Is your profit margin average for your industry? Is your revenue per customer in the middle of the pack for companies like yours? How about your growth rate as compared to the industry?
Statisticians like to point to averages as a way to explain trends and define an industry. And we oftentimes think that we are lucky if we are “at least” average. We are normal. And, we think, normal is good.
But sometimes being average makes us complacent. We stop thinking. Or striving. We lean back and say “we had a record year!” But what kind of year could it have been?
Companies with big, differentiated strategies are not average–at least (and often intentionally) on one dimension. And sometimes–and I know this sounds counterintuitive–they choose one area to intentionally strive to be less than average.
To begin to see how “not being average” might jump start your next big strategic move, get the most creative members of your team together and brainstorm on the following:
What would our company look like if we sold a limited subset of our products to a broader set of customers (thereby intentionally driving down our average sales per customer)?
How could we double the average industry sales per customer by solving bigger or more problems of a narrower subset of our current customer base? Who might we partner with to broaden our set of solutions? What would we stop doing?
How could we reduce our fixed overhead costs by half by outsourcing some aspects of our production that we are not great at?
Be sure not to judge ideas too soon. Let the conversation flow and capture as many ideas as you can. Keep searching for better. The best ideas will reveal themselves to you.
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