It is the quote from Editor in Chief, Connie Lozois, that really struck me as very smart: “Building around two businesses hasn’t allowed us to focus where we can win.”
Music to my ears.
Our business environment seems to almost exclusively send the message, “Less isn’t working, let’s do more.”
In too many cases, this steals from the core business, the core competency.
The idea of core competencies is common now, but it really only started gaining traction in the 90s with this article from HBR.
The thesis: a business or person is good at some things and not good at others.
In thinking about strategy, the most important lesson most of us can learn and convince others of is the need to focus in a concentrated manner.
Meaning: you need to eliminate decisions by figuring out what you aren’t going to do.
The lesson I’ve learned over the years is that it is easy to try, test, or throw out a new idea or new focus.
The danger is that this “new” thing steals focus from the core idea of the business or the core value proposition that will deliver value and allow you to have a growing, going concern.
What’s cool about the TechCrunch story is the explicit discussion that trying to build two businesses in tandem has hurt the site’s ability to build one business that works.
As I look at the business of tech, this is an idea that I think a lot of folks can learn from.
We see Sports Illustrated jumping into hotels, tickets, travel, and more.
I get it is a licensing deal, but Sports Illustrated’s brand value begins with its coverage of sports.
If that isn’t there, the brand value is undermined.
You see in the way that media prognosticators talk about “finding a business model” that works while rolling out the same model that everyone else is trying.
Are there real structural issues in many businesses that are holding back profitability?
Does that mean you have to attack the challenge with the same tools and ideas that everyone else is?
The key idea to keep in mind is that your starting point of strategic success and/or reinvention is your core competencies…
Those things you can do better than everyone else and your unique vision for what success looks like.
Combining those two ideas can help you gain an understanding of how you should attack your market.
It has to be individual to your business.
Begin with what you do best and figure out where that will take you. And, like TechCrunch, if you find yourself adrift, stop doing something that isn’t helping you win.
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