Business-Building Thoughts From Terry Brock
I often work with businesses who are interested in the fast rise of Social Media and how it is making an impact on their businesses. They don’t want to spend too much time on these new forms of Social Media, but they also don’t want to be left in the dark.
Recently I shared concepts from the late, great Peter Drucker that can act as a filter for decision-making. If you filter your use of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other business activity through this you will be on the right track.
Drucker’s advice here?
The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer.
That simple phrase sums it up. If what you’re doing doesn’t accomplish either or both of these, it is not worthwhile. Remember the emphasis has to be on customers — this means those who are actually paying you money. If they aren’t paying you money, they are not customers. If they have a strong probability of becoming customers that is good. But remember, the emphasis has to be on those paying the bills.
This morning I was talking with a friend who has her MBA from Harvard. We were discussing the fact that she has been on Twitter for about six months now. I asked her what specific business results she has seen from that. She indicated that she had a lot of followers (people on Twitter who subscribe to her posts). However, she couldn’t point to any specific business that has come through — yet!
This doesn’t mean that time spent on Twitter is a waste. Far from it. Usually it is like advertising. You don’t always see a direct result immediately. If you’re not there regularly, you could lose business as people don’t know about you. People don’t usually buy on their first exposure to new ideas. It takes time.
I suggested that a business needs to develop a set of measurable deliverers. This is where the hard thinking comes into play.
A good tool can be one that was very popular years ago and is still valid today. Management By Objectives, or MBO for short. It was used and taught by people like George Odiorne, George Morrisey and initially introduced by Peter Drucker in 1954. Managing your business (and your life) by objectives has a lot of advantages.
This is a great way to know if Twitter, Facebook, etc. are accomplishing their goals. You, as a leader of yourself and your people, have to think through what deliverers you can measure. In a squishy world of need to be seen we have to think hard about what will help to attract and retain customers. You might measure the number of tweets sent, the number of followers, the number who visited a site you referenced, the number who purchased an offer, etc. Work with your people to determine realistic goals. This practice eliminates a lot of confusion and bonds everyone to accomplishing the same goals.
Measure what is important. Evaluate by performance within those goals. This will help clarify the business purposes of Twitter and other Social Media sites. Hey, it’s an important way to evaluate any business activity.
Important Point: One of the criticisms of MBO (by people like J. Edwards Deming) was that it failed to take into account a changing environment. This is a reasonable and understandable objection. Of course, the way around this is to build into any MBO system regular, periodic evaluations that allow for changing external circumstances. In other words, hey, things are different now and we need to adjust. Make sure the adjustments are based on real, unchangeable external factors and not just a lazy way to justify missing the goals. Again, this is where wise leadership and judgment are needed.
Twitter is a great tool for communicating. However, it can also be a great time-waster. Do the hard work — the thinking — first. Determine how you’re going to measure success. Filter results through Drucker’s attract and retain a customer prism. Use the methodology of MBO to set realistic, stretch goals that help you and your team achieve results.
This system will work in this economy and any economy in the future. MBO is a great way to plan and live your life. MBO is a great way to run your business. Remember to temper it with reviews adapted for changing circumstances and you have a winning combination.
Copyright © 2009, Terry Brock and Achievement Systems, Inc. Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and professional speaker who helps businesses generate profitable results. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or through his website at www.terrybrock.com. Join the Twitter adventure with Terry through his Twitter address: TerryBrock.