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Mike Myatt

Does Your Business Capitalize on Trends or Do Trends Cannibalize Your Business?

by Mike Myatt

What was the latest fad chased or trend adopted by your business? Why did your management team jump on the bandwagon? Has the trend or fad generated an increase in revenue or gains in efficiency and/or productivity?

Most organizations that demonstrate a "heard mentality" when rushing to adopt the latest trends will likely experience yet another in a long line of great adventures that ended in frustration due to the time wasted and the investment squandered. The reality is that many businesses are quick to recognize great ideas, but they often have no plan for how to successfully integrate them into their business model.

My advice to you is not to let your business get caught up in trends and fads ... At least not without some initial analysis being conducted to determine the likelihood of success. Failed initiatives are costly at several levels. Aside from being costly, a flawed execution can cast doubt on management credibility, have a negative impact on morale, adversely affect external relationships and cause a variety of other problems for your business.

Every sound business initiative begins with a solid strategic plan. However, while most anyone can coble together a high level strategic plan, very few can author a strategy that can be successfully implemented. In order for your enterprise to turn a trend or fad into a monetizing and/or value creating event you should develop a strategic plan that attempts to measure the idea against the following 15 elements:

  1. The trend or fad should be in alignment with the overall vision and mission of the enterprise.
  2. If the initiative doesn't provide a unique competitive advantage it should at least bring you closer to an even playing field.
  3. Any new project should preferably add value to existing initiatives, and if not, it should show a significant enough return on investment to justify the dilutive effect of not keeping the main thing the main thing.
  4. Put the idea through a risk/reward and cost/benefit analysis.
  5. Whether the new initiative is intended for your organization, vendors, suppliers, partners or customers it must easy to use. Usability drives adoptability, and therefore it pays to keep things simple.
  6. Just because an idea sounds good doesn't mean it is ... You should endeavor to validate proof of concept based upon detailed, credible research.
  7. Nothing is without risk, and when you think something is without risk that is when you're most likely to end up in trouble. All initiatives should include detailed risk management provisions.
  8. Adopting a trend or fad should be based upon solid business logic that drives corresponding financial engineering and modeling. Be careful of high level, pie-in-the-sky projections.
  9. Any new initiative should contain accountability provisions. Every task should be assigned and managed according to a plan and in the light of day.
  10. Any trend being adopted must be measurable. Deliverables, benchmarks, deadlines, and success metrics must be incorporated into the plan.
  11. It must be detailed and deliverable on a schedule. The initiative should have a beginning, middle and end.
  12. Strategic initiatives must not be disparate systems, but integrated solutions that eliminate redundancies, and build in tactical leverage points.
  13. It must contain a roadmap for versioning and evolution that is in alignment with other strategic initiatives and the overall corporate mission.
  14. A successful initiative cannot remain in a strategic planning state. It must be actionable through tactical implementation.
  15. Senior leadership must champion any new initiative. If someone at the C-suite level is against the new initiative it will likely die on the cutting floor.

The bottom line is that new ideas are beautiful things. Properly implemented they keep business from stagnating and cause growth and evolution (which also keeps me employed). Just follow the 15 rules above and stay away from being an agent for change for the sake of change.

Copyright © Mike Myatt

About the Author
Mike Myatt

Mike Myatt is the Chief Strategy Officer at N2growth. N2growth is a leading venture growth consultancy providing a unique array of professional services to high growth companies on a venture based business model. The rare combination of branding and corporate identity services, capital formation assistance, market research and business intelligence, sales and product engineering, leadership development and talent management, as well as marketing, advertising and public relations services make N2growth the industry leader in strategic growth consulting. More information about the company can be found at www.N2growth.com.

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