Hello Again to all, and sorry it has been a while since I published. Busy, busy busy! I recently wrote a response to a fellow on another business social site blog and it seemed to strike the cord I wanted with a number of other business people reading it. The fact is it has been referenced now by quite a large number of folks in their posts, and so I am adding a portion of my post here for your benefit as well. Hope you find this helpful in your business?
The following is an edited copy of a post response to a question on a major business blog, and necessarily begins somewhat mid sentence:
… However I am not sure if you understood me correctly. I am very concerned with companies who make decisions about marketing and activity in Cyberspace, or any other marketing or advertising, without that action being the direct and intenional part of a comprehensive plan they have made for their company. And I mean a plan that is ongoing and continually revised as needed. I do not see websites as even an option for a company any more, as print advertising admittedly is. As we all know too well, you have to have a site in this day and age, but having one with no functionality, with no interactivity for visitors and one that does not successfully engage them immediately, providing what customers come to your site for, is of little value. The problem is I see too many small companies being overwhelmed with the “marketed” side of the web. That is the hue and cry from the armies of computer techs and IT sales people selling the small business owner on the absolute necessaity of all the items they “have to have” and all the things they “have to be doing”. All this with no apparent thought to the ridiculous and unsustainable amount of time that would require for managing those media effectively! I would like to see more business people take the time to run their business with a proper and well thought out business plan (no other way will succeed nearly as well); and as part of that plan, have a thorough vision of how your website, blogs or other OPTIONAL items items in cyberspace fit into forwarding your business vision and can positively impact and advance your business and marketing plans. I would like these folks to get past all the hype about everything internet based and remember the reason they opened their business was to make money, not become a web maven, unless that IS your business of course.
Simply, too many small companies I visit are overwhelmed with all they are doing in Cyberspace. So much so that often (not always but too often) they have and/or are spending too much time with the newest “have to have” web, blog or other offering and telling me how it is going to revolutionize their business, like that will validate the excess of time and money they have and will spend on it! All while the “business” of their business is suffering and they don’t see it! I know myself that I got caught up in the interest and potential in social media, blogs, and my own sites as well. But you to often find you spend your days managing those communications on the chance it will pay you, rather than doing what you already know WILL pay you! One of the great values, if not the greatest value, of business planning is that you literally get to make your mistakes and see your potential disasters or successes on paper (mostly), where it does not kill your company! I’m happy to see more businesses today are taking the time to carefully plan IT expense and activity, and make those assets and people explain and prove in advance that the expenditures and choices are needed and will profit the business. That includes planning the results required in advance for such items AND the metrics put in place to measure those results immediately and ongoing, just like any other tool or aspect of your business. But that is mostly large companies with substantial IT staffs, while too many (the vast majority) of medium and small businesses do not do this. That is my concern for these businesses, and what I am trying to point out in my earlier comments, albeit, gently. In fairness to all my IT friends, it IS the responsibility of the business owners, CEOs and/or CTOs, not the outside IT sales or marketing folks, to do the planning and maintain the business value in all cases. Owners need to work with their IT suppliers to use those company’s and their people’s knowledge to make your business IT plans reality. That also includes that you use the time on many of the good business social sites to learn as much as you can about how these items actually work, can best be used and applied. Then use that knowledge as part of your decision making process of what cyberspace items you will use and what time and money you will commit, and as or more importantly, what you won’t do! In the case of time or money, do understand that this area is one you will need to commit at least 6 months (more like a year minimum) to educate yourself, as it will take time to develop your tools and knowledge to a level that will produce any discernable returns from your efforts. Make sure in advance that you can afford the time and expense before you commit. And again, make use of all the exceptional Social Media potentials for your business, but do it on a measured and thought through basis, continually reassessing the real, measurable value to your company versus time and money spent! If you must be addicted to social mdeia for fun, then save it for your off hours. Good Luck!
Bruce LaFramboise, AInstIB