Have You Been Blindsided and Now the Business is Stuck?

Does this sound familiar?

In the past the business had been doing OK. The results were not spectacular but it provided a living  and there was hope for better things.

Suddenly things have changed. For some years now there has been no growth, maybe even a decline.

At best the future looks no better than the present. At worst the business is on its way to closing.

You may have been blindsided

Being blindsided may mean a total destruction of your business. Suddenly a new technology, a new service, and/or a new product make your business model redundant. And you are gone. For example, we all know how digital music has impacted the music business, and how digital news has affected newspapers. More recently how on line shopping has decimated retail stores.

Jim Harris, in his book “Blindsided”, talks about blind spots that organizations have that makes them susceptible to being blindsided. He claims that we as managers are too concerned with problem solving, and not enough with problem seeing. It’s problem seeing and opportunity perceiving that will separate the market leaders from the losers.

Why do companies get blindsided? Some of the answers are:

  1. Reluctance to change. Much has been invested in the status quo. Our business model, our skill set, our organizational structures have developed over time and reflect our comfort zone.  A new innovation is a threat  and the tendency is to ignore it.
  2. Inability to distinguish noise from signal. There are thousands of potential trends out there. New technologies, shifts in consumer behaviour, new products, new competitors. How can we tell what is a real threatening signal and what is merely noise?
  3. Focus on our immediate tasks.  The busier we are with day to day problems the less time and energy we have to scan the horizon. Often we are stretched to the hilt, we work long hours and have no time to investigate, brainstorm, or assess what’s going on beyond our immediate horizon.
  4. Situations are complex. But we have a bias for action. As a result we treat symptoms, and not root causes. We think that a solution to the presenting problems provides the answer, but problems are interdependent. We search for simple solutions because we think there’s only one problem, but more likely there is a  set of  problems.


It’s natural to put the fires out, to service the existing customers, to market your products and services to new markets. These things are essential to business survival but they are not enough. Somewhere now, somebody is working on an idea that may kill your industry.

The key to security for our business is acknowledging that there is no security. However, we can prevent being blindsided through faster recognition and response to changes in our environment.

Learn how to deal with challenges such as being stuck by downloading our    diagnostics and see why your business is stuck.


Have You Identified Your Key Success Factors?

Running a business appears complex. However, did you know that for most businesses, no more than five key factors need to be properly managed?  Here are some examples of industry and business key success factors.

  • Banking  requires:

○     the ability to obtain money cheaply

○    investing the money  at a profit.

  • The beer industry needs to have: :

○     full utilization of brewing capacity;

○     a strong network of wholesale distributors;

○     clever advertising

  • Apparel manufacturing demands:

○     appealing designs to attract the target market;

○      low-cost manufacturing efficiency to achieve  those high profit margins

  • An airline performs well when it has:

○      efficient routes;

○      excellent customer service;

○     ability to sell-out  seats;

○     forward contracts to weather the rising cost of fuel;

○     standardized airplane models for cheaper maintenance

  • A  hotel must have:

○     a good location

○     global appeal to attract world travelers

○     quality management. One hotel employee  can make the difference between a delighted customer or a customer who goes online and writes a bad review about their experience.

○     flexibility to meet the varying needs and expectations of customers.

  •  A   coffee business requires:

○      loyal customers

○     sufficient customer traffic in the neighbourhood;

○     satisfied and skilled employees. They have a huge role in determining the culture of the business;

  • A restaurant requires:

○       location with  easy access

○      ambiance to set the mood

○      good Chef -no need to explain

○      a menu that caters to the  strengths of the restaurant

In all of the above examples there are no more than 5 key success factors, and often less. Achieving  excellence in these factors may not be simple, but knowing that only 3 or 4 factors are required helps to focus the mind on the essentials.  Manage them well and they may be the key to your success.

Unique Core Differentiators

Perception is the reality-people buy based on differences They Perceive. It’s the differences that potential customers perceive that make them choose one business over another. And those differences make the customer feel more confident about their final decision as well.

Unique Core Differentiators (UCDs) clearly articulate what makes your business different. They are the special things about your product or service or business that compels customers to buy from you rather than your competitors. Well-formed differentiators target your customer’s ‘hot buttons,’ real buying concerns, or key frustrations. In one statement it educates them about exactly why they should buy from you.

Selling Solutions – Not Products


The best sales people are ‘canned’. They know better than to wing it through a prospect meeting. They have a systemized sales process to work with. And the most effective system is relationship selling – selling based on getting to know a customer’s real needs and fitting your product to them.

Relationship selling doesn’t involve high pressure or manipulative methods. The salesperson here is a problem solver, a helper, and an advisor to the customer. They learn to identify the customer’s needs and sell them a solution that fits the need – not just a product. It moves the emphasis from price to value as a differentiator and provides a powerful advantage over competitors.

Do you know…

How to use objections to further the sales process

How to prepare a sales pitch so that saying ‘yes’ is the next natural thing to do

How to build relationships so strong that your clients won’t think of going anywhere else