By Cynthia Lescalleet
Reinventing your business doesn’t mean starting over. Rather, it means taking another look at how you’re doing things, from product lines to business model — even if your company is doing well. Five YPO members share their insights on how and where to find market opportunities to tap into.
Build upon your brand
“The first thing that I always look at when I am looking at a company is the brand equity they’ve already got,” says Cynthia Cleveland, Owner of Broadthink in California, USA. Your brand’s equity can lead to new market possibilities. Chef and food entrepreneur Wolfgang Puck, for example, leveraged that brand into licensing arrangements.
“Avocation can turn into another way to expand your business,” Cleveland says. Her client example? Actor John Lithgow. He parlayed his children’s entertainment sideline into an entertainment venture called Lithgow Palooza.
Dig then dive
“Too many people have gone into marketplaces they didn’t know anything about. They didn’t have a real foothold. They learned some tough lessons and they expired a lot of the money they had for it,” says Tim Gentry, President and COO of Clique in Virginia, USA. “We go in small. We learn a lot of lessons. We make a lot of mistakes. And we put a lot of bets in multiple areas.”
Gentry also advise to know what’s happening in the field. Logistics, unknown regulations and secondary governments can change the outcome of what’s on the graphs and PowerPoints back at headquarters, he says.
Try. Test. Repeat.
“When you are trying to do something new that no one else has ever done before, inevitably you’re going to make mistakes,” says Azran Osman-Rani, CEO of iflix Malaysia. “One of the key things we learned is not so much about trying to figure out what is the right answer before you do something, but just literally do 10 things. Even if you only do two or three right, that’s fine. Move quickly. Pivot away from the seven or eight things that have gone wrong and keep just moving and iterating. Because competition is big but they’re very focused on trying to make the right decisions. They’re more risk adverse.”
Don’t just talk. Communicate.
“Language is not just what is spoken but what is understood,” says Ran Sharon, Executive Director and Group CEO of Clariter S.A. in Israel. Although everyone speaks English, there is a lot ‘lost in translation.’ We need to make sure that what we say is properly heard on the other side, and properly understood.”
One way to improve communication when doing global business, Sharon says, is to understand the way the locals think. “It’s always nice to learn a little about local politics, a little about a soccer player, a local TV star. It’s quite nice to understand the way locals think and then it’s much more interesting and much more educational.”
Bond then rebuild
“The thing about leadership is there is no leadership without relationship,” says Michelle Cheo, CEO of Mewah International in Singapore. Communication plays a role here as well.
Since many are threatened by the idea of change, every change needs to be communicated to those it affects within an organization: “Communication tells the company why we are doing it, that is possible for us to do it, and why it is better for them directly if they are to embark on this change because, obviously, if the company does well, they do well, too.”
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