Even in the face of a down real estate market, b-to-b residential housing and commercial construction publishing giant Hanley Wood is maintaining an aggressive business strategy. During a luncheon keynote at the Folio: Publishing Summit last month, CEO Frank Anton unveiled what he calls the “10 deadly sins” that have b-to-b companies in a “spiral of purgatory” in a down economy.
Anton outlined the sins—underperformance, cowardice, technophobia, inferiority, complacency, coziness, stinginess, cluelessness, disorganization and dullness—with examples from Anton’s own experience in leading Hanley Wood.
“Fear of failure for many outweighs the satisfaction of success,” Anton said of the ‘cowardice’ sin. “Try things. Take chances. To grow a company you need to take risks. Sometimes you’ll fail but try. Learn. We like to succeed but we also embrace failure.” Anton recalled how in 1999 and 2000 Hanley Wood got $40 million from VSS to invest in online development but lost it in the dot-com crash.
Trade publishers that have underinvested in electronic media are now playing catch-up—and are paying the price, Anton said in reference to his ‘technophobia’ sin. Hanley Wood’s online advertising has seen growth over the last couple of years, and Anton expects that revenue to grow 40 percent this year, he said.
In regards to complacency, Anton urged even successful publishers to continue to strive to be better. “Too many companies are making money and don’t care if their publication is the number one, number two or number three book in their segment. I don’t get that,” he said. “Being competitive and winning is fun. Be restless. Work hard to be the best.”