Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to change your brand, a strong internal organisation in addition to the right technology and tools will boost your business to the next level.
Say you decide to change things up and reinvent or accelerate your business. This entails finding a product or service which captures a whole new target audience and generates a new revenue stream. That’s not an easy task and it’s often a time-consuming process. But it’s worth it. Find the core of your business and revamp yourself whilst sticking to your values and you’ll become ten times the brand you once were.
In order to do this, let’s start by accepting (and embracing) digital transformation. It’s a given by now that can no longer be negotiated. But let’s define it: digital transformation is about strategic deployment of digital opportunities in the acceleration and re-invention of your business. Don’t assume that all digital disruption has been done. Think of all the little daily annoyances you still experience. That’s a lot of opportunities, we’re just getting started at discovering how technology can help us.
Ten Life Lessons
No matter the end goal, trustworthy and skilled workers are needed to make dreams a reality. Teams are the essence of the workplace and allow for divergent input/expertise and collaboration. So, whether you are a startup or a larger company trying to innovate or simply looking to make a few changes to stay future-proof, there are a few guidelines you can follow to ensure your team, and as a result, your brand is and stays successful during this digital era.
1) Be clear on the real goal
What do you want to achieve? Usually, the goal of any startup is to successfully launch something, whether it be a product or service. The next logical step is to make money from said product or service. Now, few people will think past these two steps but picture your company one year, five years, heck even ten years from now and envision how you will have evolved. There are a lot of important components to keep in mind other than sales such as having a strong digital team that supports you during your growth. Important decisions will have to be made along the way, think ahead as to how you will handle those according to your vision.
2) Start delivering fast
Everyone has a tendency to want their first product or service launch to be perfect. To make sure that they have thoroughly thought of all aspects and ironed out all the flaws. However, that’s not realistic. A more sensible approach would be to get something into production in less than four months. Stop talking and start moving. Make decisions and come to terms with the fact that the first product or service you offer may not be perfect. Moreover, the launch is not an end-all-be-all moment; continuous optimisation, once the launch phase has passed, is part of the process. Additionally, the launch of a product will unify teams of employees as the idea they have spent months working on is now a reality. So don’t spend too long in the planning phase and become stagnant.
3) Resist the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) creep
This point goes hand in hand with the previous one. A lot of time can be spent debating about the product and you may even get distracted at times by the numerous shiny opportunities and extensions you could offer. However, rather than improving the product, those extra features may end up diminishing the end result. So, resist the creep, be strict and stick to your original MVP profile.
4) Don’t over-architect
Of course, the goal is world domination and for that infinite scalability is needed. AI could be used to make the perfect recommendations to the customer or maybe AMPscripting for hyper-personalisation. It’s easy to get lost in thought as to how to best manage if large crowds visit the website or what to do if over 1.000 people subscribe in less than a week. But, let’s be real, that’s (unfortunately) not very likely to happen. Yet, a lot of talking, planning and brainstorming might start to happen and less actual action. If that’s the case, cut it short and stick to the original concept. The first order of business is to get your company off the ground, scalability issues are for later.
5) Set up tools, processes and culture
Creating a familiar working environment for employees is just as important as creating a productive one. Newcomers should be able to use their favourite tools and start working immediately when hired. Also, by picking platforms, software and processes which match the industry and current trends will make for an easier transition. So, if everyone in the industry is using Slack as an internal communication tool, jump on-board! Ensuring new hires match the company culture and are familiar with your tools and systems, means they can take off running.
6) You can’t outsource it
In this day and age, it’s very easy to outsource almost all aspects of one’s business from producing to marketing and everything in between; there are external companies who can do it for you. That’s convenient, but not necessarily a good thing, especially when it comes to digital teams. Having your own people in place, who are knowledgeable and specialists in their field can contribute a great deal in helping organisations to achieve growth. You will also have the added bonus of being more efficient. So, own it.
7) Deliver the right promises to the board
Your board of directors has taken a chance and has invested money in your company. This is a strong motivator to deliver and succeed. So, start with a solid launch plan and avoid promising high turnover numbers as you cannot be sure how the public will react to your new product/service. Instead, focus on clearly explaining your concept and how you plan on revealing it. Make the board a part of the launch celebrations, honour them and make them feel special as without them this process probably wouldn’t have happened. They too are a part of the team of people who are pioneering for the idea. Thus, remember to be realistic, but deliver.
8) Keep on selecting the team
Start your business with a core team, five or six people that you truly trust and that will stay with you for the next few years. Those people will most likely be heads of departments. The rest of the team should be considered more interchangeable. It’s a harsh truth, but in this ever-changing market, jobs and responsibilities are often evolving and therefore brands need flexibility.
Now, we’re not saying that everyone is replaceable and that a high-turnover rate should be your goal. Obviously, talented employees that can adapt and evolve with the market are still very much needed. But flexible contracts, for example, is one way to allow your brand some versatility. However, the right tools and processes will make swaps easy and facilitate the transition period allowing newcomers to jump right into their roles. For example, a developer with the usual tools at their disposal should be able to ship code by the end of the day. If not, it could be due to lack of skill but also new and unfamiliar systems will slow down the learning and transition phase. Hiring a new employee is always a good test to ensure you have the proper set-up in place.
9) Align interests
In larger companies, with many different departments, it’s easy for everyone to do their own thing. People have different contracts and interests and each department has its own strategic goal. However, that can be problematic and can lead to chaos as everyone is pioneering for their own interest. Projects could take longer and priorities will be meddled. As a brand, you need to ensure everyone is in the same boat. Align department objectives to the overall strategy for the best results. But also, coordinate personal employee interests to your long-term goals.
10) Building your own DXP
Many existing software solutions work with established platforms to make life easier. Now, you might be feeling ambitious and decide to build your own digital experience platform (DXP) as no existing one fully meets your needs. Great idea! However, integrating it with other existing platforms in the back-end can be finicky. So, when building a DXP, creating it in such a way that it can hold all the necessary information but be integrated later into the back-end will save you a bit of hassle and buy you some time. You can work with it immediately but can combine it with other platforms at your own pace. Two birds with one stone.
Creating the right company culture
Although the above advice works as a nice framework to keep in the back of one’s head, another important aspect and one that is often overlooked is creating a matching company culture in which all of these measures can actually thrive. The company culture should align with a brand’s core values and beliefs. To start off, creating a successful company culture is about finding the right people. Hiring talented personnel, and that includes management, who reflect the brand values and feel a sense of passion and motivation for your company is a must.
Creating a company culture is also about creating transparency. Ensure that everyone knows exactly their role and who to turn to for any questions or problems. Also, each employee’s capabilities and strengths should match the projects and tasks that are assigned to them. Ensure that there is ample time for feedback and learning. Mistakes are allowed but teams also need an established support system to turn to when things don’t quite go as planned.
Lastly, make sure to give your team enough freedom. Instead of creating a lengthy rule book try formulating a few key team goals, but let go of how people must go about these. After all, not everyone works the same way. By giving them responsible freedom, you are allowing employees to develop themselves personally and deliver the best results without restricting them.
Uniting all aspects
Whether you simply want to innovate your business or completely reinvent your brand, a strong internal organisation will take you to the next level. Follow the industries trends and incorporate new tools and technology. Always remember to deliver, don’t get too bogged down planning and talking about world domination: start doing it. From the tools you use to the employees you hire; if everything is aligned with your core values and beliefs you will be able to take off running.