Now is the time to reinvent your firm! “You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.” — Marianne Williamson (American author)
Reinvention comes by new thinking. New thinking comes by asking questions. It is key to remember that no business model lasts forever. The most dangerous trap that any company can fall into is status quo and complacency. The biggest and most important question for the future is “What is the role and purpose my firm has to play in this new world?” The answers to these questions may prompt ideas and solutions that are big, bold, and possibly, frightening. They may even seem unattainable and undoable.
Jack Welch is one of the greatest business leaders of all time. What he did for General Electric during the dot.com boom was groundbreaking. To become bolder and more innovative, he had to revolutionize his thinking. He created a whole system and strategy centered around “destroying your business.” His theory for long-term success was based upon embracing anxiety and innovation rather than avoiding it. He & his team brainstormed how they could reimagine their company. It was built into every meeting and ingrained into the DNA and lifeblood of who they were EVERYDAY.
How will you disrupt or destroy your business? Think about the entire range and scope of your business. What services or goods do you offer that can be shifted, redesigned, or repurposed? What current resources do you possess that can be transformed into something new? There is no better time to remove services from your offering. Those unprofitable, old ways of doing business. You know the ones that take ten times the time and resources that need a facelift.
A current and perfect example of “disrupt or destroy your business” can be seen in the Restaurant industry. What about dine-in restaurants? They typically welcome you into their dining rooms for table-side service. Many have pivoted are now offering curb-side pickup and delivery. They are being forced to change their business model and will likely continue this permanently even after we can dine-in again. Creating new partnerships with Grubhub and other delivery services. Creating or adding apps to their services. They recognized the change in the market and had to reinvent themselves. To remain relevant, these businesses adapted. It is not always the strongest but those open and willing to adapt.
Think of the real-life story and the movie, Apollo 13. Their circumstances were dire when the oxygen tank exploded in their ship. To survive, the astronauts needed to one way or another attach a square CO2 scrubber to the circular opening of the lunar module’s filtration system. Ground control teams came together to brainstorm and designed an adapter from the limited items on board, which included hoses from spacesuits, tube socks, and duct tape. A huge disruption occurred. They destroyed the current thinking and a viable, life-saving invention was produced. Consider the services & resources you already possess. Then, adapt for reinvention.
How in these examples was the reinvention accomplished so quickly? They recognized their values and strengths, inventoried their resources, and then, refocused and repurposed them. There also was no room for negativity and pigeonholing. They boldly jumped into another lane rather than staying in the traffic jam! Embrace your core strengths and resources, reinvent and emerge transformed with something new to offer. The core DNA remains, but evolution expanded each and even in the case of Apollo 13, allowed for survival.
Further disruption can be made by looking at the markets in which you operate. First look internally. Perhaps there is room to grow in closely related markets that you currently reach. The question cannot be, “Where can we grow?” because opportunities are endless. The question is “Where is the opening?” Maybe this is the time to expand abroad, but only because there is a void for you to fill. Through repurposing your systems and resources you can better find that aperture; that gap to take a little risk.
Fail fast and fail often. In this new world, failure will be required. Just like we have to do with Covid-19… TEST…TEST…TEST… Try something, get client feedback, adjust, adapt, pivot and try again. I say it all the time as we built Rothschild Marketing on this principle. Mini-innovate. These innovations do not have to be grand scale to succeed. They can be super small changes that can have dramatic impact. Go to the edges of what you are already doing, find the shoulders and get the ball rolling with a series of small ideas.
Your clients can also be your driving force for something new. What do they want? What are they looking for? What you typically offer, sell or make may not be what your prospects and clients are looking for right now. You need to pivot and reinvent! Listen to your customers; remain relevant by keeping your customers in mind.
The world is quickly changing. Huge shifts will be seen especially post Covid-19. Customers will want to reevaluate partnerships and reliability. Clients will be reviewing past partners. In the new light, they will determine who is will best suited to continue to support them in the future. They will want to know who is trustworthy and dependable. This is not the time for “business as usual” and status quo. You will be left behind. If you do not “disrupt or destroy,” reinvent yourselves, and find those openings, some other firm will fill that void. Your clients will see them and seek them out. Now is the greatest opportunity to take clients from competitors. My dad said it best, “There is ALWAYS room for the best.”
A motto to live and do business by is, “better to fail epically, than to be right tentatively.” If current operations are not performing as they did, give you and your company permission to let go of the status quo. Brainstorm for your company’s strengths, resources and processes. Mix it up. Mix them together. See if it morphs into something new. If not, try again. Do not be afraid to disrupt or destroy the systems in place.