I was invited to do an interview with a good friend of mine who also happens to be quite a savvy marketer. David has been marketing in one way or another for the over 35 years and is now embracing the internet as the medium through which to work. We joked that he is not on the cutting edge but rather the bleeding edge because when you are trying new technology, it does not always work perfectly.
Our discussion centered around strategy and my main point was that even with the current economic issues, the basic rules of business have not changed. What has changed in the timing and how quickly things can happen. It isn’t that we have to learn a new way of doing business but we do need to understand that we will need to become more adaptive and move much more quickly in order to succeed. To some extent it is the “Red Queen” syndrome…the character from Alice in Wonderland who had to run as fasts as she could just to stay in the same place.
Here are the main points of the discussion:
- Understanding and embracing strategic planning is even more critical now than before because the impact of mistakes or missteps are accelerated. We must be set up processes that alllow us to constantly scan both the internal and external environments so we can adapt as we go. Remember strategy is a process not an event. If you are not familiar with any models check out http://www.12manage.com/methods_boyd_ooda_loop.html
- Look both upstream and downstream. Evaluate the value chain in all directions to seek out opportunities. What are your supplier’s suppliers and customer’s customers doing? Look outside your industry as well and see if you can leverage advances from others. Think about the hospital ER staff that studied a racing pit team to gain insights into how they could modify their efforts.
- Niches rule! The best place to fight the competition is where there isn’t any. Look for the gaps. http://www.blueoceanstrategy.com/
- FOCUS! Us the 80/20 rule at all time. Identify your high value activities and spend you time doing them. Be very selfish in this regard. http://www.the8020principle.com/
You can check out David’s site and our discussion at http://www.dreamingwithentrepreneurs.com/