business 2.0

Having written about business 1.0 being an undesirable state of being for a company, I suppose the next thing to do is identify what makes a company business 1.0 and how you can transform your company into a business 2.0 organisation.

We all know business 1.0 organisations. We deal with them all the time. They are the ones who try to get your money off of you for as little effort on their part as possible.

Then there are the business 2.0 organisations. What is a business 2.0 company? Well, they aren’t necessarily new in the sense that they’ve just been formed. They could be quite an old or established company. No – a 2.0 company is one that thinks and acts in new ways. Just what does that entail?

So what companies are business 2.0?

  • Google
  • Innocent Smoothies Ltd
  • Apple?
  • Dyson
  • Patagonia (clothing company)

What do they do? They give people what they want. Good service. That is the key. Without all of the ‘secret’ hidden stuff that others do – The ones who charge for all the hidden extras, or stuff you don’t want – who have employees who seem to have joined straight after the Ark – whose idea of customer service is to do the least amount possible just to get the money.

These new companies are happy places to work. business 2.0’s companies are nice to their employees as well as being nice to their customers. They don’t unnecessarily pollute the environment. They don’t produce stuff just for the quick buck. They provide a quality service product. This may sound utopian – and why not? It should serve to improve the human experience, and if it doesn’t – why then, it should not be done.

Innocent Smoothies are a business 2.0 company. They give the customer what they want – good smoothies – and they do it in a fun way (enhancing and improving the human experience) whilst also being nice to their employees (also enhancing the human experience). No company should devalue its employees.

Google is a company which values its employees, it looks after them, feeds them well, gets a doctor to check them out, gives them toys to play with – anything which will make them feel good. They work hard – often long hours – and I think that Google benefits from its hard work looking after its people with the respect and loyalty and hard work in return from its employees.

I have noticed that something which marks the business 2.0 is the fact that they tend to concentrate on one thing – and also do it well. They don’t tend to spread themselves too thinly. Once a company spreads too thin they seem to lose that excellent customer service.

The one defining thing about 2.0 companies is that after you have done business with them, you have a better feeling inside. You don’t feel ripped off, or as though you have been manipulated. The transaction has been an honest one on both sides. It’s as much about the conversation that happens between the customer and the company as it is about selling the thing or service to you. That conversation is what would have been called marketing in the past, but it would have stopped as soon as a purchase was made. Nowadays, you can’t afford to just do that. You have to carry that conversation through after purchase, right through until the next purchase and beyond. It doesn’t matter if your product costs less than a pound. Think about what Innocent do. They have a website that not only explains how they do what they do but why they do it. They tell a story about the drinks they sell. You buy into the story as well as the drink. You would probably buy an Innocent Smoothie a second time.

So how do you go about transforming your company? The main thing is to remember that it is as much about that story and the conversation as the product, although of course that has to be great anyway. That conversation is increasingly a one to one conversation. A couple of years ago people were saying that you had to use blogging to reach your customers. Thats is still the case. Talk. Explain. Get feedback. But things have now changed. Moved on.

Now you need to reach people where they are. That means that yes, you probably have to advertise in Facebook. But there’s more. You have to be in there too. You. Not your company, you, the director, the manager, the man on the production line. You have to be able to talk to the customer and they talk back to you. One to one marketing is key to the future survival of UK businesses. And to do that you need to get social.

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