I keep hearing about thinking outside the box. Others advise me to be focused or “stay in your lane”. My strategy is to have one foot in the box and the other straddling a lane. Let me explain why…
In any company, it is essential to understand what you do well and execute on that. If logistics is your thing, then make like UPS. If direct sales is your thing, then hire a bunch of Zig Ziglars. That advice is something I take to heart and try to live up to everyday. However, the problem is that’s not enough. As business owners and operators, we can’t rely on what we have done before as being a successful strategy forever. Either organic growth or acquisition will require you to add pieces to your business that you may not currently have. These pieces will be crucial to making your company grow to the next level.
M2M will certainly be a problem for some companies to embrace because they don’t perceive the value of the services that M2M companies offer. Or if they do, they are on a very inelastic portion of the demand curve, where large changes in price result in very modest increases in deployment. We have to do a better job creating value to allow companies to make decisions to deploy our solutions, and therein lies the problem. When you are evangelizing products or services that you currently are not selling, you are hardly ever in your lane, and you are always outside of your box. This is a tough market to get right. How many resources do you put into new offerings? How much time do you allocate? Are you forgetting about your core business? All of these questions keep me up at night. I rely on one vision when I have night terrors: be fearless, be bold, be entrepreneurial. So while I have one foot in the box and one foot straddling the lane, I remind myself to push the envelope every single day.
I apologize in advance for the colloquialisms and buzz words as I leave you with a story that I used to tell customers back in my D&B sales rep days. The story goes that a vacationing couple came upon a very old man in the valleys of China. He was about to go over a rope bridge with an enormous load of wood. The couple noticed that the ropes were extremely old and frayed. With some alarm they approached the old man to warn him that if he went over the bridge it would likely break. The old man turned to them and said “It has never broken before”. The story rightly points out that past behavior is not a predictor of future outcomes. We should constantly innovate and amend our offerings to tailor them to the markets that we serve. It’s about stepping out of your comfort zone and taking calculated risks every day.