A strategy is a defined plan for how to operate the company differently or better than the market alternatives to achieve the goal. Most small and medium size companies don’t have a strategy. Instead, they have objectives or goals, without a clear strategy to help them achieve it. As shocking as that statement may be, it is not my intention to address it today. Instead, what I really want to talk about is the opportunity to truly differentiate because so many companies feel that there is less and less “open space” to pursue.
In today’s world, I am seeing technology serving as one of the great differentiators. Companies that use it to do things differently or with more speed are seeing great growth. Here are some examples:
- Some companies are finding ways to improve operations and/or increase productivity and in the process find that they can license the tool to others with similar challenges, creating a new revenue stream. One company developed a new performance management tool that helps align all employees against culture and objectives; another developed a new ordering process that improves order accuracy, order visibility, and customer interface.
- Others are launching new businesses by solving a common problem with software that simplifies a process or organizes important data in a manner that makes it actionable. One example is a company that developed a cash management system for retailers which is typically a very cumbersome, tedious and resource intensive process. Another company launched a software program that helps distributors track which customers/products/regions/etc. make money and which ones don’t.
- Another approach is to do “open sourcing”, using technology to group people and ideas across the company or even from outside the company with internal champions on the principle that bigger, better ideas will get identified and developed faster.
- Finally, consider the companies that are finding ways to improve key parts of their operations using technology to move ahead of competitors. One customer service company is now using online appointment scheduling. Instead of calling the corporate office for a rug cleaning service and being slotted, the consumer goes online and schedules their own appointment and gets a photo of the technician who will be coming to their door.
Regardless of which way you choose to use technology, if you are not questioning how you can improve analysis and decision making, operations, service delivery, or even the very nature of your product by harnessing technology, you will soon be behind the curve.
Don’t wait. Give us a call today. We would enjoy helping you move ahead of the curve!