I bet that subject got your attention! I recently read that Marc Andreessen (founder of Netscape) sent a memo to the whole company around 1994 (at the height of their success) called “The Top 10 Reasons we’re going out of business”. It showcased where they needed to improve, and highlighted their biggest threats. This, of course, allowed everyone to focus on not letting those items get in their way. It sounds like a perfect thing to do now, as we begin the next decade.
IDEA FOR YOU: Develop and send your team a “GOING OUT OF BUSINESS EMAIL”. Grab everyone’s attention and generate laser-beam focus for the New Year. Here are some reasons I came up with for our own business (ePrize – www.ePrize.com):
The Top 12 Reasons we’re going out of business
1. Ignoring the voice of the customer, and being too focused on “us” instead of our clients. Forgetting our purpose.
2. Allowing bureaucracy to slow down and/or inhibit our creativity and progress. Not taking enough risks. Not being “lean and mean”.
3. Believing our own PR, getting cocky, and resting on our laurels.
4. Loosing urgency and straying from our fire-in-the-belly origins. Losing our hunger.
5. Not sweating the small stuff. De-emphasizing attention to detail.
6. Losing focus on expense control and the economics of our business.
7. Over-complicating rather than simplifying.
8. Not holding each other accountable – for both big results and daily behavior.
9. Too much manual heavy-lifting rather than system building.
10. Not moving quickly enough to adapt, evolve, and innovate.
11. Spreading ourselves too thin and trying to be “all things to all people.”
12. Accepting anything less than our A+ game at every step of the journey.
As you reflect on your own business for the New Year, what are the pitfalls that you can brainstorm now to avoid later? Creativity can be applied not only to new product innovation, but to solving a range of business problems… including identifying them in advance. Think of it as a “pre-mortem” instead of a “post-mortem”. Wishing you an amazing and peosperous 2010!