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Value Creation Blog

Don’t Let Your Company Become Obsolete

Posted by Josh Patrick

Innovate to avoide becoming obsoleteI recently wrote a blog post on 5 Reasons You Need To Be Operationally Irrelevant.  One of the reasons you want to become operationally irrelevant was so you can spend time as the innovation leader in your company.

I’m assuming that you own a privately held business with less than one hundred employees.  I’m also assuming that you don’t have a full time innovation leader in your company.  That means that you’re it.  If you’re not leading the innovation charge no one is.

If you don’t innovate your company will die.  Change is part of the business scene.  As we’ve seen over the past several years change not only is part of your business life it keeps moving at a faster pace.

Companies that don’t innovate become commoditized.  It just happens.  A new product is brought to market, others see that you’re successful and start copying what you’re doing.  Your competitors see that you’ve built a better mousetrap and start copying you. 

You might think that because you were first your customers and potential customers will recognize the extra value from your first innovation.  Instead, your customers can’t tell the difference between what you and the other guys are doing.  They might even believe that the cheaper model is just as good as the more expensive model that you’re selling.

The longer your old product is on the market the less value it has.  In our society old is equated with not as good.  This surely isn’t always true, but whether it’s true or not your customers think that new is better. 

You need to have your customers and clients think differently about the product or service you provide.  There is real danger in not having your customers think you aren’t the thought and or product leader for what they’re buying.

When I had my vending business we developed a process where we guaranteed our top ten most popular items would never be out of stock.  If they were, the company got a day of free coffee on us.

For several years this was an innovation that our competitors wouldn’t copy and for the right customer this innovation in our service offering was compelling.  It meant that we were serious about making sure our customers were satisfied and by comparison made our competitors look like they didn’t care as much.

You’re going to have to be the innovation leader in your company.  If you’re the founder of your company you had to have a better mousetrap when you started.  If you had some early success you spent more and more of your time in operations and not thinking about new products your company could develop.

This was a mistake.  You need to create time for yourself.  You need to make yourself operationally irrelevant, at least some of the time.  This will allow you time to work on new products and services.  If you don’t you might find your profits drop and it becomes more difficult to run the type of company you want to own.

One of our innovations was the Periodic Table of Business Elements.  This is a chart of 56 strategic activities you can take in your business.  Click on the button below to learn more about our Periodic Table.  If you want your own copy you’ll be able to download it after clicking on the button below.


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Topics: operationally irrelevant, business coaching, innovation, passive ownership

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