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Want to Grow Your Business? 10 Hard Questions You Need to Ask

By: Jeff Bullas


Hard Questions You Need to Ask

Fixed mindsets irritate me.

You know what I mean. Heard the conversations.

We have always done it this way.

It is just a fad.

As we reinvent business and try to change, the foibles of the habitual human become evident. Calcified thinking.

The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones“ – John Maynard Keynes

The pace of change today has accelerated from the era of train and coal to the generation of rocket ships and robots. Being trapped in old habits that aren’t working well anymore stops us innovating in a digital age.

We need to let go of the past.

The thinking and practices that no longer serves us. A flexibility mindset is essential.

So….here are some of the hard questions you need to be asking to grow your business in a digital world and invest in the future.

1. What are your digital assets?

As visual creatures and hard reality infused homo sapiens, the world is often viewed from the perspective of what we can see and touch.

The ephemeral is often not valued. Maybe we can blame the accountants for that.

The digital world has assets that are hard to see and value. These are the hard digital assets we can measure.

  • How much traffic to the website?
  • What is your social network reach and distribution.
  • What’s your search engine authority?
  • What is the size of your email list?

Then there are “soft” digital assets. These are hard to quantify. The digital skill sets, attitudes and mindsets of your people.

Time to put a value on this new age equity.

2. Who are your companies thought leaders?

Command and control corporate thinking doesn’t like the notion of allowing its silent experts to become visible. To give them permission to be thought leaders.

The recent Edelman Trust Barometer – 2017 shows that the CEO’s trust level is plummeting and its employees credibility are rising. Employees are trusted 16% more than their CEO

It is time to make our in house corporate stars shine. Let them reveal their story and expertise. There is an added benefit amongst others. Make the corporation more human.

Do you let them shine to build credibility and trust?

3. Have you adopted marketing tech?

Do you own your marketing?

Just handing over all your advertising to an agency is dangerous.

The web tech of apps and platforms on the social web has put the power in your hands. To publish. To advertise.

Invest internally.

But you will also need marketing tech to do that.

4. Are you transforming dinosaurs into unicorns?

Most knowledge professionals attend annual training to keep their credentials updated. There are all sorts of acronyms for this. CPD (Continuing Professional Development) and even MAT (Mandatory Annual Training).

Nothing wrong with that but that is not even close to what is needed in today’s business environment.

What is required today is “continuous learning”

Accenture is evaluating its leaders based on innovation and spending $900 million in education (some are spending 80 hours in training a year) to deliver the technologies

Google gives its staff 1 day a week to work on their passionate ideas. Researching passionate ideas is a powerful way to learn, grow and innovate.

What is your approach to learning in your business?

5. Is your communications strategy digital?

PR is becoming content marketing. Is your PR company still sending out old school press releases.

Are you building out your digital communications networks that allow you to get your message out without begging gatekeepers?

Are you using the new emerging channels. Webinars, Podcasts and “Live” streaming?

6. Are you thinking global?

Skype, Google Docs and a social web have removed borders. But most of us still think local. Their is now a “world” of opportunities.

Time to re-think the current attitudes? Where your customer is and how you can reach them and work with them.

7. How many of your company’s board “gets” digital?

Paul McCartney was seen recently using an old Nokia phone. You know the ones I mean. The ones you can send a text with.

Maybe he can afford to be a bit old school.

But can your company?

The average age of independent directors in the USA is 63. There lies much valuable experience.

But is that enough?

Many need “unlearning” to take their companies into the future So the challenge to reinvent a business for a digital world is not to be underestimated.

What directors are using smart phones, tablets and apps and how are they using them?

Do they get it?

Are they open to the new opportunities? Digital thinking.

8. How many of your leads are generated from digital marketing?

Attending networking events with a stack of business cards leaves me cold. Cold calling disturbs me.

Digital networking and online lead generation needs to be part of the mix.

9. Are you treating small start-ups with respect?

Digital disruption is real.

Millennials dreaming of making it big with an app start-up are sometimes scoffed at. But we are in a generational shift of what business is and how we grow.

The start up scene rolls on and big brands have three options.

Ignore them, start your own or invest in them. Ignoring this shift could be dangerous.

What are your plans?

10. Do you hire the best talent even if it’s not in the right city?

Finding the right talent for this brave new world can be hard.

The culture of sitting everyone in the same room and making sure they are productive (and not on Facebook) is still hard to shake.

New thinking on where your best talent needs to be is summed up well in a book by 37Signals. The company behind the software “Base Camp.”

Many companies now have staff working in home offices and coffee shops.

The book “Remote: Office Not Required” is maybe worth a read.

The process

So here is a simple process worth contemplating to become digital to the core.

  1. Build digital awareness – You don’t know what you don’t know.
  2. Reflection – reflect on where you are in world of mobile apps and platforms.
  3. Continuous education – Build a program and culture of learning. Implement internal online training.
  4. Upgrade talent – Bring in new digital talent that has fresh eyes and attitudes.
  5. Prototype and iterate – Start creating and testing new digital tactics.
  6. Over to you.
Published: August 17, 2017

Source: Jeff Bullas

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Jeff Bullas

Jeff Bullas is a consultant, blogger, strategist, and speaker. He works with companies and executives to optimize their online personal and corporate brands through the use of social media channels. Author of the Amazon best-selling book Blogging the Smart Way—How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media (Jeff Bullas, 2012), Jeff's own blog is included in AdAge.com's Power 150 ranking as a top 50 marketing blog.

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