Six Ways Out of Business Stagnation

Six ways out of business stagnation. Doesn’t sound terribly overwhelming, does it?

What most companies need is an underlying core strategy to provide a compass for all tactical implementations.

Let’s share some of the most common problems contributing to business stagnation.

Ivan Dimitrijevic recently posted on Lifehack.com his six reasons for business stagnation. I feel they are a strong list of reasons businesses are struggling.

  1. We don’t engage our customers.
  2. We try to do everything ourselves.
  3. We don’t use modern tech to its full potential.
  4. We don’t set ourselves apart from everyone else.
  5. We focus on growth at the expense of everything else.
  6. We can’t handle extra workloads effectively.

This is a great list. I include myself in this list because I find I have some history in each of these areas. So what’s the fix?

Six ways out of business stagnation. 

I. Understand and identify the current state of play. In blue ocean strategy terms, this is accomplished with an As-Is Strategy Canvas. This exercise and the visual it leads to sheds light on whether or not your offering is in any way divergent from the industry.

II. Relating to point number two above, one must understand the customer’s experience with the offering. We in blue ocean use what is known as the Buyer Utility Map to glean insight on how customers experience our offering. It’s a thorough and thought-provoking exercise.

III. In addition to the customer experience research, we need to understand who our NONCUSTOMERS are. That’s right. The most prolific growth will come from customers who currently don’t have a clue who we are. It sounds crazy but with the right approach, tools, and frameworks, i.e the four paths framework and three tiers of noncustomers, one may begin to tweak offerings to reach what is currently a vast swath of noncustomers.

IV. All of the tools used in blue ocean strategy lead to divergence or differentiation. The way they do so is the difference. Through using the buyer utility map and the six paths framework, one learns to ask the right questions on the way to modifying the offering and/or modifying its pathway to market.

V. Once we’ve established ourselves and our offerings as valid with the above tools, we can get serious about cost-cutting with the Eliminate, Reduce, Raise, and Create Grid.

VI. Once we’ve gone through the process we can construct the “To-Be Strategy Canvas”. This finished visualization may now be used as the compass mentioned above. If it doesn’t serve the to-be version of the company, it’s not funded.

There is much more to share when it comes to moving business out of stagnation.

We recommend taking the Blue Ocean Strategy Challenge. This tightly organized, highly-impactful, 5 day/6 session event is a great way to learn the frameworks mentioned above. If you can’t make the six zoom sessions, no worries, they are always recorded.