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Overcome Ignorance to Find Great Ways to Eliminate Obstacles to Profit Growth

Jan 25, 2008
Knowing that obstacles to profit growth exist for all organizations is one thing. Eliminating those obstacles is a more difficult activity.

Let's look at some simple steps you can take to identify superior ways to eliminate the most important obstacles. First, identify your three most expensive profit growth obstacles to avoid. You are probably ignorant about what those obstacles are now. Ask everyone who may be able to help what they think are your most expensive obstacles are.

How should you look at the alternative of removing those obstacles? The traditional approach would be to study removing each obstacle separately and find the optimal solution for that obstacle. Then you would compare the cost of avoidance to removal and implement the solutions that provided the most benefits compared to the costs and whatever resources are available.

I advise that you pursue that traditional approach only as a last resort. Piecemeal solutions to expanding usage and markets usually work less well than more comprehensive solutions that remove all the obstacles through a single approach.

Let's look at an analogy to see why this is true. If you want to build roads through mountains, a dam might eliminate all flooding and landslide dangers for hundreds of square miles. Without looking for that optimal dam site, road builders would be facing hundreds of places where bridges and elevated road and track beds would have to be erected. Each adjustment in the route would require a lot of expense to create a specific solution.

Similarly, persuading the one hundred most admired people in a small community to educate others about how to prevent AIDS and to present positive role models in their own behavior might well eliminate the need to put in place hundreds of other programs that probably wouldn't be as successful in combination.

I have learned a great deal from watching my clients and students produce wonderful breakthrough solutions. One of the most important lessons is that the bigger the challenge, the better people seem to do in creating breakthrough solutions. The lesson for you here is to frame the need for the solution as broadly and as large as possible.

As a result, I encourage you now to reframe your challenge for removing profit growth obstacles to consider if there is a breakthrough solution that will remove all of your significant obstacles to expanded usage, whether or not these obstacles can be inexpensively avoided. If that idea takes your breath away, it should.

Let's look at a historic example. Hannibal wanted to invade Rome's northern territory in Italy with his Carthaginian forces. But Carthage didn't have the naval power to launch an invasion of the sort that allies used during World War II to take the land battle from North Africa to Italy.

Hannibal conceived instead of invading northern Italy by traversing the Alps with elephants. In battle, the elephants initially provided a powerful strategic advantage over riders on horseback and foot soldiers. While the elephants lasted, Hannibal's forces did well.

What he didn't take into account is that the Romans would learn to disable and kill his elephants. Eventually, Hannibal had no more elephants and his forces were marooned away from their base of supplies and reinforcements. The end was inevitable.

Had Hannibal anticipated a long campaign, he could instead have established an ongoing supply route to bring regular reinforcements of elephants, soldiers, weapons, armor, and food for his exposed troops. As more territory was conquered, Hannibal could have shortened his supply lines to permit friendly ships from Carthage to drop off supplies in northern Italy. With that ever shortening supply line in place, world history might well have turned out differently to favor of the Carthaginians.

Put all your profit-growth obstacles into a pile and see what breakthrough solutions would carry away or eliminate that pile.
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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