(This is the final post in a series of three.)
In previous posts, I outlined a framework (the Was/Now Statement Canvas) to understand what your customers are going through during turbulent times, and how to leverage that insight into new growth ideas.
Now that you have new growth ideas, what should you pursue first?
It’s tempting to want to execute everything at once. Sometimes you also may be paralyzed with the sheer amount of options in front of you. Either way, you need help prioritizing what to do now, next, and never.
You need a set of criteria to help you decide.
And here’s the formula. You need to ask questions of every idea from three viewpoints: desirability (will the customer be interested), viability (will you make money), and feasibility (can you execute). While these are typical categories for evaluation, in tough times, I find it especially helpful to put extra weight on leveraging your existing capabilities and assets – placing even greater focus on feasibility. Why? Because investment cash is usually tight, but you have an existing inventory of people, technology, and knowledge that can be deployed.
Desirability. Always start here and create at least one criteria question based on desirability. Questions from this category ensure that we are asking to what degree our prospects/customers would be likely to engage with this new idea. After all, ideas that make business sense and can be executed, but that are un-interesting or, worse, turn customers off, are non-starters.
Viability. Will this idea, if executed well, be profitable for the company? Is it attached to a business model that is attractive beyond the short-term? Can it be further scaled? Questions like this allow you to investigate ideas from a business perspective.
Feasibility. To what degree can you execute this idea? Will it take more/less resources than you have? What kinds of resources will it take? Do you have the people, talents, and knowledge? Will it require investment capital? To what degree can you leverage existing assets? This group of questions is critical in turbulent times. If you can execute new ideas with existing resources, you’re much more likely to succeed (and succeed fast).
Once you have a list of questions ready to go, open up your favorite spreadsheet app and create a grid. Criteria questions on the top and ideas on the left. Score each idea with each question on a 1-10. Play around with weighted options if you want to fine-tune. Want a jump start on this? We’ve created a handy tool for you – download it free here (.xlsx, no email required).
One last piece of advice. Use this as a sorting tool, not as a “well the spreadsheet told us to do this, so we will” tool. Use your judgment and use this tool with your team to start and finish decision-making conversations.
You’re now ready to rock. If you’re feeling confident in your new direction, you may want to jump right toward execution and scaling new ideas. If, on the other hand, you’d prefer to step into your new future with a bit more caution, we’d recommend performing experiments to test and learn. We’ve got a great post here for you as reference, and you can download our Experiment & Learn Tool here directly (PDF, no email required).
Go forth and grow!