Thinking sideways

By · February 21, 2013 · Filed in Business Philosophy, Marketing, News & Thoughts

Sometimes the answer is right in front of you, but most of the time the answer is right next to you.

Lateral thinking is an important part of business agility.  While many businesses only think in terms of “forwards and backwards”, the business world is multi-dimensional.  Many business owners only measure along one axis.  The pitfall of operating a business on one axis is that your problem-solving skills are reduced to one axis (your intellect becomes a product of your practice).

Rockets travel a trajectory (and very few businesses are like rockets).  A business can’t travel on a straight mission line.
Business is more like sailing - traveling from one point to another requires a series of course corrections – tacking left, then right, then left again.

Maybe you’re stuck with 1,800 branded racquet balls from a past event because of a quantity typo on the production order?

Thinking forward and backward makes that error a net loss…by creating “garbage”…all because someone hit the ”zero” key one too many times.

Thinking sideways provides for creative “recycling”.

Example: Charge another client a discount rate to add their logo to your overstock and give them away as promotional items (branded stress relievers?)…and use them to market the stress-relieving component of your business (product or service).  You have to advertise anyway, right?

Nothing is garbage until it is completely destroyed.

Gardeners, for example, appreciate the value of thinking sideways (because recycling is part of their craft) – what one person considers “waste”, a gardner would consider “fertilizer”.

Maybe I should make an illustration of a guy in cover-alls standing under your business with a bucket?
Nah – I think you get the picture.

Mark

(reprinted from 1/21/11)

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