Where Exactly Are You GOing? The Pathways To Digital Disruption

[Do you believe that you must be a startup business in order to disrupt your industry? I don’t eitherThis is Topic #11 of my upcoming business book on Digital Disruption for CMOs, Business Leaders, Entrepreneurs, and Digital Marketers who are tired of online mediocrity, and are ready to disrupt their business online. This is the raw, unedited content as I write the book, for each topic; it’s not in order either, like a finished book will be — just the core topics that I am picking away at. If you’re seeing this for the first time, read through this, then scroll down towards the bottom, to see how all these posts fit together.]

The Pathways To Digital Disruption

“Many businesses simply don’t get to a disruptive stage, as they haven’t actually gotten past the first progressive stages.”

There is a definitive process to disruption, as highlighted in other sections, and the “process” is actually part of the core methodology of digital disruption.

It goes without saying that there is an underlying, unassumptive process that all businesses will need to go through, in order to actually be aware of what is needed for a growing business, to get to the ‘disruptive’ side of things. While I don’t like to use the term, “levels”, as in ‘taking your business to the next level (which seems somewhat shallow, as there are many factors involved).

Let me explain.

When you first start a business, we are, as fundamentally identified by Michael Gerber of ‘The E-Myth”, as a technician. It is usually technicians who are good at their craft, that then start a business. While we are talking further down the road into small and medium businesses, we actually all start at the same or similar place. And, this place is typically where a lot of businesses stay — not knowing that there are many other ways to actually grow and enhance a businesses. The fact is, technology actually gets in the way of what we really want to accomplish.

In other words, many businesses simply don’t get to a disruptive stage, as they haven’t actually gotten past the first progressive stages.

With startups — yes, some of them have been able to skip a few steps, but for the majority of businesses, they need to be able to graduate from one scale to the next, otherwise it is not even possible to see what the business can actually accomplish.

Taken step by step, here are the 4 fundamental steps or levels to building a pathway to disruption, that most businesses encounter:

  1. Technical and technology focussed
  2. Process based methodology
  3. Strategic platform development
  4. Disruptive environment

Most businesses get stuck at the technical level — dealing with superficial concerns, getting the technology in place, getting a website running, etc. Then of course finding out their version is incorrect, this doesn’t work, that widget needs to be replaced, etc. These are all of the technical aspects that slow us down, yet we focus and fixate on them far too many times. There are always some businesses that “don’t want to think bigger”, because they are simply worried about the technical details. As I’ve said through this book, technology is a tool for you to use, for everything. Disruption does not come just with the technology, but rather with how you use the technology to your advantage.

And, most technical problems are relatively easy to fix. Call the programmers, call tech support; it is all almost ingrained into how we function as a business. Yet, at the same time it is actually slowing us down dramatically.

Tech happens. It doesn’t necessarily move you forward to get it solved. Unless you are a tech company — get someone else to help you sort through the myriad of technical technology issues. What is more important is that there is a deeper understanding that all of these can be addressed, and don’t need to affect the focus of your business. So what if you widget isn’t working — get it fixed. Technology can hold your business in one place. Reach past the simple technology and decide that your time can be better focussed on the actual business. Don’t let the technology slow you down.

After we have addressed the technology based issues, we next decide that we need to develop a process. Most advanced businesses tend to utilise processes to help them reduce the complexity that the business is creating. Processes help simplify a business, so that it can create and respond quicker to problems and solutions, and developing new solutions. A process is one of the key elements required to further propel a business to attain its goals. Those businesses that don’t have processes to help them navigate busy or tour bled waters will not survive to find an adequate solution. The businesses that do create and implement processes, across their entire business ecosystem are further reducing the distractions throughout the process, and enabling the people and businesses the ability to focus.

Creating processes can also create educational content that then extends the capabilities of the business, through the use of the processes.

Once we have more of the technical and processes adequately implemented into a business, we then decide that we need to take a look “forward”, to see what we can see, or what we may be missing.

While many people “talk” about strategy and a digital strategy in particular), many don’t actually know what it really is, how to determine it, or even how to use it. The outcomes are quite obvious — many businesses wander from project to project, without an overall concept of ‘why’, as well as the ‘how’ to grow the business. Many businesses want to “grow”, but again don’t have the strategic though processes in place to be able to do it effectively. Yes, businesses can grow without a strategy, but the concept here is that if you don’t create a digital strategy upfront, then you won’t be able to focus on what is really important, nor to make proper assessments of new project, or even to help forge your direction going forward.

Most businesses are not able to progress quickly enough through these stages, to disruption, This is quite glaringly obvious, as a lot of businesses are seemingly stuck in the technology, or stuck on developing processes that help the business scale. And, they are not able to even recognise the stages that they need to go through. Getting to the “strategy” side of it usually is also not considered later in the game — and in some cases far too late to be truly effective. When you add in the factors of disruption, you first need to get these aspects in order, otherwise it will simply be impossible to create any kind of disruption.

Finally, a disruptive environment is only going to occur once you have properly addressed all of the earlier stages. It will not happen magically, either. It will not happen overnight. In fact, it will still take an incredible amount of work to be able to implement. A disruptive environment is simply the ecosystem that you create to aid in disruption, which is the focus of this book. Even if you get to this stage, you still have many things to consider. But, what this does do is to identify, “what is next”. If you have passed through all of the earlier stages, then at least you are ready to proceed into the next stage.

The environment for disruption is important to recognise and reconcile as this is the space where change occurs for your business. Having everything else there is important as it will support the disruptive environment, but it won’t do it for you. It’s not automatic either, like passing through another level on a video game. It is simply the environment that you have created, that will permit this to happen within this space. This is the space where you can make some dramatic changes that will affect the future of your audience and your business. The environment of disruption is where you can expand your business and focus it more on your audience. It allows you the space to be able to consider disruption, and what you really need to do to advance your business forward. The rewards are moving forward in to the disruption stage. This is where the longer term success will be found, where the business can truly make a difference.

In my mind, this is why so many startups don’t happen or don’t survive — or start and fizzle out. Even if they have a brilliant idea, they still need to go through the natural progression of this business cycle. If you try to “skip” directly to disruption, you in fact don’t have the environment in place to foster proper disruption. Disruption doesn’t skip a step — failure is inevitable otherwise — “Don’t pass ‘go’, head directly to jail” kind of thing.

In terms of workload — each step is progressively bigger, with higher demands along the way. Dealing with technical issues can be handed off as needed. Developing processes takes time and resources. Creating strategies requires more outlay of resources. This is probably why most businesses get “stuck” at the technology level, as it is a serious drain on a company to move past that.

What if you could short-cut or hack this whole process to disruption? It can be done, by understanding the steps in front of disruption that must be carried out to build the environment, which I’ve outlined above.

You must be able to address your technology for what it is. Don’t let it hang you up or slow you down. Find the people and resources that will be able to quickly isolate, resolve, manage and fix your technology challenges, at any and all points along the scale. Technology will slow you down if you let it. Technology challenges are all temporary, yet we seem to focus on them forever. Even if you are a technology company, there are specific levels of technology that simply do not need to be affecting your business, unless you let it.

You must be able to systematise your business, for scaling and efficiency. Not knowing what you are going to do next, how you are going to deliver value, and the process that it all happens under will lead to repetitions and wasted time, energy, money and resources. Take the time to map this out, understand it and teach it will create the infrastructure to support your business going further and farther than your competitors.

You must be able to define a deep, digital strategy that gives you all of the parameters to manage and control your future. Having a roadmap — digital or otherwise, is always the best way to travel. Yes, you can wing it and have some fun along the way without to, but what happens when things get really serious — like an economic downturn, changes in consumer behaviour, fluctuation in your industry or market factors that you are surrounded by? It all has an affect on not getting you to your destination appropriately.

What if you feel that you are “stuck” in the earlier stages, but still want to be able to “create” disruption? The simple answer is to get these sorted.

  1. Stop focusing on the technology — focus on the delivery of your value. Get technical expertise where needed. It is always going to be there, and will always create trouble. Get over it and get on with your business. Don’t use it as a crutch for not advancing your business.
  2. Map out your processes. Set up a plan to create a schedule for producing all of your processes — everything — your customer value sequence, product delivery, customer acquisition, business development, sales, etc. We will go through more of this within the book itself.
  3. Create a digital strategy. Understand the simple things like ‘why’ you are in business, and how you will deliver value. What makes you remarkable? How will you create value over time. A strategic architecture is what is discussed in my earlier book — Breakthrough Online. We will also detail this out in the “Purpose” section of this book as well. Having a proper strategy is not kids stuff — it has to really hold the business together through all conditions of the economy, business, competition and your customers and audiences. It’s critical that you have these pieces in place, for something to really upon.

Then, once you have all of these factors in place, you can then begin the process of digital disruption for your business. Take your time going through the earlier three steps, as this is the foundation that you will need to build upon.

Disruption really is a journey, for lack of a better term. You need to create the environment that facilitates this. It is about putting the pieces in place that you need, and giving you the tools to be able to make it work together. It’s not just a word that you can use. You can’t just jump straight to disruption either — your business will not survive the leap.

Topic 11 — Video

Watch The Video on Topic 11 — The Pathways of Digital Disruption

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What Is This “Book Writing Challenge” And Why Should I Care?

Here’s my “challenge”, as I write my upcoming book on how to disrupt your business online. I’m planning on writing 30,000+ words in 30 days — so yes, average about 1000 words per day. This is a pretty big task, as some research and referencing also needs to happen at the same time. Everyday that I write pieces of the book, I’m going to post it here onto Facebook Notes, as well as onto Linkedin Publisher. There are no sacred cows, no leprechauns, magicians, not even any unicorns here.

The good thing is that I have a mind map that I’ve used to outline the main topics of content.The content will be “raw” = no editing; only ideas and concepts. It may not look pretty, either. Editing comes later — I’ll be sharing this as well when the time comes. It won’t even be in order either, as it is impossible to write completely sequentially.

I’ll also try to create a short video that also elaborates on the concepts that I’m writing about, to hopefully fill in some extra gaps, or give me some more writing to do.The first release will be the paperback version mid 2017, followed by the ebook.

You can jump in at any time along the way — no need to follow everything — just that which might interest you and help you in your business journey — see more details below of all of the different topics that I’m putting together.It’s going to be a living, breathing, thinking book project. I know that most authors work “in secret” not wanting their CrackerJack “unicorn prizes” to be revealed until the end… I’m thinking otherwise :). I

’m thinking that by showing you what I’ve got started, and getting feedback and insights along the way from you, we’ll be able produce something of greater significance. And, who knows — maybe I’ll even have a few other co-authors along the way…?

Most assuredly, I would appreciate your feedback along the way as well. When you decide that you would like to post a comment or send something my way, please consider these 3 questions:

  1. Does it make sense? Or am I just spewing gibberish? :)
  2. Can I apply it? How can I make it work?
  3. What can make it better? Images, Illustrations, Questions…

Thank you for listening, reading, watching or even lurking! :)

See you online!

Doyle Buehler

How To Connect With The Writing Challenge

If you would like to find out what interests you about digital disruption, please follow me on my social channels, or by going to www.disruptors.digital to get more details and links emailed to you. You’ll also be pre-registered to get a full copy of the book when it is ready to go.

Here’s the growing list of topics as part of my upcoming book writing challenge:

  1. Intro To The Book Challenge: https://www.facebook.com/notes/doyle-buehler/my-new-business-book-writing-adventure-why-im-giving-everything-away/10154832702212356
  2. Topic 1 — Digital Velocity: https://www.facebook.com/notes/doyle-buehler/topic-1-digital-velocity-my-new-business-book-writing-adventure/10154839423202356
  3. Topic 2 — Digital Purpose — https://www.facebook.com/notes/doyle-buehler/topic-2-digital-purpose-my-new-business-book-writing-adventure/10154839499132356
  4. Topic 3 — Digital Experience: https://www.facebook.com/notes/doyle-buehler/topic-3-digital-experience-my-new-book-writing-adventure/10154846598277356
  5. Topic 4 — Digital Entrepreneurship https://www.facebook.com/notes/doyle-buehler/topic-4-digital-entrepreneurship-my-new-book-writing-adventure/10154853104252356
  6. Topic 5 — Digital Patterns http://bit.ly/2iz8WwT
  7. Topic 6 — Digital Insights https://www.facebook.com/notes/doyle-buehler/topic-6-insights-are-king-not-content-my-new-book-writing-challenge-on-digital-d/10154869298482356
  8. Topic 7 — Your Future Is Digital https://www.facebook.com/notes/doyle-buehler/topic-7-your-future-is-digital-my-new-book-writing-challenge-on-digital-disrupti/10154875389047356
  9. Topic 8 — Humanizing Digital https://www.facebook.com/notes/doyle-buehler/topic-8-digital-disruption-humanizing-digital/10154882128362356
  10. Topic 9 — Disruption Mindset https://www.facebook.com/notes/doyle-buehler/topic-9-the-digital-entrepreneur-disruption-mindset/10154906662072356
  11. Topic 10 — The Wave of Disruption — https://www.facebook.com/notes/doyle-buehler/topic-10-digital-disruption-the-drowning-wave-of-digital-disruption/10154915721377356