and potential transition. A transition from a mechanical to an organic business structure starts with us. By analyzing our own businesses we can build success within our networks, spread that success through our networking, and extend our services and the services of those in our networks to big businesses. Larger companies usually have deeper cash reserves to compensate our referrals. So it's a win-win situation.
There are a lot of well-informed, educated and talented individuals within the Biznik community. By utilizing each other's services, providing testimony and spreading the word, we can have a positive impact on the economy. I am more than willing to do my part and I'm very excited about what is already being created within the Biznik community...one very large, supportive network!