Updated May 11, 2021
Two ways to go with the flow: business strategy that works
In the past, I’ve had strategy meetings where the simple idea of going with the flow came up. Today, in 2021, is a great time to revisit the idea.
Here, we have two companies staring down two different challenges. And, we have strategic ways to overcome these challenges, as long as we learn to go with the flow.
The challenge: Getting new customers
A decades-old company is finding that it’s not as easy as it used to be to get customers. They are facing the prospect of having to cannibalize their current customers to sell something that will have broader appeal. The plan being that the new sales will outweigh those lost from the cannibalization. There are plenty of concerns. I spent a solid 15 minutes talking to a member of the sales team, who told me all the reasons the customers aren’t buying the legacy product.
First flow idea: Sell what your market is buying
He then said,
“You know, there’s one big prospect on the East Coast who would be really interested in this new version we’re talking about.”
And from there, we’re off…selling what the market is buying. Your market is your clue. Listen to them, and their needs, and you’ll uncover where you can flow to next in your business and your offerings.
The challenge: Where to invest limited resources
A company is debating which of several initiatives should get funding support. They are looking at six different programs where they might invest resources. They have identified varying degrees of success in these programs. Some were clearly “popping” and gaining traction, these were the stand out programs. Others were struggling though everyone thought they should have lots of potential. What should have potential, doesn’t always work in the current reality.
Second flow idea: Go in the direction that works
The path of least resistance was to double-down on the programs with traction. We didn’t abandon the others, but they didn’t get to be the high priorities.
The question of where to put the discretionary budget we had available was answered pretty simply once we identified what direction was working.
Business doesn’t have to be a struggle. Sometimes the market gives us the answer, and we just have to listen…and go with the flow.