What Your Business Can Learn from the 2011 Most Talked About News Stories

Posted by on December 27, 2011 in Business News, Business Start Up Advice [ 0 Comments ]

The New Year will likely bring even more controversy and excitement than 2011, but this last year is certainly going to give 2012 a run for its money. Scandals kept PR agencies busy, new YouTube sensations entertained those surfing the web, and politics reporters were never short of material. The best part: All of this excitement was shared through social networking, so the news spread faster than wildfire.

Although many of these popular events were centered around celebrities or sporting events, there is always a lesson lurking for all businesses. Consider some of the most talked-about moments of 2011 and what they can teach your business:

5 Lessons Every Business Can Learn from the 2011 Chaos

1. Southwest Power Outage – Be Prepared for the Unexpected; Stay Up to Date on All Security Measures

This may seem completely unrelated to business, but for a long while people were nervous that the power outage was the result of hackers. The outage left 2 million people in the dark in Sept. 2011, and many found themselves unprepared. According to the premier provider of security and risk solutions RSA, 85% of data breaches occur at the small business level. Are you prepared if someone hacks into your company’s database? The outage should teach all businesses the importance of being prepared for the worst as well as the need to stay up to date on all security related matters.

2. Penn State Scandal – Don’t Keep Secrets; Be Honest With All Customers and Clients

It’s important that a company is open and honest when they make a mistake. Although most companies do not have to deal with a scandal as large as the Penn State situation, some do have to deal with smaller secrets. For example, if your company hires someone who later steals money from the company, you might be tempted to keep it a secret because you clearly didn’t perform the correct background check. However, it’s important to understand that internal secrets usually don’t last long. Once the secret it out, you will find yourself having to clean up a much bigger mess than had you told the truth in the first place.

3. Rebecca Black’s “Friday” Becomes a YouTube Sensation – Social Media is Powerful

Everyone remembers watching 13-year-old Rebecca Black sing about how yesterday was Thursday and today is Friday. The video was posted on YouTube and received 167 million views and over 3.1 million “dislikes.” So how did all of these people know the video existed? The answer: social media. Viewers from around the world saw the video, thought it was funny, and proceeded to tweet it and share it on social networking accounts such as Facebook and Twitter. The news that this video was funny created a domino effect across social sharing channels, and Black became an instant sensation making over $1 million according to Forbes. This proves that your company should be taking advantage of social media—put out engaging content and create videos that you think people will want to share.

4. NBA Lockout – Employee and Employer Synergy Is Important

This may seem obvious, but many companies are still running on the “I’m your boss and you work for me” mentality. As the country watched the billionaires and the millionaires duke out a “few” billion dollars, it appeared as though no one cared about the game. Everyone was interested in their own personal gain, yet many fans were slowly beginning to lose respect for the NBA. In other words, it is important for businesses to realize that sometimes compromise is the best answer. You must always think about the best interests of the company and the customers and clients.

5. Occupy Wall Street – Think Local When in Need of Financing

There are quite a few lessons that can be learned from the Occupy Wall Street protestors (the power of social media, the importance of advanced technology, etc.). However, one lesson that many businesses might miss is the idea of local banks. While the big banks are keeping their money in cash reserves or buying smaller banks, many local banks are strong supporters of small business. According to the Washington Business Journal, community banks tend to be more careful in their lending, so they are often stronger than their large Wall Street counterparts. In other words, if you need small business loans, it may be a good idea to start local.

There is usually a business lesson in everything. If you look back to other events that occurred in 2011, you will find that there is something to take away. Keep your eyes open in 2012 for ridiculous scandals, feuds, and social media sensations, and you will likely have a valuable lesson on your hands.

Photo Credit: popcrunch.com

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