Good Times And New Times

new markets, innovation, change managementThe illusion that our own success is independent of market timing is dangerous.  Your success may largely be due to good times today which may not continue later.  Markets have always come and gone.  Today, we don’t have people selling us telegraph equipment or horse buggies.  Innovation has obsolesced these products and services.

The pace has quickened as we undergo a massive correction in many market sectors.  From my vantage point consulting and advising businesses, I can see markets that are in good times and others that are transforming or deteriorating.  It’s exciting if you are able to recognize the opportunities and avoid being married to the illusion of lasting products and services.

What The Internet Has Done To Markets

The internet continues to drive change.  With our collective conscience pushing innovation further year over year, change has accelerated.  Search, cloud computing, e-commerce and many other opportunities have driven out inefficiencies.  Many businesses profited from inefficiencies.  It was profitable to have to find the right deal for a travel customer or set up an investment in the past.  Today, the tools for execution are ready and simple for the consumer to bypass the agent, broker, realtor, financial advisor, and salesperson.  The tools for production are now in the hands of everyone.

Distribution has also increased.  Amazon allows us to buy what we want anytime and anywhere.  The information system Amazon has developed eradicates the physical limitations of shelf space in stores.  The same is true for video, music, software, books and anything that is packaged digital content.  Today’s systems can even produce just-in-time printing, production and manufacturing.  This further eliminates costs associated with inventory controls and ultimately, risk.

Timing Your Market

Your market will change at some point.  It is because buyers change.  The key is to not get married to your products and services, but focus on the demand.  You may be getting compensated because of inefficiencies that are being removed every day.  If it is easier to get what you offer at a cheaper price or a different way, it is a good sign your market is commoditizing or shifting.  Someone will figure out how to deliver lower cost all the time.  It’s a losing game.

The demand part is what allows you to open new opportunities.  Thus, if you are in advertising, for example, your product may be magazine print advertising.  Magazines are getting smaller and circulations are decreasing.  The iPad and online consumption is killing this paper business.  Yet the demand for awareness will always be there.  It’s not about a full page ad.  It is about awareness.  Your definition of what business you are in allows continuity of your value offering.  In this case, defining yourself in the awareness business versus the print ad business will help you develop a mindset for navigating through inevitable change.  How you deliver awareness can continually change.  Online content, mobile apps and an array of other methods might be the next vine you grab to take advantage of the new opportunities anchored by your value proposition, not your product.

The Business You Are In

It is easy to get caught up in today rather than thinking of continual strategy to remain relevant.  Relevance is dependent on your ability to remain agile.  The world around us is changing all the time.  When it affects your market, you have an opportunity to move into new opportunities.  Your old offerings will likely decline as part of the cash cow cycle of your market, however, your value can be repackaged.  Define the business you are in with broader terms and think about the difference between the ends and the means.  Defining your business as being in the business of clarity can mean business blogging, mindmapping, speaking, consulting and many other avenues.  They are means for delivering the value.  Some methods are more relevant and profitable than others.  Your job is to not get stuck in your definition and be able to broaden your opportunities.

Good times may last for a while or come to an end soon.  They are typically replaced by new times.  Make them a new good time with strategic thinking about your value proposition and keeping it packaged with relevance.

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