Adding value-building characteristics is key to developing the most successful business, operational and revenue generation model possible to create market opportunity, growth and brand awareness.

Faith Driven Strategy

Value-building characteristics is an amalgam of addressing every aspect of your venture which includes but is not limited to a successful platform strategy, implementing a co-creating value factor, audience knowledge and building a winning corporate culture. But the most important value-building characteristic is – to put God first in everything you do and praise Him for His favor.

When we commit our startups, businesses and ministries to the Lord He and He alone makes them succeed. What acts as a catalyst to your venture’s success is discovering and learning the praise life which is the language of God. By praising God over the course of your venture and giving thanks every day for His commanded blessings, set time of favor and acceleration on your business undertakings, you are trusting, inviting and believing with expectancy for an unprecedented outpouring of God’s favor. In business and ministry you must understand unequivocally that your power to succeed is based exclusively on God’s favor. If you don’t know and praise God for this, you will hit a low ceiling or even worse.

Now let’s chat about secondary value-building characteristics that act as a catalyst to your success in the marketplace or in ministry.

Platform Strategy

We typically think of companies competing over products — the proverbial “build a better mousetrap.” But in today’s networked age, competition is increasingly over platforms. Build a better platform, and you will have a decided advantage over the competition.

In construction, a platform is something that lifts you up and on which others can stand. The same is true in business. By building a digital platform, other businesses can easily connect their business with yours, build products and services on top of it, and co-create value. This ability to “plug-and-play” is a defining characteristic of Platform Thinking.

Consider the market for smartphones. Nokia and Blackberry today are a shadow of their former glory. Their technology and products lag Apple and the Android ecosystem. But the triumph of Apple and Android is not from features and functions. It is from the app store on which external developers create value. Microsoft has gotten excellent reviews for the technology in its new phones, but it is the ability to create a successful platform that will determine its ultimate success.

Co-Creating Value Factor

The use of platform thinking extends beyond the tech sector. Retailers are shifting from distribution channels selling products, to engagement platforms co-creating value. Online retailers like eBay, Etsy, and Amazon led the way, and now traditional retailers are following. Christian Web design is currently building engagement platforms for ChristianBnB and ChristianMomentum with said Co-Creating Value Factor (also known as User Generated Content).

JC Penney has made platform thinking a pillar of its reinvention strategy. Its stores are featuring more and more “boutiques” managed by others. It is no coincidence that JC Penney’s CEO, Ron Johnson, was previously at Apple. Johnson has said, “All those boutiques are the apps. What J.C. Penney is creating is a new interface.” While JC Penney’s pricing strategy has been controversial, analysts have been very positive about the in-store platform.

Nike is also shifting from products to platforms. Building on the success of its Digital Sport products, Nike recently launched its Nike+ Accelerator to help companies build on the Nike+ platform. Nike’s announcement reflects platform thinking. “We are looking for people who want to create companies that build upon the success of [Nike+] to make the world more active.”

The rise of platforms is being driven by three transformative technologies: cloud, social, and mobile. The cloud enables a global infrastructure for production, allowing anyone to create content and applications for a global audience. Social networks connect people globally and maintain their identity online. Mobile allows connection to this global infrastructure anytime, anywhere. The result is a globally accessible network of entrepreneurs, workers, and consumers who are available to create businesses, contribute content, and purchase goods and services.

Audience Knowledge

The best brands have a thorough understanding of the demographics of their target market, what their interests are, and how they communicate. Unless it’s a mega chain like Wal-Mart, most businesses have a specific target audience they’re pursuing. Understanding the target market is critical because it provides direction for the tone and reach of a marketing campaign, along with the overall identity of a brand, while helping to create an organic, human connection between a business and its audience.

Trying to appeal to everyone (ie, ignoring the concept of a target market) can be counterproductive, causing a company’s brand to become diluted. Finding the right branding approach requires first understanding the target market.

Building a Winning Corporate Culture

Although the individual personal characteristics of the CEO vary from company to company, there is a common focus by the CEO on defining what it takes to succeed at their company. A credible CEO lives by these beliefs.

As a company scales, it becomes important for the success requirements to be articulated and demonstrated to the whole company. These beliefs are usually described as corporate values or organizational values. A values-based culture describes the expected behaviors and traits embedded into executive decision-making and behaviors.

I‘ve found that all members of a company’s leadership team must have a “heart and mind” connection to the firm’s values. Business priorities change, but when it comes to the most difficult decisions, corporate values don’t get thrown out of the window.

Sources: Christian Web Design, TedxBerkeley, Harvard Business Review, Forbes & Talent Economy