Here’s Why You Should Be Friendly With Your Competition


Part of being able to stay in business is figuring out a way to outsmart your competitors. Even though this is true, companies may get more value out of befriending competitors.

Why is this?

Building relationships allows you to work together to determine the best way to satisfy your customers. Here are a few tips on how to approach competitors in a way that will be mutually beneficial:

  1. Make the first move
  2. Be prepared to say no
  3. Continue the relationship

After initial contact, continue building the relationship (as desired). After all, doesn’t healthy competition force you to work harder?

Click here to read the full article by Zeke Adkins about befriending your competitors.

Avoid Ending Up In The ‘Recycle Bin’ By Implementing A Collaborative Work Environment

Recycle Bin

Are companies born innovative, or can they become innovative? Who knows for sure, but what Sarah Miller Caldicott at Forbes says is that a collaborative workspace can drive innovation.

What does this mean? Caldicott says the omnipresence of smart phones and smart devices across all employee ranks is accelerating big changes in how workspaces are designed. Even though collaborative work is now winning out over individual work as a percentage of total time spent in the workday, the available collaborative space in companies is lagging behind.

Here are four building blocks in creating a collaborative workspace that drive the connection between innovation and collaboration:

  1. Space that is flexible
  2. Space that inspires
  3. Space for small teams
  4. Space that reflects culture and brand

Read the full article for more details on Sarah Miller Caldicott’s thoughts and to see examples of how companies like Google, Whirlpool, Groupon, and Facebook are incorporating these building blocks into their own spaces.

How A “Growth Hacking” Culture Fuels Success


What is growth hacking? Tom Post, a member of Forbes’ staff, describes it as a relatively cheap, if intense and laborious, way of scaling growth for your online product or services. Growth hacking is achieved by acquiring, activating, or retaining users who come to the site with the idea of monetizing them.

Jon Orringer, Shuttershock’s CEO, gives insight into growth hacking at his company. He describes it as a cross-effort between product and marketing. He also describes it as an iterative and ever-evolving process that alternates among testing, monitoring, change, and testing. Additionally, Orringer says the best growth hacking involves a culture that is metrics driven with quantitative goals.

Do you think growth hacking is something that should be adopted by online companies?

Are You Too Smart For Strategy?

Businessman Struggling

In a recent HBR blog post, Roger Martin proposed that smart people struggle with strategy because they’re accustomed to finding the right answer and there’s just not one right answer in most strategy discussions. He goes on to say, “The best strategists aren’t intimidated or paralyzed by uncertainty and ambiguity; they are creative enough to imagine possibilities that may or may not actually exist and are willing to try a course of action knowing full well that it will have to be tweaked or even overhauled entirely as events unfold.”

While there is no doubt an element of risk and uncertainty in determining a growth strategy, this makes it sound like strategic decisions are based on gut, intuition, and past experience without knowledge of the future. We’d like to think you’re more empowered. That you can gather true customer insights to inform strategic decision making and monitor implementation – so it’s not guesswork but actually based on data.

Mr. Martin also suggests, “Great strategy is aided by diversity of thought and attitude.” There is no doubt that collaboration breeds better strategic decision making. Fine minds DON’T think alike, and, when it comes to strategy ideation, the more the merrier. We believe this so strongly we built numerous opportunities for collaboration into our software and live it strongly within the Vennli team (it’s one of our core values).

How do you collaborate in strategic decision making within your organization?

Does Everything Need A Strategy?

Confused Woman

Strategic planning, strategic thinking, growth strategy, business strategy, strategy implementation…. We throw these terms around a lot, and we spend a lot of time thinking about them. But are we getting a good ROI?

Russell Raath asks a good question in his latest Forbes blog post: Does everything need a strategy? And what does that even mean? He says the problem is that most people just don’t really understand what strategy is. He goes as far as to say that we are all guilty of overusing the phrase “strategic” to dress up normal activities like planning.

To be more effective, he suggests we be more strategic about using the term strategic and also have a shared understanding within the organization about what it actually means.

That sounds logical. We will take that challenge, Mr. Raath, and raise you. We think we should completely rethink conventional growth strategy. For one, strategy shouldn’t be done by executives in annual strategic planning retreats, but instead should be ongoing, collaborative, and driven by customer conversation.

How do you think our view of “strategy” needs to change?