Trying new ideas for business growth is always a good idea. Building business value requires getting out of that rut we get into as individuals and as companies. “We have always done it this way, so why change? It can be hard to get out from under the day-to-day fires and step back to THINK.
“We are too busy mopping the floor to turn off the faucet.” ~Anonymous
Even in the best of times, we need to keep reinventing how we do things. But certainly during these challenging times! Growing your business is critical – if it is not growing, it is moving backwards.
You know the definition of insanity, attributed to various people including Albert Einstein: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” If you have not been hitting the sales targets you had set, are you going to keep doing what you have been doing? Even if 2009 has been an economic anomaly, it has certainly changed the business environment. It has changed every industry and every aspect of the economy.
What are you going to do to ensure your business success for now and the future, as you move toward your exit planning and succession planning? What are your customers doing differently? How can that impact you? How can you adjust to take their new habits into account?
You cannot – and do not want to – change everything. But, how about one thing? Just one “crazy” idea.
Here is an example: Sales at Atlanta area’s The Home Depot were down due to housing market problems and lower consumer spending. Sound familiar? So, they are selling off parcels of their parking lots. They decided to take pieces of those giant parking lots and selling them to retail outlets such as fast-food, pet stores and auto parts. Imagine being in the boardroom when that idea was suggested!!
Here is my advice: Get together with your partners, your management team, your employees or a couple of friends or colleagues. Brainstorm and come up with your “parking lot” idea.
Get in a room with a white board, a flip chart or paper and pen. Ask everyone to help you brainstorm new ideas…laughing is allowed, criticizing is not, everything gets Written Down, as reasonable or wacky as they sound. If you can, have someone facilitate to keep you on track – they should not participate but keep you focused. Alignment and agreement among the owners or the management team is critical.
The ideas may be slight twists on something you are doing today, or they may be the most ridiculous-sounding ideas you have ever heard – at first!
They may have something to do with operational excellence, finance, human resources, production, marketing, sales, customer service or any other part of your business. New markets, new products, new staff member, an improvement to your production or sales process.
How can you make at least one of these ideas fit your business? It may or may not work. If not, go back to that list and try something else!
David Shavzin, CMC