Ice Cream Rain

It’s good business selling ice-cream when the sun’s shining. Put your head down, work hard, churn out the product, profits flow. When it rains though, not so much. Short term changes can be a damp squib but assuming you’ve put something aside for the rainy days, there’s nothing to worry about. Keep doing what you’re doing and the sun will come out again.

Will it?

The inner optimist

Running things, it’s likely you’re an optimist … “we’re on the right track, it’ll be alright, keep moving forward, stay the course.” It’s a winning attitude that keeps everyone focused and gets things done.

Just make sure you look up every now and again. Change can overwhelm you if you aren’t paying attention.

Climate – even market leading products get left behind if they don’t keep up. Tastes and demands move on. What customers wanted yesterday may be different from what they’ll want tomorrow. Listen for shifts in the market – is your differentiation being copied, do your customers value something else now? What’s changing the game?

Opportunity – the fear of distraction is always valuable. But don’t mistake opportunity for diversion; what about Version 2, a whole new product, an untapped market? As Intel’s Andy Grove says in High Output Management, “Anything that can be done will be done; if not by you, then by someone else.” Why not you? If not now, when?

Tunnel vision

Focus is huge. But when focus becomes tunnel vision you miss more than you see. Keep trained on doing what you know to do, but broaden your sources and force your gaze to the horizon once in a while. If you do nothing new, what could change everything? If you instigate change, what can you control?

Ice cream – or any product that a business is built on – is familiar and feels safe. Keep the faith when it rains, but plan for what could happen next.

Skippy Strategy: What’s changing the game? What data points might be outliers or might point to a new north? How will you know? Who can you ask?