When looking to grow, we tend to focus on adding more products, finding new markets or improving our sales or marketing approaches–which are all viable options. But what we often miss is the opportunity to re-think the other building blocks of our business model that could help increase competitiveness, improve sales or increase profits.
For example, one engineering firm outsourced (via crowd sourcing) its design function so that it could focus on working directly with its clients to find more engineering problems to solve. The result: better designs delivered faster and cheaper.
A safety equipment firm replaced its distributor network with an Avon-like sales force that sold the products directly to those that the equipment was designed to protect. The result: a channel strategy that was much harder for larger companies to compete against.
Get your leadership team together and brainstorm on the following prompts to unlock new opportunities to improve sales or profits. Be sure to encourage your team to go beyond the normal business model boundaries or rules of your industry:
- In what ways could we outsource our selling process to others? Could we use partnerships or distributors?
- What costly activities could we outsource so we can better focus on improving our value proposition?
- How could we automate how we serve our current clients? Digitized self-service?
- How might we shift transactional revenue into recurring revenue? Create subscriptions? Add ancillary services?
If one idea bubbles to the top, go test it outside the office. Creating crude prototypes and testing is an important step before too much time or money is invested in the idea. Failing fast and cheap makes for better ideas.