While I was earning my graduate degree, I served as the COO to an $8MM ecommerce start-up. This company was at the cutting edge of marketing technology and we were one of the first early adopters of the SEO tactics. We solely depended on, and fully applied all SEO (and later SMO) techniques to generate revenue and drive sales. Since my responsibilities included analytical project management of our SEO teams, during my tenure, I soon realized the power of marketing.
After a successful exit, I decided to consult for a while until I figured out what to do next. It was a good way to keep me sharp and get me out of the school library – which was my main concern. While landing small consulting projects, I soon realized the one major shortcoming that comes with this line of work (perhaps a byproduct of small businesses). As the consultant, you become their advisor, lawyer, psychologist, professor, confidant and friend. The latter three don’t bother me. But for former three are unsettling.
More specifically, a few of my accounts lacked “out-of-the-box” thinking executives, talented leadership, core values, a sustainable business plan, cohesive work environment, etc. These were not small business by any means. Most of the executive team walked around with black cards and cars that could make the most motoring dunce turn their head. Because of my background in operations I was asked to extend my services beyond marketing to help with operations and employee management.
I (eagerly and foolishly) jumped at the opportunity to aid these companies in an effort to see them succeed. After all, their success meant my success. It was my mistake to venture into these companies’ operation matters. It’s like going over someone’s house to install cable and they ask you to help discipline their children. It never turns out good. I should have kept my responsibilities within the constraints of what I was contracted to do.
However, the bifurcation of my core focus took away from my original goals. In my effort to aid these companies, I hurt my own endeavors, my own goals and ultimately my bottom line.
When companies (regardless of their size, revenue, infrastructure) lack foresight and vision for their own future, they WILL inherently fail; especially when these companies are driven by greed men who have a veiled sense of false bravado. but I digress… My consulting firm which started off as a digital marketing consultancy, morphed into an operations management/project management/web development type company. I started hating what I was doing. This is why it is important to harness and cultivate your core talents and competencies and hone in at what you’re good at, especially, if you are the only person in your company.
Stay focused my friends.