Every business, either directly or not, will always be connected to people. While it is known that dealing with people is the most complicated thing a human can possibly master, there is still some principle we can hold on to. People liked to be appreciated, understood, and respected. We all know deep down we are a social being that needs such acknowledgement and acceptance from our society. Scientific findings also state about this behaviour (the herd instinct or morality), some say it's the remaining survival instinct from our early stage of evolution and others say it simply is planted within our genes (Dobelli, 2013). They want to feel empathized—loved—and do not want to lose it. Unfortunately, those who did lose the feeling of being loved may become so distanced toward others, or worse treat others badly as an act of revenge. If we want to grow our business well, we can't just walk away from these kinds of people, we still have to deal with them. Here, persistence is key.
There are many understandings about persistence and even broader for love. But what we meant about these two words in the business world is something much more than their definitions: culture. For that purpose, a clear understanding of the topic is crucial and it needs to be defined clearly, both the definitions and the interpretation. Hence, we provide our definitions of persistence and love as below:
The ability to keep pushing forward creatively and without delay.
The act of fearlessness, yet caring, sincere, and moderate in thoughts, words, and deeds for the greatest good of all—including ourselves.
Although both are inseparable to achieve great success, love is undeniably the more important factor. Without persistence, love alone can help a business thrive, let alone survive. But without it, persistence by itself won't be able to sustain itself or worse, unconsciously directing businesses towards pitfalls. These characteristics shouldn't only be done regularly, but they'll have to embed deeper in every part of the business as a culture. They will have to be done even to the most subtle part of the business itself, like chatting. Companies need to encourage their employees to adopt these two traits as a habit and keep them growing until they become a really powerful positive force that can buffer many adversities that business often encounters. In fact, they have long observed to be able to contribute to business' success significantly. Amongst those who did this are Robert K. Greenleaf, which named such style of management as Servant Leadership which continues to inspire dozens of more researchers who explore deeper about the subject that find more empirical results of how such a culture can actually enhance profit. That management style actually improves employees' productivity and encourage them to be creative which of course contribute to the companies' profit positively. On the other hand, in times of distress, employees that are trained to have persisting and loving culture will be much more likely to stay to help the company and even take more responsibility when needed. This will utterly help businesses thrive and become much more resilient in managing risks and staying profitable (Jones, 2012).
The P and L in the name Plomia actually stand for Persistence and Love because of their importance. Nevertheless, business is a very broad topic, without any further categorisation, it will still be very hard to analyse any using those two traits only. Just as how any strategy needs tactics, or vision detailed with missions, after these two come the further technical aspects of businesses that will help businesses achieve such culture wholly: the operating, marketing, and investing activities. For each aspect, there are more specific details that are needed to be learned to make the best out of them which will involve the use of many different metrics.
Think of this culture (persistence and love) as the foundation or principle of a business management and those three aspects (operating, marketing, and investing activities) are the techniques that will develop specifically according to the condition—just like strategies versus tactics, vision against mission.
There is nothing new about either operating activities or marketing or surely, the classic investing rules like ratios or so, yet the perspective of how we should see that these three aspects are the only thing which forms a business is surely a new and probably challenging. This is what we propose using the Plomia framework because this way of thinking will force decision makers to limit their problem by classifying them into those 3 aspects only. This will force them to see the problem clearer and determine which part the problem affects the business the most and focus on solving it rather than trying to fix everything at once—one step at a time. We design it this way because our minds act in such a manner that multitasking is actually never proven to be a productive way to solve a crisis—The Single Channel Theory by Schweickert and Boggs explores deeply about this (Buser and Peter, 2011; Lojeski et al., 2007; Tang, 2005; Spink et al., 2002; Rubinstein et al., 2001).
The framework itself first comes mainly out of frustration from observing many business owners that doomed themselves to failure—regardless of age—because of their inability to prioritise and identify the true problem that matters the most, or in short, they multitask the problem-solving activities. This is however understandable, most of the times it occurs when business owners or managers get too caught up on their operational tasks, or simply because of conflicting interests that push their mind out of focus, although it also depends greatly on their own characteristics (Hartman, 1998). This mess will usually rush them to grab a chance for a quick bulk up front without considering the long term impact that may potentially add more complication to the business. In some worst cases, they could also get bluntly destroyed by frauds and the most terrible case is when the owner’s trustees—the directors himself—became the fraudster by choice or by chance.
Basically, Plomia framework is created to provide the simplest yet most complete and flexible way to assess, manage, and improve any business. It has already been developed (and trademarked) by Leonardo Purwadi since 2010 when he first started his trade business. He was 18 years old at the time with little experience of business. As time goes by, he learned many things due to his interest towards the business world, by reading and experimenting what he learned from various resources from stakeholders to academic teachers, from employees to business partners—and fraudsters. Combining those with the unending curiosity, coincidentally the main principles that are crucial for businesses can be summarised as an acronym using exactly the same word as the trademarked name: Plomia.
Plomia stands for Persistence and Love in Operating, Marketing, and Investment Activities.
The idea is to design a favourable culture so that we can implement the best-practise or proven-to-work findings in each of those three business aspects to achieve business success. This should be able to be accomplished by keeping a good track for latest information provided worldwide from various reputable resources. Unfortunately, in this internet era, it is hard to select a good, true, and useful information. There are many opinions available almost equally on both sides, facts are often biased, changed or even manipulated, intentionally or not, by irresponsible sources—sometimes just to benefit themselves (Stephens-Davidowitz, 2017; Knaflic, 2015). This makes it hard for us even after we understand the Plomia framework—which metrics should we use?
In summary, to use this framework, decision-makers are invited to separate business affairs into 3 categories: operating, marketing, and investing activities. The objective is to measure the level of persistence and love in each aspect by using measurement methods or metrics. The metrics itself will be continuously updated according to the latest findings of best-practise applications. We hope this framework can achieve what our founder hoped it should, to achieve the best possible improvement for any business at any stage, size, and type, or even further for individuals.
Provided Below is The Definitive Guide on How to Use Our Framework
The framework is aimed for companies or businesses at any stage, size, or type, from sole traders, partnerships, to corporations, whether they operate as manufacturers, traders, or service providers. It uses mainly quantitative data based on financial reports and other internal business data such as brand names, number of employees, certifications, and more. A standard format of IFRS financial report and those aforementioned data is highly recommended to be prepared as extensive as possible before practising this framework to get more in-depth and accurate insights. Otherwise, decision-makers can independently associate business knowledge provided in plomia.com to compare directly to their specific cases.
Decision makers will have to separate their business’ activities into marketing activities, operating activities, and investing activities. To do this effectively, it is advised to read the full article about this framework thoroughly. The standard guide is provided as below:
- Persistence and Love is both the base and the final objective for every business to be successful, the alpha and the omega. In business, it can be implemented in various ways, hence come the operating, marketing, and investing activities.
- Operating Activities are every business operations that are happening mostly internally, such as product development, fulfilment process, deliveries and logistics, internal control, audit, employee affairs, legal and compliance, systems and technologies, and more. The goal of this aspect is to maintain sales.
- Marketing Activities are everything that is related to customers, branding, advertising, promotions, sales, marketing budget, and more. The goal is to generate sales.
- Investing Activities are mostly related to ratios. This part will broadly analyse many factors from ROI to employee productivity to turnover ratios, current ratio, net profit margin and many more. It is a classical way to analyse and score a company based on financial information that is mostly available in the internationally standardised financial reports. The goal is to maintain profitability.
Those three activities are then analysed further for any signs of persistence and love within each activity. The signs are usually shown as a consistent year on year improvement or at least stable, and the honesty and congruency of the silos that observed separately, whether they are actually trying to improve and give the best in the respective activities or not. Further detail will also be provided in the articles according to the subject in the sidebar or footer links (e.g. operating activities section) because the parameters (metrics) that need to be observed and interpreted are plentiful with many different specific methods for each and according to the condition of the business, thus needs to be elaborated separately in details.
Decision makers are then advised to focus on the business’ primary weakness (usually the worst score), rather than trying to fix everything at once to avoid the counterproductive effect of multitasking. Focusing on the real pain also give some chance of fixing the problem in the other aspects as well since they are all actually related. But if the problem on the other aspects still persists, reassess and change your priority toward the next worst area, and repeat this process until your business manages to run well at a favourable pace. Although a business will never be constantly in perfect shape, doing this one-step-at-a-time approach should greatly enhance your business—and also your mental—health.
In case the problem is found to be spreading in more than one part of the business (e.g. marketing and operating), decision makers are suggested to choose the worst affected part. This is because a total failure in one of these three aspects can cause a severe problem that will make the entire system collapse. Such cases are like the (almost) bankruptcy of AIG Insurance in 2008 or Toys “R” Us just recently, which are merely caused by its investment part problems—debt. A Fortune article by Bloomberg (2018) states it like this:
“The downfall of Toys “R” Us can be traced back to a $7.5 billion leveraged buyout in 2005, when Bain Capital, KKR & Co. and Vornado Realty Trust loaded the company with debt.”
“Toys “R” Us generated $11.5 billion in sales in 2016. And though the company hadn’t reported an annual profit since its 2013 fiscal year because of interest payments, its operating income had risen 22 percent, to $460 million.”
The problem is surely not in its operational nor marketing aspect, they’re generating relatively good portions of sales, but still unable to pay the interests. By the time this article was written, they have filed for bankruptcy for their worldwide range of retail networks (Corkery, 2018).
We used to see business suffers a lot because of marketing, the case where a business is unable to retrieve or generate enough sales, or operational problems too—for operations, usually, fraud is the main culprit. They may or may not linked together, but just one critical failure in any part has proven to be able to cause bankruptcy so beware. We suggest decision-makers be able to choose only one part to be prioritised before taking any other steps for other parts, but this doesn’t mean leaving the others unattended, standard procedures must be running as well while the restoration is taking place. It is you as a decision maker, which at times will also need to be the ultimate supervisor, that have to focus your attention to that one specific part. In our framework, the goal is to ensure that the persistence and love are achieved. Find out more about this in the specific article for your specific problem on our website.
Alternatively, business decision-makers can design a specific dashboard based on this framework to keep track of their progress on the improvements or maintaining the achievements. To do this, go to our sidebar in the left or footer links at the bottom and select metrics provided in every article that is displayed categorically using the framework’s main idea: operating activities, marketing activities, investing activities. Select up to 3 metrics for each aspect—operating, marketing, and investing—that you find most insightful and relevant for your business and design a table (or other suitable display methods) to make a dashboard using those metrics.
Now you're ready to take on some more, go ahead and start reading our other articles!
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