Being optimally prepared for external influences

Value PropositionNo matter where you are, what you look at or what you open – the Corona Virus is likely the topic of discussion. Fear has created a global that’s traveling faster than the virus itself.

Infected or not, we’re all experiencing the consequences of this. I was planning to go the Netherlands last weekend and I ended up not going at the final hour. A simple decision at the surface but creating a ripple effect that pulls many other people in – whether they like it or not. ‘Not going’ impacts hotels, event organizers, restaurants, car rental companies, you name it. The Netherlands had 82 victims when I a made the call – but you can imagine the economic impact is already impacting a group of people of a factor 10k bigger than that. So, the question is: How do you prepare for this?

One of my 2019 podcast guests, Jeff Jonas, CEO of Senzing, asked this question as well. In his post on Medium he asks out loud: “What risk is my business exposed to, and given the Senzing product and business design, where should our focus be right now?”

Jeff’s answer: Based on his back-of-the-napkin risk assessment the risk his business scores 134 and he believe his focus should be on “new business opportunities whereby our customers can achieve a Return On Investment (ROI) in under nine months — because when top line revenues are collapsing, “cost take out” is a necessity.”

It’s a sensible way to reflect and prioritize to make the best of the situation. But what triggers me is: How can we design our software business to be immune to pandemic events like COVID19? What can we do different?

In my book ‘The Remarkable Effect’ I outline a basic but super effective model to answer this.

It all starts with the basic question: What’s broken? Or in different words: What problem are you solving? Once you’ve clarified that, challenge it with these three simple questions:

  1. Is it valuable in the eyes of your ideal customer?
  2. Is it urgent /critical for your ideal customer to solve?
  3. Can you exceed expectations solving it?

If one of the answers is a ‘no’ – start over.

These questions are your foundation to unleash the remarkable effect inside your company. But beyond that, it will protect you in a far better way for external influences – like the one we are suffering from at this moment. In tough times business slows down – but those that stand out in their category will be the ones that have the longest breath. That should be you. And that’s what you can design for.

So, question to you: If you answer Jeff’s back-of-the-napkin questions, what’s your score? And more importantly – What does this mean where you put your focus?