Business Hacking

by Michael Graber

Business HackingThere’s an intriguing term known as Life hacking. According to Wikipedia, “Life hacking refers to any trick, shortcut, skill or novelty method that increases productivity and efficiency, in all walks of life … anything that solves an everyday problem in an inspired, ingenious manner. The term is primarily used by computer experts who suffer from information overload or those with a playful curiosity in the ways they can accelerate their workflow.”

Now, apply this concept of hacking to your business – both its cultural and internal flow and its offer in the world.

Internally, are there simply things you could hack? Let’s start with the basics: meetings, emails and always pre-wiring every meeting.

How many of you spend too much time in non-essential meetings, responding to emails that really do not require a response (or even a read), or pre-selling the hopeful outcome of a meeting even when it isn’t needed?

These vampires of dysfunctional business culture drain lifeblood from the corpus. Can you find a way to limit some of these non-critical-to-business mission behaviors? Can you let an email thread pass by without the compulsion to add a statement? Can you call for a different kind of meeting that is decidedly non-political and needs no pre-wiring, such as an open-ended exploratory meeting?

The real questions are: How much time and energy are spent on the wrong things that don’t drive business and how can these ineffective behaviors be hacked?

Then, there is hacking the actual business. Rethinking the product mix, a facet of channel or distribution, adding a service component, or making changes to the business models itself to leverage growth.

Only the three percent of leading companies actually have a business hacking loop to ensure growth and innovation that are both short- and long-term.

The only question worth asking is why aren’t others hacking their businesses, internally and externally, to grow?

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Michael Graber is the cofounder and managing partner at Southern Growth Studio, a Memphis, Tennessee-based firm that specializes in growth strategy and innovation. A published poet and musician, Graber is the creative force that complements the analytical side of the house. He speaks and publishes frequently on best practices in design thinking, business strategy, and innovation and earned an MFA from the University of Memphis.

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