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Open Your Horizons to the Many Forms of Value

May 20, 2008
While meeting with the CEOs and senior executives of many companies that have provided extra value at the same price, I was impressed with the large variety of ways that more value can be added. Even more impressive was that organizations who were good at this were ignoring most choices that others were finding to be helpful.

Seeing the many choices and single organization myopia about which choices to consider, I've organized them for you into categories to help stimulate your mind by focusing your attention in the most productive areas that others have experienced. In sharing this secret, be sure to appreciate that there are probably many other productive areas that are not yet known to us. So keep an open mind about where to find new advantages for customers.

To begin with, who will experience and enjoy the additional benefit? First, you can do something that only benefits the customer. Second, you can extend increased value just to the customers' customers. Third, you can go beyond those important people all the way through to benefit just the ultimate consumer or user. Fourth, you can create new connections to each of these people through the new benefits you offer.

Obviously, if you can find benefits that reach all these groups from a single change, you have located a most useful opportunity. By always addressing the full reach of benefits and their interconnections between chains of customers, you will probably begin to realize that some benefits that you have been choosing not to offer are potentially more important than you had previously realized. For example, your market share may be blocked by a downstream customer not being able to sell into an account that has a 70 percent market share. Help your downstream customer open up that account, and your volume could go up by several hundred percent over time.

Consider book selling. Prior to 1990, they were primarily a place to browse for books you might want to read and to pick out your next selection. Larger stores offered more selection. Smaller stores usually offered more book-knowledgeable staffs.

Then newer chain bookstores began to copy some independent bookstores and offer comfortable furniture for people to nestle in while they browsed. This seating was later expanded to include cafes where browsing could be conducted in even more comfort by providing room to spread out and while enjoying coffee and snacks priced like what Starbucks offers.

Eventually, people who work at home began to use these locations as temporary meeting rooms and as places to take work breaks. As bookstore cafes began to add electrical outlets, some customers next began doing their e-mail there using laptop computers with wireless connections. From those laptop computers, the customers could also order books on-line from the retailer's Web site.

As a result, the value of a trip to the bookstore kept increasing and the number of companies benefiting from one person's visit also grew, while the prices for books there remained the same as bookstores that did not offer these new benefits.

Then consider within the universe of each person who gets the benefit, what type of benefit is it? In our time-crunched society, many people favor products and services that take less time to use.

Customers at theme parks have typically struggled with long lines for their favorite attractions. Most of the day seems to be spent winding back and forth in line rather than experiencing the attractions. In recent years, many such parks offer the opportunity to secure an appointment for the most popular attractions. When you arrive, you spend 10 minutes in line rather than an hour. Attendance predictably increases after such innovations increase value at the same price.

For a business customer, helping your customer add new customers and more volume with existing customers will usually be the greatest benefit. For example, in the high technology business areas where new products have short lives, cutting elapsed time is often more important than saving the total hours involved in a process.

Every month shaved from elapsed development time, for example, can create tens of millions of dollars of increased sales. As a result, those who help their customers' customers get to market fastest will gain market share. In recent years, those who supply semiconductor design software, technology, equipment, and services have focused on reducing customers' elapsed time to market with new products.

Sometimes, allowing users to get more benefits is the only issue involved in accelerating market growth rates, and customer and company market shares. For instance, electronic devices are frequently limited by their battery lives. Few wish to carry around extra batteries and replace them, so the devices are often unused when the batteries run down. When Linear Technology began to design chips that extended battery life by being more stingy in power consumption, the company accelerated the purchase and use of all the portable devices that employed this new technology. Naturally, the demand for its chips rose, as well.
About the Author
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at

http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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