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Smart Business Advice for 2013

A recent magazine article appearing in Fast Company magazine ("Lessons For 2013." Fast Company Dec. 2012: 88+. Print.) gathers up bits of advice from executives across many industries. I thought that much of the business advice was too good not to pass it along to our readers.

Don’t be afraid to take risks that other people are going to call you out on. It’s better to elicit passion than a lukewarm response. – Randi Zuckerberg, CEO, Zuckerberg Media: Executive Producer, Start-Ups: Silicon Valley on Bravo

I’m a big believer in this. By the way, even the scriptures tell us as much (see Revelation 3:15, 16)

As we grow, our potential clients should share the same value system. If they aren’t willing to compromise and learn our company culture, then we shouldn’t do the project. – Marcus Samuellson, Chef and Founder, The Marcus Samuellson Group

By the way, I don’t entirely agree with the term “compromise” in this statement. Compromise brings out the best of the worst, the worst of the best, and almost nothing else. Better, I think, would be a meeting of the minds around what produces the best result for the entire business ecosystem—a company and its trading partners (both customers and vendors) collaborating for improved profitability.

Entrepreneurship is a new corporate function. If companies are looking to have teams build new disruptive innovations, each team should have a leader whose business card says “entrepreneur.” – Eric Ries, Author, The Lean Startup

Listen to your customer both in person and online, and make changes to fine-tune the experience. That process is ever evolving. – Kevin Desanctis, CEO, Revel Entertainment

I would extend this: Businesses don’t compete against each other much any more. The real competitors are supply chain versus supply chain. Success today means listening to and collaborating with your firm’s suppliers as much as you must listen to your customers. Supply chain resilience and agility are increasingly demanding robust and proactive supply chain collaboration and engagement.

Ideas go nowhere if they stay in your head. Everything has to be communicated to the people who execute on ideas. – Dennis Crowley, CEO, Foursquare

Executives sometime bottle-up ideas in their own heads for a variety of reasons: perhaps they don’t yet believe that some ideas are fully-formed enough to bring them out into the open. This can be a mistake.

But, it is probably more damaging to success that executives and managers generally fail to actively seek and invite ideas from everybody in the company—and from customers and suppliers, as well. And, I don’t mean having a “suggestion box” and forms sitting around the office somewhere. I mean employing tools that aggressively seek to unlock “tribal knowledge” in order to bring forth ideas about what works and how things work (or fail to work) throughout the firm—whether it is the products, the services, relationships, business processes, policies, procedures, or whatever. If these are not brought forward, no one can execute on a process of ongoing improvement.

There is more competition than ever before. We have to stay one step ahead by doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing. – B.J. Williams, CEO, Young Hollywood

The Internet of things is emerging. Everyday objects like streetlights, household appliances, and medical devices are becoming connected. In 2020, everything that can benefit from an Internet connection will have one. – Warren East, CEO, ARM, Microchip design company

Watch this video. In Indianapolis, Indiana, parking meters are “connected.” You can even use an application on your smartphone to find an empty parking space! You can pay with your credit or debit card, and you can add money to your meter to extend your parking time from your smartphone when the alarm (indicating expiring time) goes off.

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