Archive for the ‘Business Models’ Category

The 3 incontrovertible reasons you should remote work next friday

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Working from a rather nice home by lute1 at sxc.huGo on.

Take up my challenge: declare a remote-work-next-friday day for your team.

I am speaking to all of you business leaders, mid managers and execs who have never even tried getting your team to work remotely. It’s all very well me in this blog talking endlessly about the benefits of remote work. But if nobody converts that into action – nobody will realise them. But you can change that today.

Three reasons you should do this

“But wait! – We’ve never done this before! We can’t just do this on friday!”.

What nonsense. And here are three utterly sensible reasons why.


1. Because you will boost morale

The very first time you walk in to your team and say ‘Hey – this week, we’re working from home’ it will feel almost as good as a holiday. There is enormous personal capital in creating what is perceived as a ‘perk’. Don’t get me wrong, your team will be working for you just as hard, if not harder. But it is pleasant to avoid your commute for a day, to make your own coffee, to have your own space.

Because you have chosen to offer this, you will find that the next time you need to rouse the troops to cope with something difficult, they will remember that you were there for them in the good times.

I’ve seen it happen.

2. Because you will see your team step up to the plate

Control freaks don’t get this. They see teams as doing nothing and going nowehere unless they are micro-managed to within an inch of their lives. Let me speak as someone who has been both a follower and leader of a team.

No!

Nobody is standing over my shoulder as I write this now. I’m writing it because – along with many other tasks I have to do today – it needs to be done to build the company I work for. To clarify – I’m not the owner of the company.

If you place faith in your team, they will return that faith in you

As a leader, that might just be an incredible lesson and reward for you – watching your team grow as you give direction, then slacken the reigns.

3. Because this means change

I’m indebted to Seth Godin’s blog for this one. We all want to do better than we are doing now. This will mean doing things differently than we do now. Obvious, really. If we don’t, we can only ever expect to get the same results as we do now. But our fear – Seth calls it ‘the lizard brain’ – stops us from changing anything – in case we make things worse by mistake.

By organising a single, remote-working friday, you are trying something new. It is not a central business-level change kind of new, so you are not risking that much – you will still be shipping the same products and services as you did on thursday. But you are exploring a possible new way to do something. You have conquered the inertia and fear, and you are experimenting with a new business technique.

Even if this doesn’t work – you’ve started a habit; trying things, not just doing the same things as you always did. This is a mindset, a way of perceiving the world and its possibilities around you. It is this mindset that will eventually lead you to identify – and act on – whatever change it is that results in bigger success.

So, go on. Just one day. Remote work friday.

Just remember, it works for us at Yuuguu – and we make it happen using our own product. Just sign up for a trial from our site, and start remote work friday!

Good luck! Let me know how you get on – the good, the bad and the ugly stories!




Tip of the Week: Avoiding Air travel

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Turns out there are many good reasons to want to avoid air travel – not least the expense. But what can you do when you simply have to work with your customer, right now?


Video will appear here.




The future of ‘Free’

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

I’ve been reading with interest lately about Chris Andersen and Freeconomics. His book  release and public speaking have raised a lot of debate about whether ‘Free’ is sustainable.

The problem here is that people are thinking of Free as just a marketing tool -eg i’ll give away content/product for free to hold these new pretenders at bay whilst still maintaing my old business model.

The reality is that Free is a business model. This is a subtle but very important difference.

If you want to give away ‘stuff’ for free and generate revenue from a small portion of paying users, then you need to have a cost base that allows you to make profit from this. You need to have expertise and business process in:

 

1. Acquiring customers for your free ‘stuff’ at very low (zero if possible) cost

2. Getting people to use your free ‘stuff’ so that they attribute value to it

3. Getting people to part with some of the value to you in the form of payment

4. Running your business to make profit whilst supporting all of the above

 

None of this is easy – many Web 2.0 companies that set out from day one to go down this route failed to make it work.

Its no wonder that large companies with established business models are fighting any transition to this model tooth and nail. The problem for a number of them is that customer expectations have been reset by new companies that can make this model work. This is the central argument of Freeconomics.

The incumbents have no choice now but adapt their business models, and embrace the freemium model. If they don’t they will die. Nowhere can this be seen more than in the media and publishing industries. As with any market transition it is painful and it takes time for value to be re-distributed in a fair manner.

Increasingly though this model is spreading to other industries. I was over in the Valley last week on WebMission 09 with some great Enterprise 2.0 companies, many of whom rely on word of mouth to replace big marketing budgets and web touch sales to replace travelling sales people.

They are fundamentally altering the cost structures and business models in that industry. More importantly, they are altering the customer expectation of how they buy services and what they pay for those services. Most of these companies are profitable, all are revenue generating and growing fast.

So is ‘Free’ dead – absolutely no. It is the other way around – ignore it at your peril.

I shall leave the last word to Chris Andersen:

“I’m not telling the apple to fall – I’m just telling that the apple will fall. That is what the laws of digital economics require. …you either compete with free or use free but fundamentally [it] is about how you make real money…”