When What Used To Work Doesn’t Anymore

cash cow

From a business perspective, I like that big, fat, juicy cash cow like any other businessperson capitalizing on a market. That can happen when there’s a level of asymmetry between buyers and sellers. That imbalance can come from a lack of competition, a gap in knowledge or lowered barriers to entry in a market you have enjoyed for a long time.

Furthermore, innovation can kill your comfortable position. If automation or a newer way of getting a better result for less cost appears, then your safety net will erode rather quickly. What used to work doesn’t anymore because the game has changed on you.

This is happening at a rapid rate across industries. The internet, consumers and entrepreneurship daily threaten your market, your job and your business model. Someone out there is working to put you out of business and the worst strategy is to sit around hoping noone will notice.

Try building a software company today. What would you build? Project management software? A CRM?

Or try getting your app noticed on Apple or Android’s marketplace. You will drown in tens of thousands of options.

Heck, try selling real estate or doing mortgages. There was once a time where money and financing bolstered this sector and then it ebbed away quickly. You can work there today but it’s much harder.

If you find that you have to apply more effort to get the same money, then a seismic shift may be happening in your market. The oil and gas industry went through a major dip and many businesses went under and people were let go. They are not going to come back. The new growth will be smarter, leaner and without the fat. And that’s because they have new options. We don’t have to be inefficient.

You then have two choices on how to pivot:

  1. Climb the value chain and increase your value
  2. Be different

You can reinvent within your market and redefine what the value is. This may mean repackaging what you offer. This may mean adding services or changing the customer experience with more experiences.

You can also find differentiation as a path. Trying to be better than your competition may just have you putting a lot of money and time into a losing battle.

Getting creative and finding how you are different can keep your customer’s eyes on your uniqueness and avoid the perception of commoditization.

I’m not sure there are many safe places to hang out these days. And hoping things will go back is a poor strategy. Those were yesteryears and good times. And they’re not coming back.

You do have the power to take action and find a strategy that will buy you more staying power.

If you find things around you shifting, you might want to consider getting ahead of the erosion.

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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