Great discussion today with Hiscox and some small business owners and experts.
There are LOTS of strategies, best practices and tools we need to grow our small businesses.
Of course as your technology evangelist, I know that using technology properly is one of those key things.
This morning I attended a breakfast hosted by Hiscox where some of the smartest small business growth folks around were in attendance. They included Ben Walter, CEO of Hiscox (who serves thousands of small businesses every year and knows their challenges); Melinda Emerson, @smallbizlady (a leading authority on the use of social media); Brian Moran (@brianmoran) (a leading authority on small business growth overall) and Jennifer Shin, of 8 Path Solutions (she creates innovative strategic, technical and data science solutions).
Here’s some of the top tips and issues discussed:
The type of business you are is important. Are you looking for high growth or looking to support your family? Depending on the type of business you are, this will impact what type of investments (time, money, and more) you will make in the growth of your business. This conversation also touched on how men and women work and more. Know what your goals for your business are and then plan accordingly.
Diversity is critical in the workplace. Ben shared that having a balance of diversity in talent is critical for business growth. This conversation was an outgrowth of our discussion on gender work styles. If you have people who are “mini-me’s” of yourself you won’t get a diversity of views and strengths in your company.
Flexible work forces. The healthcare reform (Obamacare known by many) will foster more 1099’s and those who want to work flexibly as they will now be mandated to have health care.
The millennial opportunity. Millennials (the young generation) are growing and it’s important that your business knows how to work with them. Ben masterfully expressed that at Hiscox they know young people might want to work different and not be so straight-laced as a “traditional company” so your business might need to know how to deal with this. On the other hand, Ben said that Hiscox invests quite a bit of money and time to train his young workers in how to be more professional.
Social Media is important. Businesses often don’t grasp the benefits of social media and they want to discuss the TECHNICAL aspects of social media versus first thinking about it as a content marketing and branding strategy.
Ben said that there are three benefits that technology enables small business owners to leverage.
To be faster (speed), Less friction (increased productivity) and access to scale (being able to easily replicate yourself).
Weeds vs Clouds: Are you looking forward or buried in the day to day of your business . Brian shared great insight about weeds vs clouds. The concept is that instead of being in the day to day weeds of your business and focused only on the day to day activities you need to be in the “clouds” and looking forward. You need to see what’s happening ahead in your marketplace and in your business (customers, products, etc) and plan according. Have a plan for growth.