We are living in a digital era where the internet and social media are now towering precipices. Their power is unquestionable as is evidenced by the net worth of companies specializing in those domains. Such companies have revolutionized virtually the entire human experience. This article is the first of a few subsequent ones where I will take some time to draw lessons from big internet and social media companies. There is a lot to learn from them especially since they affect how we do business nowadays. I have decided to start with Google which, by the way, is so much more than just an internet and social media platform. Google is a US$300 billion company which currently has over 100 000 employees. Let us look at what we can learn from Google – especially from how the company is run.

Re-Think Your Hiring Approach

It is interesting to note that Google generally favours ABILITY over EXPERIENCE. When you come to think of it this is something that makes a lot of sense. We are living in a world that is fast-paced and is continuously making new demands on our abilities and intellect. How will someone who has been in the marketing industry for decades, for instance, be relevant if they do not understand the dynamics of social media marketing? We are in a time where young people in their teens or twenties are coming up with cutting edge software or mobile applications. Should they be sidelined simply because they have no experience? You see, my point is as businesses or companies we must re-think our approaches on how we hire employees. Even tech moguls like Elon Musk once said that at times a college degree is not even necessary but rather demonstration of extraordinary and sustainable ability.

Simplicity is Paramount

This is something you can notice on the Google search engine interface. Just a Google logo, a search bar and a search button and you have a clear picture of what you have to do. The remarkable thing about this is that level of simplicity despite the complex stuff that occurs in the background to process search requests. Even a young child can be easily taught how to use the search engine. This is something entrepreneurs must learn to incorporate in their products and services – simplicity. Locally I am intrigued by how simple the Fresh In A Box web application is; they have understood the power of simplicity.

Be Empirical

Everything Google does is empirical i.e. it is informed by data. From how the search engine works to how the company itself is run it is apparent that decisions are driven by or drawn from data. You probably have heard about the term analytics or data analytics which is now central to business strategy. You might not have access to sophisticated data analytics tools like Google has but the overall point is you must make empirical business decisions – move away from assumptions and spontaneous decisions.

Flexible Working Spaces

If you have ever seen Google’s office spaces you would wish you worked there. They have redefined what a 21st working or office space should look like. Most of Google’s offices are not homogenous as each office takes on a form, structure and design of its own. The office spaces are casual, colourful and even dress codes are not tied down to strict formal. All this is done to create a working environment that is flexible thus causing employees to enjoy their office hours. There are also atypical office amenities such as sleeping areas, entertainment areas, bars, pools, amongst others – things you would not normally find at an office. They are included to provide employees with ways to rest or relax to reinvigorate themselves. This is something modern-day businesses must consider for their businesses. Studies have shown that having such workspaces exponentially increases employees’ morale and productivity.

Try Things Out – Pursue What Works, Abandon What Does Not

Google has tried so many products and services that failed. Most people might not be aware of this but it is part of Google’s story; they have dismally failed on so many occasions. Some years back I remember the introduction of Google+ which ultimately failed to take off. The examples are many but here is the point, as a business never be scared of trying out new things. In that process of trying out, some products or services will sail through whilst some will not. That is the normal flow of business and what is important is to pursue and perfect what worked and abandon what did not. Today we mostly know of Google’s successes which eclipsed their failures into oblivion.

Diversify Your Product Or Service Portfolio

In business, it is vital to explore ways to broaden your revenue base. This you can do by diversifying your product or service portfolio. The number of products and services that Google has is so high that an A to Z list can be made from them. Other than the search engine, there so many high performing products and services that Google has diversified into. For example, YouTube belongs to Google and the Android operating system belongs to Google. As a business, you must find ways of adding more products or services to your brand.

I am sure you will find these 6 lessons from Google very useful. I have just touched on 6 lessons but there is so much more to learn from Google. I would also encourage you to follow them closely even in the press so that you appraise yourself with what transpires in their business operations. Not too long ago their CEO was before a Congressional committee answering some questions regarding the privacy of personal data amongst other issues. Following on such developments helps you understand such companies better.