If you are reading this recently you probably said, “Oh Crap” or some other exceptionally deep admission of feeling up the creak without a paddle. Perhaps not. If you have ever known anyone who got fired they almost all say, “Thank god, I felt so relieved”. Why? Because nothing sucks so much as working when it’s just not working. You might ask, Why didn’t you just quit? Dammed if I know, oh wait, BECAUSE I NEED A PAY CHECK! Back to the part about feeling relieved, for most, getting fired also means getting unstuck and that opens the door for new and interesting things including introspection on your career. These almost always lead to an improved state of being. Being forced to reinvent your business is the same, sometimes you just need to be kicked out of the nest to really go after what you were meant to go after. Also it turns out it is not that hard once you let go of your baggage.
Baggage, what baggage you say, I don’t have no stinking baggage. Sigh, yes that’s what they all say. You do, you are too attached to one or more of your core assets and its not working for you. If this was not true you would not be reading this. Sure its comforting to hold on to that romantic image that started it all but that is just like Rose and Jack from the Titanic, sounds good on paper but in practice someone is gonna die…
So look at your 3 key assets and decide which one(s) you are irrationally attached to and which one(s) are your companies true strengths. Lose the loyalty, lose the romance, lose the emotion and be brutally honest about which parts of your business really are valuable.
- Domain knowledge
- Capabilities (skills)
Generally when you reinvent you are not a software company and reinventing as a tire company. Why not? Because if you are a software company, tires does not build on one of your 3 core assets. You have no domain knowledge, no manufacturing, sourcing or distribution capabilities, and no over lapping customers or partners, software companies do not reinvent themselves as tire companies.
While it is possible to reinvent and change out all 3 core assets, don’t, this is like remodeling a house where you move the house to a new lot, change the layout of the foundation, and change out Craftsman for Mediterranean style, at some point you have to start new. Only Megan Fox can pull off that kind of a remodel…
Really you want to keep one or two of these constant which will accelerate you into a new business.
I read a fable once about an ice harvesting company. In the late 1700s and throughout the 1800s they harvested ice from northern lakes, transported it down the eastern seaboard and sold it to preserve food. Around 1900 refrigeration became widely available making ice harvesting obsolete. As the story goes this company recognized trend and realized they had to reinvent or die. Looking at their assets they concluded they really were not an ice harvesting company but more of a transportation company. So they took their wagons and customers and became a shipping company.
So write down your domain knowledge, your capabilities, and the industries in which your customers are focused and start to think about which of these are truly exceptional asset(s). Once you have that go look at what other industries need your most valuable asset(s) and reinvent yourself!