Operations consulting, please take a bow.
As a small boy, I used to spend time trying to think of great ideas for new products. One of my ideas was some kind of covering for a cup that would keep your coffee hot. When I ran it past my mom, she reminded me that Thermos is a big, developed global brand that did just that. I slumped, momentarily beaten. Back to the drawing board…
But I was determined to think of something really great, to invent a product that would blow people’s minds for its brilliance and simplicity. As I got older, I started to build in that it had to be environmentally friendly, sustainable, cost-effective and achieve world peace. Well, maybe not the last one, but the list of demands on my potential invention grew and grew.
After many years of attempting to think up the next big thing, I decided to switch my creativity to operations consulting, so I now help other people develop and execute their ideas. You can find out more about how the team at Take the Stairs can help take your fledgling ideas to the next level, give us a call!
Execution, execution, execution
Don’t get me wrong, having a great idea is a wonderful place to start. But for me, it’s not where the true value lies in a business. Great ideas come and go, and often re-emerge in slightly different formats.
I’d go so far as to say that people inflate the value of a good business idea to impossible proportions, imagining that their idea will make them rich beyond measure and a household name. For a tiny minority, the business idea becomes something everyone has heard of – let’s be honest: who asks for a vacuum flask? People use Thermos as a reference name for all products that keep their drink hot, irrespective of their manufacture.
For the vast majority, the concept that a great business idea translates necessarily into fame and success is a myth. A business idea that delivers the dollars is more about the execution than the idea itself. Driving value through operations consulting services along the entire value chain is what makes the difference.
Let’s take an example that everyone knows: Netflix. A popular and oft-told tale is that Reed Hastings was furious after receiving late fees from Blockbuster of $40 for the movie Apollo 13. As a result, in 1998, he and Marc Randolph founded an online DVD rental service, when they discovered that they could ship a DVD and the disc arrive at the buyer’s home intact. This morphed into a monthly subscription service which I think we can all agree was a great idea.
Was Hastings’ business journey complete? Of course not.
Operations consulting holds the key to success
A lot of hard work, thousands of decisions and incremental business solutions led to Netflix’s success. The execution of the idea included investors to pay for a large number of DVDs to create fulfillment as well as the need to establish a cost-effective package that allowed users to send their rented discs back in an accessible and orderly fashion. And Reed Hastings needed an easy-to-use website for users to search for movies, manage their queue and make payments. Lots of processes and a lot of meticulous operations consulting to continually improve Netflix’s internal operations and performance.
The story of the Blockbuster late fees is a fiction but explains the motivation behind establishing an online presence that always had streaming in its future. In 2007, the company delivered its billionth DVD and introduced streaming content. In 2019, Netflix is the seventh-largest internet company by revenue, with a market value of more than $125 billion.
Hastings took a great business idea and turned it into an even greater business. Are you ready to do the same?
Turning a good idea into a great business
Many thousands of good decisions were taken by the founders of Netflix and it was these decisions that brought them global success and fame. It doesn’t boil down to a single good idea or just having a good sales team.
What differentiates success can be captured by (but not limited to) the following:
- How you execute your sales pipeline
- How you fulfill your product or service
- How you present your identity and brand attributes
- How you shape and foster your culture
- How you represent your customers in the marketplace
These and a thousand other key decisions will determine how your business moves forward.
And when execution is not so good?
Amp’d Mobile is a great tale of poor execution causing a company’s downfall. With a futuristic understanding of how customers wish to consume media, the company launched its entertainment-based cellphone two full years ahead of Apple’s iPhone. Amp’d Mobile was aimed at 18-35-year-olds, had a 3G connection, apps and the ability to watch TV. The company was so keen to sign up subscribers, it didn’t pay too much attention to the ability of those customers to pay the subscription fees. Its customer service was a disaster, with customers unable to activate the service or talk to a representative. Within two years, Amp’d Mobile had filed for bankruptcy.