Normally, we like what John has to say, but he did a blogpost in ducttapeMarketing.com/blog that requires some explanation, we think. There’s some verbiage about platforms, but what we think John really means for much of this is that your existing business is a platform that one can use to launch other products, services and even businesses. You could add more value; what’s that?
1. Value is perceived in the mind of your customers, and, if you get it right, you make more money, add to your profit margin, or some other tangible measure of value. It could be that you’re adding social value, which means even if the money or margins aren’t there, you’re making a positive contribution in someone’s eyes to society.
2. Adding a network to your business, or platform is unclear. All businesses have networks of customers, suppliers, employees and the like. If you’re adding to your network, eventually it should pay off in more sales, more profits, or something tangible.
3. Adding more businesses to your platform? OK, what we think John means is adding a business that’s a good fit with your exsiting business and whose products or services are sold to existing customers, such as GPS systems to truck fleets one already sells, pressure washing services to some end customers that buy from your customers (you have to be careful not to alienate the current customers, or be prepared to justify why you’re now competing with them).
4. Learning from community members. To us, that means listening to everybody: customers, suppliers, employees. But, the caution is once you’ve listened, what are you going to do that’s different from others in the eyes of customers? And, you can’t get so overwhelmed or interested in listening that you forget to act on something, even if it’s consciously not acting.
5. Platforms that already exist that you could build on. To us, that means geographic expansion in some way, whether it’s the next city or the next state, or a new country. It could also mean adding salespeople in the same territory to take more share. It means your business is underdeveloped in some way, but you’ve got to be unique before you expand.
6. Acquiring a platform. This one is fairly straightforward, buying another business, but it should be in a physical or market space that’s adjacent to where you are now. Why? Simplicity, economy of personnel resources. But, you’ve got to see some growth in the business you acquire, otherwise you don’t earn back what you paid, plus some.
7. We agree with John on the uniqueness of the efforts, but we might not agree on openess. We might suggest that one be as open as possible or necessary, but it’s only certain employees who will appreciate the openesss, in our opinion. Customers might, and suppliers might, too.
8. Yes, it’s all about building more value, from the time you open the doors or the site, to the time you sell to outsiders or your kids (we don’t advocate giving your business to them). This value adding process can be done anytime, anywhere.