Is Your Business Strategy Built For Disruption?

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On April 26, 2019

business disruption strategy

Tips On Dealing with Changes in Businesses

We tend to think of business strategy as something that will smooth the path for our businesses.  A strategy is supposed to give us clarity and order as we seek to scale up our businesses and grow them. And yet, dealing with disruption is a huge part of doing business today. In fact, it’s unavoidable. Is it good or bad for your business? Much of that depends on how you plan for it. Is your business strategy built for disruption?

Two Examples of Disruption

First of all, there are different kinds of disruption. Let’s look at two examples. One is when your company deliberately successfully does something so radically different that it changes the way the game is played. Netflix, Hulu, Sling, and others radically changed the way that we watch television. They disrupted a whole industry. Now companies like Amazon and even Apple have jumped into the streaming game. These companies created a brand new way to do something that fit customers’ lifestyles.

This wasn’t an accident. These companies didn’t just stumble upon these ideas. A lot of thought and strategy went into creating their particular models. They didn’t just come up with a cool new way to watch television at home. They figured out their markets and figured out how they were going to deliver their services.

Not every company is going to come up with a brilliant new idea that hasn’t been done before. Maybe that kind of radical thinking isn’t in your company’s DNA. That’s OK because there’s another aspect of disruption that may be right up your alley. Good strategic planning takes advantage of new needs (trends, if you will), and also your core competencies (or strengths).

Dealing with Working Remotely Trend

You may be in a position to help individuals or businesses that are dealing with disruption. Let me give you a couple of examples. Many businesses now have employees who work remotely (from home or from another office). This is a big shift for a lot of employers. How do they handle HR questions? Are there systems for transferring data efficient and secure? How are they handling accounting? What are they doing to ensure good moral? Perhaps none of those things sound very sexy, but the old way of doing things has been disrupted. Is there a niche for you there?

Core Competencies

What are your core competencies? Is there something you can do better, faster, or more efficiently than anyone else? Are there functions that your current customers repeatedly express satisfaction (or even delight)? What can you do to strengthen those areas and expand them? What makes you stand out from your competition?

Avoiding Weaknesses

Another thing that good strategic planning does is to avoid diving into areas where you know you are weak. Just because something is a hot trend doesn’t make it right for you. If someone else can perform (more or less) the same task but can do it better, faster, and for less money—that’s not a good place for you to be. Are there things you are currently doing that you should stop doing—and reallocate resources to the things that you do best?

When thinking about disruption and innovation it’s easy for companies to fixate on flashy, hi-tech solutions. That’s not necessarily the right strategy. A while back I posted an article that talked about how innovation isn’t always what you think it is. In that article, I cited Forbes’ list of the world’s most innovative companies. Seven of the top 10 companies listed by Forbes were not in high-tech industries! These companies simply figured out how to do “ordinary” things in an extraordinary way.

So, when creating your strategic plan, don’t let yourself be blinded by the flashy disruptors. Take a look at the people and industries that are being disrupted—and see if your core competencies can be brought to bear to solve their problems.

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