“The importance of news flow every week”: Talk at Melbourne Business School

By February 25, 2015Uncategorized

How can you generate “News Flow Every Week”?

Michael Mc Nelis, 8 years old, a newsboy. This boy has just recovered from his second attack of pneumonia. Was found selling papers in a big rain storm today. Philadelphia, Pa., 06/12/1910

I was invited to give a lecture this week at Melbourne Business School on growing entrepreneurial ventures.

One of the core concepts I talked about was the idea of “News Flow Every Week”

Here’s a shortened transcript of the relevant section of the talk:

“One of the interesting characteristics of B2B is that your business is completely dependent on such a small group of stakeholders. In a B2B business you might realistically only have 10-20 people who have the power to completely determine the future of your business. Say you’ve got:

  • 5 employees
  • 20 clients
  • A couple of investors and service providers like accountants and lawyers.

All of these people are completely integral to your business being able to continue operation.

Just think about this for a second. Your business in B2B is completely dependent on 10, 20, 30 people. It’s not a lot of people. As soon as any one of those people loses faith in the future of your business, you’re in trouble… A lot of trouble.

And we know that people aren’t rational. Sometimes they’re having a bad day and that’s being translated across to your work. Or you’ve stuffed up for the first time in 3 years. Whatever it is… What I’m saying is you’re completely dependent on the confidence of a very small group of people. And you’ve got a very small margin for error.

I say all this, because when I start talking about News Flow Every Week, it sounds like I’m talking about just marketing. Part of what I’m talking about is definitely marketing. But it’s more than just that. News Flow Every Week is also about building confidence in that really small group of key stakeholders. It’s about increasing your margin of error. 

So with that intro out of the way, let’s jump in and get practical on what I really mean when I say News Flow Every Week.

News Flow Every Week means we have to achieve something every week that we can announce publicly. It’s an internal and an external benchmark of progress.

More often than not, News Flow Every Week doesn’t actually mean more work. It means restructuring what you’re doing to more modular components so that you can announce much more frequently and stay front-of-mind. 

News Flow Every Week isn’t hard, if you optimise the business to think this way. But you need to get into a mindset where you can chunk projects and opportunities into pieces of work that allow you to announce progress in a modular way. 

When you start thinking this way, there’s tonnes of opportunities to generate News Flow Every Week:

  • You’ve won a great client
  • You’ve completed a really interesting project
  • You’ve added a product feature
  • You’ve started writing blogs
  • You’re on twitter
  • You’re speaking at a conference
  • You’ve added a member to the team
  • You were quoted in the press
  • You’re releasing some core new thinking
  • You’ve got a new addition to your product offer
  • Launching a survey
  • You’ve got a new slideshare up

It’s all great newsflow, that shows you’re continuing to make progress and invest in the future. Above all, this kind of news flow gives you momentum.

Momentum is exciting. Momentum is addictive 

Peggy Bacon in mid-air backflip, Bondi Beach, Sydney, 6/2/1937 / by Ted Hood

Think about it, a business that’s announcing great news every week is a great place to be around (whether you’re a client, employee or investor). Sometimes you have to make the news. And sometimes it’s just you need to publicise it. 

Don’t misinterpret this as you should only work on things that take a week to deliver. Nothing could be further from the truth. News Flow Every Week is the oxygen that lets long term projects live and breathe. It’s what convinces stakeholders of the merit of the projects (and your progress in delivery). 

SMEs die in silence. They die because they get forgotten. They die because they’re not front-of-mind. No other reason. News Flow Every Week is how you prevent this from happening to you.

We’re not trying to get PR every week, but we’re forcing ourselves to seek external validation of our progress every week.

For us, sometimes we’re announcing this via the blog. Sometimes we’re announcing via news release and PR. And sometimes we’re announcing with a small targeted email blast. But we’re always announcing. And we’re always making sure it’s something public that we’re accountable for.

Breaking your leadership thinking down to News Flow Every Week is one of the most powerful concepts for maintaining momentum in a SME. I’d strongly encourage you to see how you can start finding one thing on your to-do list to announce. If you start looking for it you’ll start finding something to announce… each and every week.”

So let me just sum up with the four key principles of why I’m such an advocate of News Flow Every Week:

  1. Momentum gives SMEs life. News Flow is concrete proof of momentum for everyone involved in the business.
  2. If you’re doing more work to generate News Flow Every Week, you’re doing it wrong
  3. News Flow Every Week can force you to small chunk large projects and pieces of work to week long modular sprints (which is also a great thing for team motivation)
  4. Forcing yourself to publicly announce every week also has the side benefit of making sure large projects have market validation”

 – Steve @ TLP