I recently started a series where I am discussing business lessons that can be drawn from big internet and social media companies. Today my focus is Facebook which is so big that its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg is amongst the top ten richest people in the world. The company was founded 15 years ago on the 4th of February in 2004. Facebook’s net worth is now just over half a trillion dollars. So the sheer size of this company is remarkable and would thus provide for some invaluable business lessons. In this article, I shall point out 5 business lessons that entrepreneurs can draw from Facebook.
Going Beyond Borders Presents Limitless Growth Prospects
This stems from a very simple logic i.e. your host country is a proportion of the whole (as in, world). Facebook is headquartered in the USA whose population is roughly 330 million people. The world’s population is around 7.7 billion people. About 6 years ago less than a fifth of Facebook’s month on month usage was by people from the USA. This made them realize that if they are to grow into a tech titan they must invest more into tapping into the global market. One of the ways they used to do that was providing options for native languages for respective countries on the Facebook interface. This, of course, surged the growth of Facebook to a point where it is now all over the world. So this is a learning point for entrepreneurs to internalize – spread your wings. As much as you can grow locally there will always be a bigger opportunity to expand globally.
Leadership Training Is Paramount In Business
In case you did not know Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder and CEO of Facebook, was dismal at leadership when he started. Accounts of how he would mistreat his employees and was not an effective communicator are well documented. He was also splashing money on a lavish lifestyle which was draining the life of his business. The effect on the business was huge because morale was said to be waning amongst the company employees. It is said that one of his top Human Resources personnel had to boldly tell him to get CEO training. Fortunately, Mark Zuckerberg took heed of that and engaged in mentorship programs under renowned global leaders. This should serve as a lesson to entrepreneurs out there. Just because you can or have started a business does not mean being at the helm of the business will automatically be perfect. It is important to get the necessary training in business leadership. It can be through academic courses, mentorship programs, attending workshops and so on.
Give Employees Freedom Of Initiative
The company culture at Facebook encourages employees to come up with initiative ideas regularly. Workers are given room to operate in a somewhat independent capacity but still in synch with the overall mission of the company. So creativity and coming up with witty ideas is something that is encouraged at Facebook. The key thing is that employees comprehensively know their roles and responsibilities – that is non-negotiable. As far as the execution of those incumbent tasks is concerned workers are allowed to device creative ways to make their work efficient. This is quite opposed to a company culture where workers are not allowed the freedom to proffer ideas or come up with creative initiatives. As a business, it is important to allow your employees the room to feel acknowledged and listened to it – give them that freedom to bring something to the table.
Value Employee Well-Being
When I talked about the Google company I mentioned about atypical working spaces and amenities. I mean things like fitness facilities, bars, restaurants and the like available onsite. This is also something that is done at Facebook offices and has proven to enhance the productivity of employees. Facebook goes further to contribute towards employee well-being by allowing leave days that are a bit more extended for scenarios such as maternity or loss of loved ones. This is important because not only does this promote employee well-being but ultimately results in increased company productivity. Entrepreneurs must work towards having strategies they put in place to enhance the well-being of their employees.
Do Not Nurse A Problem Thinking It Is No Big Deal
In 2015 a company called Cambridge Analytica illegally accessed the data of at least 89 million Facebook users. I am not going to go into the details regarding that story because it was a heavily debated subject. My major focus is on the fact that Facebook could have avoided this had they heeded earlier calls on concerns regarding data privacy. People had for a long time expressed concerns over the security of their data but Facebook was not that proactive and chose to take a snail pace in addressing that concern. The impact the Cambridge Analytica scandal had on Facebook was colossal. Not even mentioning the obvious loss in consumer trust but Facebook lost billions in a matter of days due to falling stock prices. Though afterwards Facebook worked towards improving personal data privacy a lot of irreparable damage was made. In business always critique your business operations to note problem areas that need urgent attention. Never procrastinate or think a problem is too small to fuss about because it might turn out to be a huge issue for your business later.
These 5 lessons can apply to any business so you must take them to heart. I also believe there is still a lot of potential for new businesses to emerge and grow to epic proportions such as those of Facebook. So as you build or grow your businesses think globally, prioritize employees and take problem areas seriously.