Let’s take a trip back in time, shall we? Let’s go back, before your firm had turned over every stone in its market. Picture it – vast, open spaces with lots of opportunity. Everyone was motivated to capture market share and make a name for your business in its field. It was an exciting time, wasn’t it? Now, let’s return to the present day. Look around – where is that pioneering spirit? It may be running low, and you’re again considering expansion into new, untapped frontiers. It’s a heady and scary prospect, but it’s possible with the right mindset and call to action.
As executive vice-president of a business performance consulting firm, my passion is to help enterprises transform their organizations through growth and new market expansion. Our approach centers on the four transformational intelligences of the business mind: financial, customer, data, and mastermind intelligence.
We’re going to assume that your firm has already identified a new market, for the sake of this exercise (great choice, by the way!). It’s tempting to plunge right in and start making those phone calls to “sell, sell, sell”, isn’t it? But, in order to achieve your desired “to-be” state, this initiative must be approached methodically and strategically. You must consider your “as-is” state, in addition to other internal and external factors. Your goal is to analyze the gaps between your current state and your ideal future state, and then design a roadmap for how you can best resolve those issues.
Sample internal factor considerations:
Sample external factor considerations:
After thoroughly assessing your answers, there is one last, crucial thing to consider. Are you ready to transform your business? Does this initiative match with your organization’s mission, values and vision? If the answer is yes, then you’re ready to employ transformational intelligence.
After years of helping clients transform their businesses using a blend of strategy planning, processes, teamwork, and technology, I’ve developed an iterative framework based on the four transformational intelligences. This approach offers a way to de-clutter, simplify, strategize, collaborate and communicate more effectively. Leaders can retrain their brains to be open to new possibilities and optimize their business’ performance from an integrated perspective, as opposed to just in siloes.
“This sounds good, but show me some examples!” you might say. The following walks through a very high-level scenario of the information gained from cycling through the four transformational intelligences as they pertain to entering new markets.
Initiative: Business wants to expand into a new market
With Financial Intelligence, you realize:
You want to increase revenue and know you need to make upfront investment in internal resources and external partnerships (consultants) that are knowledgeable in that market.
With Customer Intelligence, you explore:
You need to design and create a new marketing message specific to the new market. You explore where to find your ideal target customers (events, what media they read, etc). You delve into the needs of those target customers.
With Data Intelligence, you investigate:
Do you have what it takes to support the needs of the customer? For example, if you are looking to enter the healthcare, banking or government markets, are you compliant with the required certifications? Is your data properly secure? If you have a data center, is it SOC or FEDRamp compliant?
With Mastermind Intelligence, you foster:
Continual learning and growth to increase innovative and creative ways to adjust and penetrate the market. For example, as a team, you tweak the marketing message or targets within your market; i.e. you learn that supervisor level is better to target than C-Suite, or procurement instead of IT.
The Four Intelligences are not meant to be used in a vacuum, but as a team. Huddle up with all of the key players who will impact / be impacted by the expansion into new markets. Ensure that everyone has the same definitions of terms, processes, procedures and goals. As a group, brainstorm what success looks likes, and how you will measure it. By making it a team effort, you will reap so many benefits:
Now that your team is on board and your strategy map is set, it’s time to execute. Does this mean that you’re done with the Four Intelligences? Not at all. It is meant to be an iterative process that you constantly cycle through. And, like all good habits, by performing these activities on a regular basis, you and your team will have formed an unconscious habit of constantly examining, strategizing, and tweaking.
Enjoy this exciting new time as you explore new markets. While you can’t predict the future, take confidence in the fact that you know where you’re going, where you came from, how you’re going to get there, and most importantly, that you can get back on track if you get lost along the way!