Jun 12 2014, 3:18am CDT | by Forbes
If you are feeling stuck for new directions, here is a simple way of moving from one dimensional to three dimensional thinking.
Any business competes on one or more of three dimensions. These are:
Product and price – what you offer, and the price relative to competing sources;
Service – how easy you are to deal with, which covers things like your opening hours, your location, how good you are at keeping things in stock, how rapidly and reliably you deliver;
Relationships – this may be personal relationships in the case of private bankers or hairdressers, or it may be brand (brand consultants like to talk about brands as the customer’s “relationship with the product”).
The process is quite simple. The first step is to identify which dimension you currently focus on. Are you striving to be the lowest-cost, or to have the widest range? That is the first dimension. Or do you work on being easy to deal with, investing in customer service and the logistical capabilities you need to deliver rapidly and reliable? That is the second dimension. Or do you focus on building and maintaining customer relationships and powerful brands? That is the third dimension.
Now; whatever you are doing, focus on a different dimension. If you have been striving to offer the lowest price and that hasn’t been working so well, consider raising prices and investing in customer service. If you have been spending money maintaining relationships and brands without seeing a great return, consider the possibility that your customers care more about low prices.
Doing this will produce a whole range of alternative possibilities. Some will be absurd, but one could be a breakthrough.
For the next part of the series, follow me here or use your RSS reader to come back next week. For previous parts, see the links above.
Alastair Dryburgh is author of the forthcoming Evolve: Free Yourself From Your Inner Caveman.
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