Volume 4, Number 2 - February 7, 2006

Years ago Swiss watch makers saw their markets pocketed by inexpensive watches that met the demands of most customers. Now those mass production manufacturers have seen sales diverted by ….. cell phones! Who would think that watch makers needed to keep an eye on changes in telephone technology?

In the 1980’s the music industry saw technology as a friend, as consumers invested heavily to replace LPs with tapes and CDs. Subsequent widespread use of the internet turned technology into a two-headed monster as piracy became a popular method of music consumption.
Competition comes not only from within your industry, but from anyone anywhere who envies your market (note: if no one envies your market, you may want to reconsider it yourself). Additionally, you can face collateral competition from an innovator who doesn’t know you or much care about your market; it just so happens that his work will spill over into the realm of meeting your customers’ needs.

The Steelers showed in Sunday’s Super Bowl that success sometimes requires a strong offense, a strong defense, and some unexpected trick plays. But blocking and tackling come first. Are you really connected to your customers? Do you have a relationship committed to preventing surprises and mapping the future together? If there is any doubt, start working with them now to change that. Are your operations delivering your competitive advantage to your customers every day?

Keeping today’s promises is the first step to capturing new markets tomorrow. All the market research in the world, the best technologists churning out great new product ideas, the financial plan to make it all possible – all done for naught if you don’t have the credibility that delivery on today’s promises can bring. Don’t allow the excitement of the game let you forget the basics that are required to win.

… to both Idelle Wolf, who was recently named President, Barnes Distribution, and to Keith Drewett, who has announced his retirement effective March 1, 2006. Two great people taking on new roles they richly deserve. Congratulations to both of you.

The loss of life in multiple West Virginia mine accidents led that state’s government to shut down all mines until operating safety could be verified. The captain of the boat lost in the recent Red Sea disaster didn’t leave the dock expecting to kill hundreds. Use these high profile accidents as a reminder to verify your own safety system is functioning well.

Fulcrum ConsultingWorks, Inc. All rights reserved.
For reprint permission, just give Rebecca a call
or e-mail her at [email protected]