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Biz tip of the week: The anatomy of a business

Biz tip of the week: The anatomy of a business

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Recently, a group of business owners from the health-care industry attended my presentation on “Essentials of a Healthy Business.” They were experts on human health and anatomy, wanting to know more about running a business. Actually, the human anatomy is very similar to the structure of a business.

The human body and the business both have multiple systems, which are required to sustain life. The human body needs a brain, heart, lungs and organs to survive. Similarly, a business needs operations, human resources, marketing and finance. Each of these systems are interconnected, yet independent of each other. If any of these systems fail, survival becomes nearly impossible.

Some systems will run better than others. To enjoy a long, healthy life, every system must function at full potential. Each system is different, and requires a specialist. If you have a problem with your heart, you see a cardiologist. To improve business productivity, you hire an operations expert.

External threats can end the life of a human, or a business, regardless of how healthy it is. For humans, accidents and crime can be life threatening. For the business, external threats like competition and changes in technology can cause premature demise.

Finally, the human body and the business both need fuel to survive. The human needs good food, water and air. Exposure to bad food, water and air will shorten the life expectancy. Fuel for the business are customers, products and profits. The same fate awaits a business that targets the wrong customers and products and is not profitable.

The brain makes all the decisions for the human body. It determines the diet, level of exercise, types of risks, and bad habits like drug or alcohol abuse. Every decision the brain makes has a profound effect on every other system. Having a good brain is really important.

Leadership is the brain for the business. It makes similar decisions that affect everything else. A business must have a strong leader.

How healthy is your business?

Bill Nordbrock is vice president of community relations for SCORE Southern Arizona, a nonprofit that offers free small-business counseling. For information, go to, send an email to or call 505-3636.

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