(Disclosure: No frogs were harmed in the development of this article.)
As a co-founder of Smallbusinesscan.com, I am passionate about helping SMEs grow and prosper. It frustrates me that lots of good SMEs tend to leave things too late. Hopefully this article will get you thinking and we maybe even get a debate going. If you want to comment, feel free to post below.
In my role as CEO of Bookbuzz I have the pleasure of reading and discussing a lot of business books. I amazes me how few CEOs do the same. The speed of change, the shortening of business and product life cycles, makes it vital to be up to date with the latest business thinking and adjust (quickly) your business and business models to that thinking. Not knowing is not doing is not going anywhere.
I will not bore you with our view that it not only you that needs to be up to date, but the whole organisation, so you can develop the collective wisdom of your organisation (and then use it effectively, saving money on consultants, training and execution: thats the Bookbuzz selling bit out of the way).
Let me ask you a few questions to check how much of a boiling frog you are (analogy is that a frog can be put in a bowl of water, the bowl is put on the stove, water is heated up, frog is happy until boiling point is reached, at which stage it is too late):
- What does “the long tail”, “buyology” and “free” mean to you business?
- Is your business concept inside or outside the pack?
- What is your view on generation Einstein?
- Which mix of the 33 strategies of war have you picked for your business going forward?
- Do you have a funky business?
- Are you an asshole, maverick, Calimero, spider, starfish, heretic, purple cow, emotional capitalist or wombat?
- Where are the black swans in your business?
- Is your business on the extinction of innovation timeline?
- How persuasive are you and your business model?
- How many of your actions are based on the collective wisdom of your organisation and/or stakeholders?
- How sticky are your stories?
- What can you learn from Apple, Sven, Rudy, Jack, Google, Dell and Shakespeare?
- Are you running a happy organisation?
- Are you smart or outsmart?
- Are you a Shackleton or a Scott?
- Are you running a good or great business?
The questions above are a bit unfair, as I am quite sure that wombats and Shakespeare will not be top of mind when you think business, but it should at least intrigue and hopefully trigger a response to find out more. Some of these questions, however are absolutely mission critical to your business.
You should develop a view before your business environment boiling point is reached.
Again feel free to comment below or if of interest, we will be very happy to organise an open Bookbuzz session where we will tell the story of the business books we read in the last year (which are the basis for these questions), where you can reflect and discuss some of these question with fellow entrepreneurs. Let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org) and if there is enough traction, we will let you know time, location and date.
Ron Immink is the author of a range of best selling publications on business planning, start-up and strategy for SMEs