The Nine Divisions of Your Business

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There’s a plethora of articles and information on the internet about different ways to structure a business. They’re often coming from the point of view of looking at your options in terms of the legal structure you use, and what tax implications will come with that. And, there’s more to the structure of a business than that.

In order to be successful at something, it’s necessary to understand it first, isn’t it?

So, if you don’t understand the structure of a business, how difficult is it going to be for you to have a successful one? 

There are nine distinct divisions to every business – no matter how new, or how small they are. I know that prior to working with me, this wasn’t something many of my clients were aware of or had put their attention to.

Knowing what these nine divisions are, what they’re for, and how to grow them, is going to be crucial in organising your business and setting you up for success.

For a very specific reason, which you’ll understand in a minute, we’re going to save the #1 division for last. So, we’ll start with:

Division 2: Marketing

Marketing is an activity and process for creating and communicating the value your business offers.    These key messages can be delivered through digital advertising, radio and TV commercials, land interviews in the media, network, etc. This is how you make yourself and your company known.

And, it’s important that you have a system for measuring how well, or how poorly, this division is doing. What won’t work is to invest heavily in the marketing of your business and assume that what you’re doing will create results. 

Audit and regularly analyse, particularly when implementing a new form of marketing. 

If you’re a small business, it can be easy to think “This doesn’t apply to me, I don’t have a marketing department.”

That might be true, and I’m not talking about departments. I’m talking about divisions of your business. If you’re a sole trader this is just as important a part of your business as anything else. 

As an example, every Monday morning at our team meeting we review and discuss the results of the previous week’s marketing efforts.  We use the software as a service called CYFE which automated the reporting process for us.

Cyfe Dashboard

We measure our Facebook reach, Google my business action, LinkedIn company profile view and much more.  This helps us understand what content is resonating with our audience. Another way of saying that, is it gives us an indication of what our target audience wants. 

It’s just as important that you know what’s working for your audience and what isn’t. How much easier would creating a marketing plan be, if you knew what your audience wanted to know?

Division 3: Finance

Even if you have outsourced this to bookkeepers and accountants, it’s vital that you give your time and attention to this division.

It’s important that you’re able to, at any point in time, get a snapshot of where your business is financially. Do you understand how to read a balance sheet? Have you done any forecasting or budgeting?

Having financial goals in place is great. And, you can’t get to where you’re going if you don’t know where you’re starting from. 

So, if you want to reach those goals, make sure you’re able to effortlessly understand where your business currently is, in order to make the changes necessary to get to where you want to be.

If finances aren’t your strong suit, there are plenty of ways to learn some of the basics to help you through it. Most cities have business support centres that offer introductory classes and information on these things.

Investing time in making sure you understand this will be worth it in the end.

Division 4: Production

This is something that gets overlooked quite often. If things are getting done and clients are happy, many people think that that ticks this box.

It’s certainly a good indicator when clients are happy. And, what if it’s taking your staff twice as long to get things done as it would if you were doing it? What resources are they using and is it necessary for them to be doing so? Or, what resources are available to them that they’re not using?

This is another area that it can be extremely valuable to track and audit. Are there inefficiencies that can be addressed? Or areas that can be improved?

I know that years ago we became aware of a massive inefficiency in our accounting process. While the accounting was all done properly, time was still being wasted doing everything manually. The “old school” way.

Then we found Xero; and what an amazing resource it is! It allowed us to streamline our accounts receivable, payable, and reconciliation process all at once. Accounting and bookkeeping suddenly took a fraction of the time it used to. 

Time is valuable; take every opportunity you can to ensure you and your team are being as efficient with it as possible (without cutting corners or negatively affecting the quality of your product or service!).

Division 5: Human Resources

One of my favourite quotes is “Human resources isn’t a thing we do. It’s the thing that runs our business.”

Your team is your greatest asset. So, what systems do you have in place for managing your team and creating an enjoyable company culture?

And again, even if you’re a sole trader this still applies. How often do you review your own performance? Or check in with your own stress level and whether it’s time to take a break?

Division 6: Quality Management

Quality control is the process of maintaining standards within your business, it’s part of your Quality Management System. It’s important to have a process in place to check in on what is being produced; what’s the quality of the product or service being provided?

That could mean having a department that’s responsible for checking in on the quality of physical products, or it could be reaching out to customers to ask for feedback.

I’ll use this blog post as an example, it went through the following Quality Control process before being released on this website.

Quality Control Flow chart

Either way, ensuring you’re actually delivering the high-quality product or service you think you are is imperative.

Division 7: Sales

Some people are turned off by the thought of sales, so they might call this “business development,” or “networking.” At the end of the day, it’s all still sales. And without it, you have no business.

So, how often do you invest in sales training? How much time do you spend developing you and your team’s sales skills?

This is yet another division that it’s really important to track. As a bare minimum you want to know how many leads are coming in, how many of them convert, and the average dollar value of each conversion.

If you have a sales team you’ll want this information for each individual so you can assess where someone might want more training.

And, if there are people on your team who could use more training, we actually run a completely free Sales Skills Accelerator Masterclass, just contact us here to send enquiry if you are interested. Are you wanting a top-notch sales team? And specifically, one that executes sales with complete integrity, thereby keeping your company’s reputation intact?

If so, you’ll love our free masterclass.

Division 8: Research & Development

I frequently hear people say “I don’t offer a product, I have a service so there’s not much to research and develop.”

To that I say, if you want to be a frontrunner in your industry there is always something to research and develop.

As an example let’s say you offer bookkeeping services – how often do you research new and emerging software? Or apps that integrate with the software you currently use that could make you and your clients’ lives easier?

The world is constantly evolving. Research and development help to ensure that you and your business evolve with it.

Division 9: Legal

Even just the word “legal” or “lawyer” can invoke a slight feeling of nervousness or fear in some people. That’s not what this is about.

Do you understand what’s legally required of you as a business? As an employer? Do you have your terms and conditions drawn up?

I’m not saying you want to have an in-house counsel; I’m simply saying that having a business brings with it legal requirements. Make sure you’re clear on what those are so that you know you’re being compliant.

Division 1: Leadership

This is, without question, the most important division of your business. Let me explain.

Everything I’ve discussed so far forms part of a model for business. In this model, we use two interlocking equilateral tetrahedrons, as pictured below.


Source & credit to

An equilateral tetrahedron has four points, so when two interlocks, you end up with eight points. Those eight points represent divisions two through nine as discussed above.

Then you have division one – leadership. This division covers all eight points and creates a sphere. It’s like a skin covering the other divisions of your business. 

This skin can either restrict the growth of the other nine divisions, almost as though it’s smothering them, or it can grow thereby expanding the other divisions.

Which means that the growth (or lack thereof) of a business is determined

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