“New growth opportunities come from non-customers: those who do not buy your product or services”

The Grid: Marc, in your workshops across the globe, you introduce a new approach to strategy based on your own methodology and framework carefully set out in your book “The Art of Opportunity”. Why do you think we need a new approach?

Dr. Marc Sniukas: Every business is interested in growing its revenues and finding new sources of growth. Many, however, find it increasingly difficult to do so by applying traditional approaches to growth which follow that you just try to sell more to your existing customers, increase profits, or maybe buy new growth through mergers and acquisitions.

The Grid: What do you suggest for businesses that may be stuck between traditional attitudes towards growth and a desire to disrupt the existing mindset that holds them back?

Dr. Marc Sniukas: The framework that we outline offers a new approach to finding and seizing opportunities for growth by answering the classic questions of strategy: “How” and “where” to play and win in a new way?

Let me highlight that this new framework is not a theoretical concept that we invented, but it’s based on years of research conducted with businesses that have applied these approaches in conjunction with our experience of working with businesses globally to apply these concepts.

Traditionally we have been told that we need to take care of our existing and most importantly, our best customers. While this is of course very important because you won’t find 1 billion in new revenues from your existing and most satisfied customers. If your customers are happy, they have probably already bought all that they need.

New growth opportunities come from non-customers: those who do not buy your product or services.

So, first it is to identify these customer groups and then understand what it is that they really want and figure out what keeps them from buying. Where is the ‘dissatisfaction’?

It’s what we call “barriers to consumption” and the “hurdles to satisfaction”. Once you have identified this, that’s your opportunity!

The Grid: And then, of course, to seize the opportunity!

Dr. Marc Sniukas: Exactly, figure out how to convert these non-customers. To do that you need to re-design your approach to business.

The Grid: “Re-design your business”? Please elaborate.

Dr. Marc Sniukas: Take alook at your business holistically. By that, I mean it is not only about your products and services any longer. That’s not enough.

You need to take a closer look at those but equally important, if not more, is entire customer experience, your business and revenue model. All these parts of your business need to be carefully designed so that you create value for your customers, your business, and also your partners and supply chain.

The Grid: What does the application of that corporate entrepreneurial thinking look like?

Dr. Marc Sniukas: It means new ways of working, new entrepreneurial approaches to management, strategy, and innovation, like design thinking, lean start up, or agile for example. We help companies to do strategy, innovation, and transformation in new ways.

It is to disrupt the traditional corporate mindset of analysing, developing and implementing an already out-dated plan. This needs to be changed in today’s rapidly changing business environment. While businesses are preparing and approving business plans and budgets and then starting down a path of implementation in accordance to an now out-dated plan, a young start-up somewhere is already shipping off a new product that replaces yours.

So, in essence, that means you test and validate that idea, fine tune it in frequent cycles until you are sure it works and only then invest heavily to scale.

An old friend of mine, an ex-VP of new ventures at Coca-Cola, always says, “Think big, start small, scale intelligently”. In our work we lead companies through this process to make this work.

This is an extract from an interview with Dr. Marc Sniukas,expert on strategic innovation, corporate entrepreneurship and business transformation. Author of The Art of Opportunity and a global Managing Partner of Territory.

Dr. Marc Sniukas works with global leadership teams on how to grow, renew, transform and evolve their organizations - in fresh ways.

Interview by May Khizam, Founder & Chief Strategist, The Grid Media Ltd

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