Traditional business thinking vs Outside-In…What do you think?

June 11th, 2010

Thanks for the feedback, glad to hear you liked my speech at the New Castle County Chamber. As one favorite alumni said to me, I hear it was “from the heart”. Classic Chris; classic Outside-In. This is the ultimate compliment. I hope that everything I do is somehow different from what others do. This is why I care so deeply about Outside-In thinking versus traditional thinking.

Why not contrast every day business situations and compare our thinking to “normal business thinking”. Keep in mind I do not expect you to fully convert, rather consider it learning and good fodder when you are looking for ideas, innovation or that that little extra in your business.

1. Only senior employees can make important business decisions. Why not involve everyone? Autonomy and involvement breed innovation and engagement.

2. Companies should stick to a niche market or specialize to maximize profits and market share. An Outside-In company is driven by the customer. Markets can come and go depending on customer tastes and preferences. The key to success is the relationship to the customer.

3. Big business interest is in shareholder creation only. This may be true in many businesses, but what happened to the customer or employee point of view? In an Outside-In company, we try to balance the needs and wants of all constituents – employees, suppliers, customers and shareholders. This is a long term perspective versus quarter to quarter thinking.

The common themes that make sense to me all revolve around the customer. For small business I know this seems obvious. Trust me, it all depends on how you learned to run your business. Few get it from a coach who has been there before. There is so much to learn about running a business and its many facets that is not uncommon to forget completely about those that pay the bills and your salaries. That frustrating, challenging, elusive entity – THE CUSTOMER.

Drop me a line if your business could be more customer centered or if it needs “Outside-In glasses“.

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