After the coyote leisurely crossed in front of my car the other day, he paused a few feet into the woods and stared back at me. His glower seemed a little too bold for my comfort. These canids have proliferated in recent times – I’m sure many of you encounter them in all sorts of environments. Their adaptability and dexterity have enabled them to become our nearly constant, yet silent, companion.
I am a big fan of focus and discipline, and its attendant outcomes. However, as the coyote shows us, flexibility and exploration can lead to new opportunities and vitality. Having some market dexterity is the bookend to a focused approach, and should to be part of most businesses’ culture and abilities. This can also be a tremendous advantage over competitors, allowing you to find opportunities passed over or unseen by others.
Though many coyotes live in packs in specific territories, a few solitary ones do venture across roads and fields to find new habitats, groups, and mates. If you look at your current markets, you can often find new opportunities in adjacent segments that have some overlap with your current efforts. With a broader reach, you may find a superb habitat all for yourself.
Here are some ideas on how to become more dexterous.
- Identify new opportunities by talking to your customers about other products and services that they routinely use, learn about their trials and tribulations. Watch where other companies in your field are moving. Listen to your scientific advisors.
- Spend time to learn about these new segments. Invest the time and effort to fully understand the challenges and how your solutions fit.
- There may be a chance to ally with other companies that have complementary offerings – create a loose partnership in an area you want to explore.
- Establish collaboration at the R&D level, where it is easier to swallow some risk. And to cut the cord if it looks like a poor environment for growth.
Though being adventurous is often exciting and fun, you still need to maintain discipline in evaluating a new market.
- Be sure it has the right kind of nourishment (customers)
- That there is enough of it to sustain you beyond your initial excitement
- Watch for competitors who may also be eying this area
So though you may find your current habitats to be extremely satisfying and comfortable, it is important to keep a lookout for new territory. You don’t want to end up with in crowded terrain with declining sustenance.