The following article written by me recently appeared on Global Services Media. Please visit them for more reading -
What a year this has been! Organizations which had long withstood the weather over the years, simply found that they were probably just made up on paper.
With the new environment filled with uncertainties where even the big players trying to grasp for air, things have started becoming tricky for new product/business innovators. For these innovators, speed and innovation are the two things which form the foundation of their long term success. The challenge for these innovators now is how they can create a viable market for their ideas in an environment where typically the bears are ruling the roost and the desperate need to extract the maximum mileage from each of their invested dollar.
So below are the few best practices which could help customers in their endeavors.
1. Prepare yourself for a marathon rather than a dash: Any marathon runner would tell you, it requires a completely different mindset and preparation. At this time it is important to have the financial and go-to-market plans takes in the assumptions associated with the long term uncertainties by keeping them nimble.
2. Now is the time to put more focus on the end-customers: The end consumers of the products and services would still be there in this economy that is in turmoil, however the only thing is that they are now going to be choosy and demand better value and services. The business model of any services/product should incorporate more time and effort on customer acquisition and less on the operations and engineering.
3. Focus on innovation: The innovation in the products or the services is what is going to generate value to the end customers and would help to differentiate from the crowd.
4. Work within the budgets: It is important to take a good stock of your resources in hand. Understand their velocity and plan your operations within the constraints. Any changes or surprises should be managed within the known velocity by varying the long term scope or plan.
5. Build in early feedback mechanisms: Engage with your customers or to-be customers from very early stage. Invest in mechanisms like Prototyping or Visualization if you are into product development. Focus Groups are a good way to get early inputs into the evolution. It is also an easiest form of practicing and sharpening the skills associated with selling the offering. A lot of this skill would be needed in this economy.
6. Be agile: Always have a goal for the end destination but be flexible in choosing the path to reach there. Follow an incremental and iterative design – develop – test evolution process. As part of our methodology in the organization, there is one thing we always strongly believe in. It is not important to build and deliver what we had thought about. It is more important to deliver what is required.
From a service provider’s perspective, survivability and patience in an uncertain economy is the key. I am saying this from an all round perspective – whether it is an organization or an offering or even as individuals. This is the time when our strengths would have to come to the fore and our weaknesses may become our biggest liability. If we ever wanted to see how the “survival of the fittest” theory gets applied in the real world, this is the most perfect time.