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3 Ways to Make Your Business Bulletproof
3 Ways to Make Your Business Bulletproof
Something inconvenient and unfortunate happened in Brand Launcher world recently:
Our website got hacked!
Some stealth and sneaky cyber-invaders found what they deemed a perfect opportunity to weasel their way into our site code and turned our web domain into a spam bot. This subsequently resulted in our URL being blacklisted and many hours of clean up--halting our e-mail marketing activity and teaching us a valuable lesson about cyber protection.
Why am I telling you about this? Other than to inform you why our e-mails might have landed in your spam folder recently I’m also asking what lessons we as a company can learn from this and what lessons can be gleaned from the situation to share with you.
Have you stopped to ask yourself this question lately: “Where is my business vulnerable?”
I’m not necessarily referring to your website security (although that’s certainly worth considering also) but rather where are the cracks, the leaks, the blind spots and the weaknesses in your organization that are most open to exploitation? Where might your company be vulnerable to internal or external attacks and what do those attacks look like for your business? They can come in the form of competitors advancing in the market, team morale killers, financial wastes, marketing mis-fires and clogs in the sales funnel that all impact some aspect of your business’s function and weaken your internal infrastructure over time.
Your business might be trucking along happily and yet in your blind spot is a semi veering into your lane that you cannot see but it carries the potential of denting or even totaling your company. Every car needs side and rear view mirrors and so do businesses. These mirrors are created by bringing in fresh eyes to see what you can’t see. This will both create accountability to keep you on the road and heading in the direction you want your company to be as well as to help you identify and flag potential side line threats from catching you off guard and swinging a wrecking ball into what you’re building.
Does your company have those eagle eyes in place? How do you protect your company from the threat of invasion? How do you safeguard it and ensure its long term growth and vitality? As a leader in your company, ensuring its safety and well being is largely your responsibility. But how do you actually do that?
There are actually many ways but I want to highlight three core things that form the tripod of company stability which our coaches are specialized and highly successful in helping our clients to create and build as we’ve partnered with them and worked together to identify their blind spots, holes and gaps in their organizations:
1. Powerful teams
Do you have a company org chart so everyone clearly understands the architecture of roles and how they connect? Is everyone in your team engaged in the work they truly do well and have you empowered your team to lead and take ownership of doing what they are best at so you are freed up to do what you do best?
In his leadership training courses John Maxwell talks extensively about “playing to your strength zone” rather than trying to improve your weaknesses. But to actually do that you have to know what your strengths are. If you’re not sure, find out what your core competencies are which will help you to determine your areas of strength so you can fully maximize them. “Hey, but what about where I’m not strong? Don’t I need to improve my weaknesses?” That’s a very commonly asked question, but one with a short answer: “No”. Just delegate those tasks to members of your team that are rockstars in the areas of your weakness. If your weakness is their strength you have protected that area from becoming a vulnerability because someone else is keeping an eye on that blind spot for you. *Important note: this pertains to tasks and functions within an organization, not personal character traits. You have to develop and work on yourself to develop your own character weaknesses and can’t delegate “be kind to the flight attendant” to someone else.
Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg will never be paid to write a line of code. It’s not because he can’t. It’s because it’s not the highest contribution to Facebook that Mark can make--thus making it a waste of his time, even though it’s something he’s totally capable of doing. If your strength is sales and you’re knee deep in running daily operations then you’re not contributing from your place of strength and the company will suffer because it needs you functioning at your highest level of contribution; so if that’s sales then recognize you won’t be as good at any other area as you are in that one. Play to that strength and look for how you can be an even better salesperson. Lead internal trainings and strategy sessions where you teach your skills to other salespeople. Let those who are aces at logistics and details run operations.
If everyone in your organization is doing what they do best (including you) then your company runs at its peak because everyone is contributing from their highest point of value and no one is in danger of burnout doing work they are either not suited for or not as strong in.
2. Bulletproof systems
A business’ health can quickly be evaluated by the strength and efficiency of the systems it has in place. Every department, process and workflow needs a system that provides success benchmarks, helps to diagnose issues and provides a training platform for new team members that join your organization. It’s rather hard to train someone where no systems or processes exist which will be a source of confusion and frustration for your new employee and may create an invisible back door that makes it hard to hold on to great talent. If you are trying to create a sellable asset then your business must have efficient systems in place to transition ownership to anyone else (whether for a role, a department or a whole company)
“As a result of working with Brand Launcher, I am able spend more time with my wife and son - I now get home before he goes to bed. I never thought I would have this much freedom, to be away from the company and for it to continue running… I can actually enjoy life.” Tom Canete, Owner | Wayne, NJ
Do you have a system in place for how to manage incoming leads?
What about a process for how track the key performance metrics in your organization?
Do workflow systems exist in your organization?
What’s the process for managing tasks and projects across teams and departments?
What about an onboarding process and system for training new hires?
Every business has blind spots and vulnerabilities. Smart businesses slow down to identify where those are so that hopefully they don’t find out after a crash and have the additional downtime to repair and recover from the threats they didn’t see coming (like our website hackers) who found that moment of opportunity via an uncovered and unprotected vulnerability. Need a second set of eyes to help you identify where yours are hiding? Let’s chat.
3. Tests & Tracking
Guess how cyber security software determines if they are doing their job properly to protect your site? They try to hack it. They test the site over and over themselves looking for potential vulnerabilities that a hacker would look for. That’s the best way to know how strong the protection they are providing is and whether it’s operating at peak performance.
This is the same idea behind secret shoppers going into a retail store and experiencing from the customer’s vantage point what it’s like to shop at a particular store. It’s a way to test their systems from the customer’s perspective and a good customer service team will pass. You can conduct your own tests inside of your organization to look for vulnerabilities. But first, you have to know what to test for and how to properly track the results.
Some examples of things you can test are:
Client feedback on a service or product
New hire evaluation of the onboarding process
E-mail marketing stats
The best kinds of tests however are conducted by knowing how to ask the right questions of yourself and your team to self-evaluate your business. When you know how to ask deep, targeted and specific questions you’ll get a different caliber of answers. Self-awareness is scary and often uncomfortable but you can only change what you can see; thus becoming aware of your company’s vulnerabilities is critical to fixing problems while they are small or ideally preventing them altogether. Need a strategic second set of eyes to help you identify, find and fix vulnerabilities before they escalate into full blown issues? If you haven’t done it yet, take our two-minute Freedom Score Assessment to see where some of them may be hiding.
(This blog was a guest post by our Marketing Director, Abigail Wadsworth)