My favourite movie of all time is Wall Street and there is a specific quote in the movie when Gordon Gekko is speaking to Bud Fox that really resonates with the point I want to get across in this post. He says:
“Do you know why fund mangers can’t beat the S&P500? Because they’re sheep and sheep get slaughtered.”
What this means is that if you follow the crowd, you are going to get the same results as the crowd, which in many cases is not that good. You see, there are no rules in running a traditional business except the ones we make up and decide to follow. But it’s not your fault, we are designed to be part of the tribe, to stick together. This is engrained in us in both our upbringing and through the media. What we now know is: running a traditional business may be your biggest risk!
So let’s look at a couple of different strategies to help minimise this risk:
- Pre-internet advertising was the era of billboards and newspaper ads. Think of the Mad Men drama series. Even the Yellow Pages is now history. Remember receiving them on your doorstep? Digital Marketing has now made it cheaper and easier to target your perfect customers through paid ads e.g. Google Adwords or Facebook Ad’s. But even better, Google receives 40,000 searches per second and that could be someone looking for your business or a product/service you sell.
Embracing the Cloud
- Cloud technology has really disrupted tradition business with the ability to access different business functions from anywhere in the world on any device. Gmail allows you to access your email from anywhere. Dropbox allows you to store documents in a ‘virtual filing cabinet’ and share and collaborate. Xero has taken bookkeeping from pen and paper to automatic bank feeds and ability to access from anywhere and have your accountant monitor. Receipt Bank allows you to upload suppliers invoice which are processed, PDF’d and synced with Xero. With Skype you can video call anyone in the world at the click of a button. I could keep going all day but you catch my drift. There is a cloud solution for almost any and every function in your business which allows you to cut costs and improve efficiency at the same time. That’s innovation if I’ve ever seen it.
- So, now you’ve implemented all this cloud technology, allowing you to work from anywhere. Why not take your team global!? Having a team in another country has been a strategy of the big telcos for a long time, but now it has gone mainstream. Sites like Elance and oDesk allow you to post jobs and freelancers can quote and show off their skills. From there, you choose the winning candidate and the job starts. For a more permanent role, there are businesses like Grow My Team and Virtual Staff Finder that will source the perfect candidate for you for any role! Which roles? In a quick search, we found graphic design, web design, SEO, copywriting, digital marketing, administration, email management, bookkeeping, project management, data entry– just to name a few. If a task is process driven, it can be outsourced.
- This stands for Capital Expenditure and means buying (usually large) assets in your business. So things like buying a server to run all your IT systems or fitting out your office with furniture and desks. By embracing cloud technology you can dramatically reduce your CAPEX on IT and computers. You no longer need to purchase, upgrade and maintain any servers. Also, with so many co-working facilities now available around the world it is debatable as to to whether you need an office anymore, thus slashing things like rent, running expenses, fit out costs etc. To learn more, check out these two from Melbourne: Queens Collective and Depo8.
- How about running a business completely online? By doing so, the product is marketed completely digitally via paid social media ads, email and affiliates. Creating sales videos multiply your reach and can be targeted to your exact market! They also take your target market from a state of curiosity to wanting to purchase much quicker than traditional types of marketing. Online gateways like Stripe allow you to process, track and report on all payments. Remember back in the 90’s when software would be snail mailed to you and you’d have to download the disk? Now, the product is either emailed to you or perhaps you receive a login to a membership area of a site to access the content. The human aspect of this process is around administration, IT and member support….which you can outsource 😉 Check out Discover Coaching’s enrol page for their Mass Persuasion online sales training where they teach you to pitch, negotiate and influence in your business! I’m a graduate from the course and can tell you- it’s an absolute ripper!
This is only the tip of the iceberg, so if you are not already implementing some or all of the above, it’s about time you put your creativity hat on and really challenge the way you run (or perhaps wish to run) your business.