You’ve often heard the phrase “timing is everything.” As cliché as that may sound, timing can be the difference between a successful initiative and side tracking even the best plan. Think about a real estate agent that started her career in 2007 versus the person who sold her real estate holdings that same year – before the big housing bust. The results are dramatically different.
At Marco, we work hard at being “fast followers.” We believe in looking around corners and staying contemporary, but we avoid being on the bleeding edge as much as possible. It’s called bleeding edge for a reason. It hurts. It takes a significant amount of effort and can have a high element of risk. A failure can take you out of the game.
So, when is the right time to launch a new product or service? Here are three questions we ask before we give the green light:
- What’s the potential?
When assessing a new offering, it’s just as important not to enter the market too early as it is to miss the opportunity completely. If you or your potential customers aren’t clear on the value proposition, odds are it won’t work out. This is where leaders need to balance foresight and functionality. We have passed up good opportunities at Marco because either our team was not ready to fully implement or our customers were not ready to buy. It’s important to recognize your own competencies and have a good understanding of your customers’ needs so you don’t compromise client satisfaction or profitability.
- Who’s driving the adoption?
This is a big factor, particularly in the technology industry where there has been a significant shift to a consumer-driven model. In many cases, workers have far better technology personally than they do at work. We’re watching 3D printing closely and we’re not sure if we will enter that market or not. So far it makes more sense for us to hold off. One of the reasons is because the current decision making takes place in the marketing or engineering department, not the IT department, which typically has the most influence over decisions related to our solutions. Who the buyer is for the product or service makes a difference in our ability to effectively execute and scale.
- Is it sustainable?
This is an important question to keep us focused on understanding trends, rather than chasing fads. In technology, it’s a fine line. When assessing sustainability, leaders need to consider both the long-term market need and profitability within the company. If a new product or service appears to be sustainable, it’s much easier to implement early. We developed and implemented Managed Print Services well before others in the industry. Some could make the case we were bleeding edge; however, we recognized early on that this would be a sustainable trend and we went all in. It now contributes significantly to our growth and profit, and we continue to be recognized as a leader in Managed Services.
Being in the right place at the right time can certainly accelerate a career or a company’s growth. Timing really is everything. So, is there anything we can do to influence timing? I will share three practices we’ve found to do that in my next blog.
By the way, as we approach this time of Thanksgiving, I want to thank you for taking an interest in reading my blogs. And for those of you that are valued customers, thank you for your business. I wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving as you enjoy the time with your families.