How to grow your business and use digital to do so

 Newcastle University runs a GOLD Network for its graduates with the aim of providing its alumni with opportunities to acquire new skills, make business contacts and provide a social network.  Its latest event gathered business people and students for a discussion on How To Rise Above The Digital Crowd.

Things kicked off with a keynote by Ewan McIntosh, who talked about 'Shipping It' - how to build a business and get your messages out to the people that matter.

Ewan's presentation was built around not being frightened to fail and he had the following top tips for entrepreneurs:

  • Follow your passion. Take time out to work out your overall objective, strategy and tactics 
  • Whatever you're working on, try to break it because this is where you learn. It's always better to fail early in the process as it will be less public and costly 
  • Take your idea out to market and see what other people think. You might love it, others might not and you'll almost certainly get ideas on how to enhance it
  • Concentrate on who you're trying to improve the life of through your product or service 
  • Be daring and do something that breaks through the noise and grey of day to day life.

Following Ewan was a panel involving Herb Kim, Sandra TangBrigitte West and I, chaired by Caroline Theobald, in which we looked at the digital sphere and how to use it to build business.

   Here are a few pointers from the session:

  • Get online and try things out. Don't be afraid to fail fast, just fail forward
  • Unless you have heaps of money and resource, don't worry about being on every platform. It's much better to do less brilliantly
  • Give your organisation a tone of voice and be consistent with it
  • Make sure you're authentic and don't forget the social element of it - be human in your approach
  • Have a contingency plan for when things go wrong
  • Use social platforms to listen and join conversations to understand your audiences and marketplace 
  • Tell your story and work out different ways of sharing it on different platforms 
  • Curate content and look outwards for inspiration - you don't have to do it all yourself