This has come up before on this blog: if you can cannibalize your business, you should.
This is part of the promise of excellence that you make to your clients. To always be excellent, you must always be improving.
Running a business tends to leave little time for strategic thinking. One key goal of this blog is to underscore the fact that strategic thinking is part of running a business, and not an extra nice-to-have. Treating strategy as regular and structured part of business management will only increase your performance, and one key area to address is your continuous innovation.
This means taking things apart to examine and improve them. Reassembling your business to make it better.
Use the Five Forces
Anticipating problems or new bottlenecks is more easily done with a strong look at what is happening outside your business.
The Five Forces Analysis, previously discussed here, achieve this effectively.
Use the data to put yourself in the mind of what you are examining. How would you use the advantage against your own company? What new initiative can you begin that would neutralize that threat and, more importantly: which parts of your business need to drastically change or cease to exist?
Question your habits
Take a strong look at what you have been doing “forever”, and what you do without even thinking about it.
Is it time to stop?
Is it time to change any of these actions?
These are the types of areas that we never question because we never stop to think about them. Make a deliberate effort to examine the things that usually pass under your radar.
Role Play it
Give this a try: write a proposal for a fictional client. Create the full scenario, first write the client profile and their needs. Then write a full proposal (even if you do not this in normal business, try it out for this exercise).
Now play the role of a competing provider, who has had access to your proposal. Write a competing proposal considering what you would do to counteract the offer.
Don’t do it alone
Use a partner, whether a trusted business peer, a mentor, an advisor, or a consultant.
This sort of self-examination requires somebody to challenge your assumptions and force you to prove and defend your positions. Doing this work with a partner will make it effective.