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VOL. 128 | NO. 42 | Friday, March 1, 2013

Five Big Ideas: Powering Your Business


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As Jim Collins explains in “Great by Choice,” all business leaders are bombarded with both great luck and bad breaks. The smartest CEOs learn not to squander sudden opportunities and figure out how to turn dismal news to their advantage – multiplying the benefits of whatever hand they’re dealt. Maximizing your “ROL” (Return on Luck) should be top of your list, every day. But your ROL is just part of the picture. Here are four more ideas that will help you achieve great results in 2013 and beyond.

Big Data. For the first time, even tiny companies can search the vast information on the Web that corporate giants use to uncover brand-new opportunities, using inexpensive cloud-based technology. To feel the power of what big data can do immediately for your business, try SizeUp (sizeup.com). Within seconds, this free site will tell you how many competitors exist in a specific locale, how your revenues stack up and where to hunt for business.

Reverse Innovation. There’s a lot we can all learn from entrepreneurs and organizations working with scarce resources, says Dartmouth professor Vijay Govindarajan. He points to a hospital in India that specializes in heart surgeries, achieving better outcomes with its $2,000 procedures than U.S. hospitals that charge $20,000 or more. By specializing in a niche, it runs more efficiently. For instance, while a general hospital typically needs to buy a vast array of equipment to perform every operation under the sun, this hospital needs equipment only for cardiac operations.

And it gets a great return on its equipment because it puts these tools into service all day long.

Newsjacking. As David Meerman Scott points out in his book “Newsjacking,” you don’t have to have a massive PR campaign to propel your company into big news stories. By offering journalists a fresh, interesting perspective on developments in your industry, you can “hijack” media reports that are in progress and turn their focus to your company.

For instance, a reporter looking for a colorful way to illustrate a particular trend might welcome an anecdote about your company to put in the lead of his story. Sign up for www.helpareporter.com, a free crowdsourcing tool that reporters from major publications use to find sources for their stories.

Robots per capita. It’s a great indicator of a nation’s economic efficiency and potential future growth. Thus, it didn’t surprise me to learn recently that Germany, with its thriving economy, has double the robots per capita of the U.S. – Germany has 163 robots for every 10,000 workers, while the U.S. has only 86, just above Spain.

However, I was surprised that Japan, which has suffered a slow economy for decades, has double the robots per capita of every other country. This may indicate that the country is likely to experience a resurgence.

It’s a key performance indicator worth considering when looking at your own company. Are you leading the rest of the competition in dramatically automating your business?

Harnish is the founder of Gazelles. Synk is the founder of In-Synk and is the Gazelles Coach in Memphis. Contact Michael at msynk@in-synk.com.

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