Twice this year I've talked to two companies who have the same challenge: After a decade of getting to $20-$50M in sales , senior management has been tasked by the board to "GET BIG NOW".
I have noticed the same strategy by both companies:
- Hire a lot of people
- Use the word "Cloud" or "Mobile" in their new strategy
- Move to a larger building
After a decade in business they both have a lot of creaky Microsoft based legacy software and a decent sized installed base. In reality, they have two paths to growth:
- Suck up the existing market through acquisition and consolidation.
- Leverage their knowledge base to create new products / services to accelerate growth.
Acquisition may get you through the first couple of years, but you need to be planning for the long view after that. Once you own 60% of the market, then what?
Even if you do that you eventually end up at option 2: Leverage your knowledge and customer base. Doc Searls called it "the because effect":
The because effect is a kind of jujitsu. While other people look to make money with something, you're finding ways of making money because of something.
Kathy Sierra has this great video: "Building the minimum Badass User". While you may be a fan of techniques such as Pragmatic Marketing, that only improves what you are already doing. By focusing on how to make users be really great at their jobs will give you new ways to refocus your products and services to new uses.