I got a huge amount of inspiration from the last EO forum.   I cannot disclose the exact details of the topics, however the big outcome from one of the forum sessions for me was the value of strategic thinking.    It was interesting how some people are very focused on strategic thinking.   It go so inspired, that I followed the pattern. 

The whether was great, and I had a free afternoon – it was 4PM – and I grabbed a quiet open air table in the Village (Beijing).   (location)     I had my headphones on and high energy music (isolation).   I had a lot of people walking by (energy).   I had a nice cool perier and a light salad (comfort).  

By putting these ingredient:

1. location, isolation, energy, comfort – I was able to ‘trick’ my mind away from the ‘right’ side and move it over to the ‘left’ – the create site.  I started with my favorite book and a blank sheet of paper and started the brainstorming chart, layout out the 5 year plan (beyond what I did for my business plan).   Working through this, was brilliant.   By putting myself in ‘strategic’ state – I looked out and identified some interesting ‘musts’.

In particular, I identified that I need two major things:

1. A site manager, commission based, that will take over from me the ‘sales’ role of each site.  Basically, I need someone to take on the PPC, Affiliate, SEO, P&L responsibility for each segment.  I guess this is nothing ‘super’ new, because I have had that on my drawing board 3 years ago BUT I didn’t really look seriously at acting on this till that moment.   At that movement,  I changed it from strategic to tactical move – and will  be transforming that into action.

2. I looked at the technology play, and looked back as to what role technology played in our success.   I think to a large extent our technology was a huge help – it wasn’t 100% our success but it was definitely  big contribution.  So, given that, I looked forward, and realized that I had eased off on some of the technology that I had planned to do 3 years ago.  Again, the full package for RedStores.com consisted of a full ‘supplier’ interface – and product management system akin to Amazon (but better and in multi-language).   So, this was again a moment, where I took a strategic look 5 years out, and converted the ‘vision’ into action.   My plan now will be move forward with the supplier side automation  – work out the business processes, translate into technology, then implement.   Actually, the whole basis for investment into Sharepoint was to be able to enable us to create this kind of ‘automated’ workflow system.

3. Third thing that came out of it, was if I have all the right people on the bus.  Do the people that are riding the bus now – are they capable of getting this bus up to 100mph – or  can they only manage at 50mph?  And if 50mph is what they can offer, then….how to I add some nitro into their system to get them to 100mph?  Figuring out that, is my job! 🙂