The last time your company implemented a new idea, how long did it take?

How much time went by before you developed the concept, tested it with market research, launched it, measured the results, tweaked the program and realized a return?

Eighteen months. Half a year?

How about a day, or less?

Get your company ready. The timeframe to transform ideas into actions is counted in hours. Online hours, that is.

Follow this example. Justin is in charge of an online golf store.

  • One afternoon it occurred to him that women golfers are a big and growing market.
  • That evening Justin logged into the company’s Facebook page and posted a question. “I’d like to put together a golf package specially for women. Any ideas?”
  • The first hour, no responses. He was confused. Why was it taking so long to get feedback? The reason was that the Facebook page was still new and only had about 1,500 friends. With a bigger audience what was about to happen would have simply happened faster.
  • The second hour, a couple of responses.
  • By the fourth hour, before going to bed, he had several solid ideas generated from a committed customer base.
  • In the morning he created an offer, posted it to the online store and emailed a trial segment of their online community.
  • Within minutes, sales. Within minutes!

What if it didn’t work? Adjust the offer. Email another trial segment and know within minutes if it’s working. Then blast the offer out to all relevant customers and feature it on the homepage.

Idea to action to result in hours. This is business online.

If it feels a little unsettling, rest assured this level of intensity probably already exists in your organization’s sales department. Sales managers often challenge their reps to think and act the same day.

“Who are you going to call today? How many of those calls will convert to meetings? How many of those meetings are you going to turn into proposals?” And on it goes.

It’s not just sales that translate into doing business online. Solidifying and expanding customer relationships, Brand building, thought leadership positioning. All of these objectives can be turned around on a dime if you have the right foundational pieces in place.

Obviously, you need a “living” website and “thriving” online community. That’s as fundamental to success as having a product or service to sell. Welcome to today.

Beyond that companies have to be strategically aligned, resourced, structured, and their people emotionally prepared to think and act in real time.

Strategically Aligned

Most companies have, we hope, a well articulated Long Term Strategy that takes the business from where it is today to where it could be in five, ten, twenty years. Then they create a Near Term Strategy that delivers on this year’s objectives, usually monetary, but also provides the stepping stones for achieving the longer term plan. Anything that’s created on a daily basis – real time – has to be aligned with both the Long Term and Near Term Strategies.

Resourced

The right people have to be working together in a collaborative mode, from employees who have a hand in the development, marketing, sales, IT, operations, finance, to the decision making manager and executive.

Structured

Generating ideas and transforming them into actions within hours requires a direct and immediate chain of approval. Ideas cannot bounce around in emails or gather dust on a desk before getting to someone who can say, “let’s see what this looks like set up”.

Emotionally Prepared

There are people in your company who may not be ready to think fast or act fast. It scares them. They’re not used to it. Train them in the process. Demonstrate how this real time way of working doesn’t add more pressure, it infuses more fun into your culture. It’s invigorating and inspiring and infinitely more satisfying.

Create the conditions for your company to think and act in real time, and literally witness success in quicker increments. Finally, every hour really does count. How are you going to spend it?